One thing has engulfed my heart and mind recently. The Wildfires that plague the entire PNW (and Idaho/Montana). The word surreal continues to pop into everyones vocabulary…. because it’s one of the best way to describe seeing some our most precious trails burn in flames.
Horrible. The #EagleCreekFire in the Columbia River Gorge has grown to 10,000 acres, prompting evacuation orders for hundreds of residents in the area and even portions of Multnomah County. Crews were able to protect the historic Multnomah Falls lodge from flames Monday night into Tuesday morning, but the area is still in danger. These incredible photos of the blaze were shot by @tristancf_ (first 3), and @chrisliedlephoto (last 2).
Much of the state of Oregon is burning and has been for weeks. And if that wasn’t bad enough, on Saturday afternoon, it is suspected that a teenage boy used fireworks near Punchbowl falls that started a fire. This fire is now burning more 30k acres and has spread to the beloved Multnomah Falls and lodge. Many of us have watched in horror as the fire crept up towards the lodge (that was build in 1924). Luckily so far, the lodge has been spared.
To say my heart is heavy has been an understatement. Hiking and being outdoors play such an essential part of my life… These trails have molded me into a different person as I began to pursue finding my best self and being healthy. I completed the majority of the 40+ hikes of the 52 Hike Challenge in the Gorge on these very trails.
Having said that, I always look for the silver lining… I haven’t fully found that yet, but still. I’m making every attempt to stay positive and focus on what our new future will look like here in Oregon. Not all is going to be lost, nature will always prevail! Regrowth, although slow, will happen.
I think a lot of us struggle with feeling helpless, maybe it’s just me. Sometimes I wish I was a firefighter, or worked with the Red Cross or other volunteers. But sadly I don’t, yet.
So what can I do, what can you do to help?
Donate to the Red Cross- Red Cross Cascade Chapter
One of my favorite groups is working to donate to Oregon Firefighters Association- PNW Outdoor Women
Sign up with one of the following groups to help rebuild the forests after the fire damage has been assessed:
One of my favorites is Trailkeepers of Oregon! Trailkeepers Signup
Friends of The Columbia Gorge- Gorge Friends Signup
Join the Mt. Hood Chapter PCTA (Pacific Crest Trail Association) Work Party Mailing List
Beyond this, remember that attitude is everything and good energies travel far. Our trails and land needed attention and conservation/management before all this and it will certainly take diligence to care for and respect our trails moving forward.
Leave No Trace.
Today I have felt a lot of promise, as there is word that things are not looking as bad as it seemed earlier on.
The fires are still active and not contained, but the weather forecast is calling for less winds, and possible rains and cooler temps! All things we need. I’m still sending positive vibes and well wishes to the firefighters, and those who have been uprooted via evacuation. Good vibes are also being sent to my fellow trail lovers, and all who reside in the PNW.
The gorge and many other PNW areas may not be the same after the wildfires, but they will always hold a special place in my heart no matter what the fires have put it through.
Stay strong PNW ✌🏼