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  • Writer's pictureInger and Jeff Latreille

Not Our Idea of Fun

~Tuesday, October 4, 2022~

Day 842 (Travel Day)

Sadie had a rare, rough night which in turn gave us a rotten night’s sleep. She kept getting on and off the bed, standing at the front door, giving us a steady, but more eager moan, usually indicating the need for a potty break. But we’re always good about letting her do her thing before bedtime. So what was this all about? Seeing my hubby sleep through it all reminded me of the selective hearing he had back when our kids were babies, either needing a feeding or a diaper change. Funny how some things never change. 🤔 I had heard coyotes earlier in the night, so was reluctant to let her outside, off leash. But since she usually stays within view while doing her duties, and in my half-awake state, I let her go. Thinking she had just gone around the truck (she’s a modest one), I wondered what was taking so long, and went around to see what was going on. She was gone. As I called her repeatedly with no response for a few minutes, I became concerned, waking Jeff up to help me find her. Searching around with the aid of my headlamp, I made one more attempt to call her when I finally saw 2 glowing eyes running towards me. What a relief!!! Did a coyote try to lure her? Why did she feel so compelled to run away, even if it was for a moment? We’re wondering if, earlier in the day, she ate something she shouldn’t have and being a farm, you just never know what’s out there. Jeff thinks it could also be that she was just so in love with the property, that she couldn’t wait to get back out there again, even if it was 3:00 a.m. Just another day (night) at the park! I guess we’ll never know.

Thanks to our wonderful, extended stay at Eagle Haven Winery and our repairs done, it was time to move on to our much anticipated location of Cascade National Park, only an hour’s drive. We found a free dump station in town of all places, at a water treatment plant.

The city park offered the perfect place to fill up on water.

Getting closer to the Cascades, it was hard to tell if what we were seeing were clouds or smoke. But then came the smell. Yep, that’s smoke alright……quite jolting when we were presented with the cleanest, purest air in Alaska all summer.

After October 1st, there are a number of campgrounds that stay open year around, offering free lodging until the busy season; Goodell Creek Campground is one such place, though we expected to see a mostly vacant campground in October. But I’d say about half were taken. With only 19 sites, and not all able to fit 30 feet, pickings were slim. But then we spotted it. A spot right next to the Skagit River, though inaccessible with the wall of shrubbery between us and it. Jeff did a fantastic job backing Billie Jean into a tight squeeze, determined to make her fit!! But when it came time to figuring out where Hank was going to go, the realization set in that the site was just too small. Moving on to the next loop, things were not looking good there either in terms of availability. With persistence, Jeff said, “Let’s go back to that same site and see if we can fit her in a different way.” So we circled back, hoping no one had taken it in the interim, which they hadn’t. Even though getting around the large bear box and large boulders made it challenging, we were able to fit her in, sacrificing a little more of the “front yard” space between us and the forest.

In the end, it did look like we tried to force a situation with the rig looking way too big for the space.

It was hard to believe we could stay in such a beautiful place for free, though we’d be without any garbage or water amenities….an easy work around. In the off-season they remove all of the spigots off of the water stations and wrap the fee box in plastic, all signs that summer’s at an end. The pit toilets, however, remained open and useful.

The smoke was not bad… was REALLY bad, prompting us to check out the AQI for the area and to investigate the source. It appeared we were right in the middle of at least 12 fires even though they were miles away. Where we were in particular was hovering around 185, nearly in the “very unhealthy” realm and didn’t need an AQI reading to tell us that. We couldn’t see any of the dramatic mountains around us. And since the scenery and epic hiking is what it’s all about in Cascades N.P., having it shrouded in smoke was not our idea of fun, nor would it be healthy. Not knowing how long this would last, we made the difficult decision to make it a 1-night stay instead of 4 in the end. It was just too miserable.

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