Bisbee Mountain

12Sep06

Everyone tells me that I spell mountain incorrectly – since that’s the case I’ll do all the readers a favor and use spell check today. (For some reason it really annoys a lot of people.) I may not be a mountain speller but I am a mountain lover.

In the last few weeks my hubby and I have outfitted ourselves with all the things one needs to make a miserable attempt at bear hunting. It’s rumored there are black bears around here and I’ve ran into tracks and a decent amount of poo. However, I have yet to actually see a bear – at least a living one. One time while driving down the road one man’s plastic bear threw me off pretty good at least enough to actually stop the car. But we’ll recount that humiliating story on another day.

The place we go to find these bear tracks and droppings is on top of Bisbee Mountain. So off we go – on Sept 8th we went on top of the mountain to listen in the dark and there was no sounds at all. Just some lost cow mooing over the mountain. It was pretty forlorn sounding if you’ll forgive my cliche’ I looked over at my hubby, bleary eyed because he had taken everything off the jeep including the front window, and said, “we’ll I think if we actually do see a bear I may just sh*t my pants.” He laughed in that way that tells you that he can totally relate and that if a bear appears I’ll have a lot of washing to do.

The next day we were out of supplies so we ran into Spokane to buy some and came back to the mountain burning. Yep a wildfire – what would Smoky the bear think? So we figured we’d have to put the whole bear hunting scheme on the back shelf to actually seeing if this was going to be a threat to our home. Did I mention here that we live on the foothills of Bisbee Mountain? We do.

Anyway, here is a photo of what our sky looked like that evening.

sky.jpg

Well right about that time the sheriff drives up and says we have to be ready and when he gives the hoot then we have to leave within one to three hours. As a nice side note he hits us with we can’t come back until they say we can. Maybe because were weird or paranoid we left that night. Actually between the ashes, smoke, and the strong urge to pull out marshmallows we took off for breathable air.

Benny’s Colville Inn – I’d recommend it to any person running from a fire. It’s much safer, the clerk lady behind the counter actually was concerned appropriately and even in the smoking rooms it’s not as smoky as three miles away from a 350 acre wildfire.

Ever wonder what a 350 acre wildfire looks like? this should give you a basic idea because this is what we saw on the ridge right before we decided to drive right past that “road closed” sign – the one located at the foot of our road going home. 

fire.jpg

We’ve had a real on and off again love relationship with this fire. First, there was mr. fireman who insisted we mow our lawn. We got a laugh out of that one. We have this running gag with my older brother every time he drives up my hubby yells, “Stay off the lawn!” It’s because our “lawn” is a mess of overgrown weeds and wheat. Who would mow that stuff? Well…. we did when mr. firefighter told us we had too because i guess it’s a fire hazard. Dang. He then asked us if he could use our pool water in case it crept down our side of the mountain. That was a decent request we had to empty it for the winter anyway.

Secondly, one fireman (I’m not being sexist here they were really all men at that particular moment) Bret (not Brian) recounted the visit to our next door neighbor. These good old boys insisted they weren’t leaving their land even if the fire was on their backside all the while taking shots of Jagermeister. Then the good old boys kindly offered the firefighters a shot. Sounded just like those good fellas over there and for those with confusion here; that my friends is the definition of “western hospitality” in these parts.

Let me quick update you and end this misery.

So far this fire seems to have waned seriously to the applause of all the firefighters who went out in the middle of the woods that I don’t think they’ve spent a day in. (Or at least most of them haven’t.) Two planes, three helicopters and over a hundred men and women working the sidelines.

My third point and the only real annoyance in this experience was the local lookie-lews. They were kind of annoying. You could tell them by the tailored palm tree t-shirts and freshly washed cars. (If a rural person has a freshly washed car they also have OCD. Rumor has it there’s medication out there for that issue.) These guys and gals were up there just snapping photos talking amongst themselves while the people I knew (and the firefighters) were worried about their homes and pets. 

And if my ears served me correctly a cattle rancher had his cows grazing on the mountain that night. So strike that – homes, pets and livelihood.

That was striking contrast. If zeros were heroes they’d be superman.

Anyway, if I need to update this later I will – but so far things look good and the crews did a grand job. Okay I thank all those who worked hard for the ability to go back to the non-hunting of the very safe bears on the rest of Bisbee Mountain.

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