After weeks of hot weather, and many fires burning in Eastern Washington and British Columbia, this week, Puget Sound was beset by smoke. The week started off ominously with our flight home being delayed because smoke at SeaTac Airport was reducing the number of planes that could safely land, and throughout the week, the smoke thickened. By Thursday, it was bad enough to give me a cough and burning eyes after only a short walk to get the mail. Thankfully, Friday morning, we woke to clear skies apparently just in time for the August Alpine Trails Book Club backpacking trip.
After an extremely early start Saturday morning, I watched out the window with dread as the clear skies filled with a smoky haze the closer we got to the trailhead. By the time we'd reached the trailhead, the smoke was thicker than anything we'd seen at home all week, and I knew Andy and I couldn't hike in such murky conditions. A few years ago, we'd backpacked in similarly smoky conditions, and after a much easier hike both Andy and I had found ourselves nauseous to the point that we skipped dinner and spent the day hiding in the scant protection of our tent. As disappointed as I was to miss out on a wonderful weekend of hiking with my book club friends, knowing how bad the smoke got, I'm glad we decided to turn back. I know there will be other trips, and the silver lining of being home for the weekend was that Andy and I were able to take his mom out for lunch at our favorite restaurant on her birthday!