Sunset over the Caribou National Forest, Idaho. Chris Hunt photo.
I’ve spent the last couple of days working from one of my favorite places in the world — an out-of-the-way campsite in the middle of the Caribou National Forest.
Some years back, while fishing the little trout stream near camp, my phone rang in my fishing vest. Bewildered, I answered the phone. It was my boss.
“How did you find me?” I asked. I had taken a day off to chase native cutthroats and I assumed I was well off the grid and certainly out of cell range.
“I just dialed your number,” he replied. I looked at my phone and realized that, in this little spot some 15 miles off the pavement, I had a full cell signal, complete with data.
While I generally go camping and fishing to “get away from it all,” it’s nice to be able to haul the camper up and get in a full work day while looking out over a gorgeous little trout stream complete with a really nice swimming hole to help take the worst out of the summertime heat.
But it can also be a little scary. As most have heard, the Northwest is enduring some serious heat — records are shattering all over the region, and it’s been pretty hot, here, too. And last night, a storm blew through, and not the good kind. A bit of wind pushed a mostly dry thunderstorm over the mountains. The lightning that lit up the evening sky was stunning, but without rain to accompany it, I worried that this may be what starts the local fire season.
We watch daily as aircraft zip over the region, likely looking for wildfires that have sprung up. There’s a lot of people in the woods these days leading up to the July 4 holiday. That fact, coupled with the dry storm last night makes me worry that a fire isn’t a matter of “if,” but rather “when.”
Be careful out there on public lands. This heat is drying everything out and even a modest mistake with a hot undercarriage or carelessly discarded cigarette can have drastic repercussions.
I love my little spot here in the woods, but it might be time to give it a break, at least until the heat subsides. I’d hate to see it go up in smoke.