We didn’t have any internet connection for a few days. The reason is because we had a severe thunderstorm which destroyed a number of things around here.
It was last Wednesday (6/26/13). After I finished my shift (which is from 5:30am to 2pm), I went to Denali NP, intended to hike. Dark clouds hovered above when I got to the park. It had been unusually hot and dry for several weeks (temperature reaching 90 degrees) by then. Perhaps a storm was coming, finally. So I changed my mind. Walked around the little town and went back when it started to rain.
Boy, it rained, very heavily. And thundered, very loudly. I was sitting in my room, reading a novel when an extremely deafening thunder struck. It felt very close. Well, of course this is not the first time I heard loud thunder so other than thinking this was a noisy one; I had no need to suspect anything.
Soon after the loud thunder, I smelled something – smoky. The “curtain” to my window was taped so that I won’t be bothered by the bright light in the middle of the night. I had to peal open the curtain to see what was going on outside. Smoke! That was what I saw, coming from next cabin!
“Oh my god”. I exclaimed and ran out of my room. I live in a “trailer” type of builder with 8 rooms. “Anyone is here?” I called out. No one was answering. Where was everyone when I needed them? I quickly knocked on their doors and still got no answer. What should I do?
My heart pounded fast as I grabbed my phone and dialed the VP’s number (He lives on property as well). I must have sounded panicking on the phone. Luckily there is no recording of it. J More fortunately he answered! Later on he told me that he debated whether to answer the phone since the battery was running low. I am, and I am sure he is, very happy that he answered the phone.
The cabin next door caught fire when the lightning struck. It damaged something such as a sofa, the bed and some clothing inside the cabin, but luckily no one was hurt. Besides this cabin, our phone system was messed up and the wifi was disconnected. I learned later on that more than 8000 lighting struck on that day in Alaska.
The next day, I went to hike as I planned to the day before. It was still cloudy, but not as dark and thick. I was taking my chance. Just wanted to hike.
“Mt. Healy Overlook Trail” is rated as a strenuous hike. It is 4.5 miles round trip with 1700 feet elevation change. It won’t be too bad if I could stop and rest along the way – the mosquitoes were so bad that I had to keep on moving. They were so many that even with my net on my head, I could still hear them buzzing around me. It was manageable when I kept on moving. As soon as I stop for a break, tons of them surrounded me so I had no choice but keep on moving.
The view on top of Mt. Healy was great, even in a cloudy day, although I didn’t have any proof. It was too dark and cloudy to take any good picture. I plan to come back again on a better day.
I kept on going after the official trail ends. Frankly speaking, the unofficial trail is as good as the official one. Half an hour later, a yellowish cloud showed up in front of me. The color was a little weird, but it must be because of the sunlight, I reasoned. Another 10-15 minutes later, I smelled it. It was smoke! There must be a wildfire!
I kept on going for a little while, just wanted to get up so I could see it clearly. However, the smoke got stronger as I moved further. It was uncomfortable and unsafe so I turned back. Along the way, I warned a couple of hikers about the smoke. “Oh, I thought someone was barbecuing”, a lady replied with surprise. A smoke that strong must have come from a barbecue for a whole troop! 🙂
I did check with the park ranger about the wildfire. It was about 30 miles away from us, as I was told. Wind surely carried smoke away, fast.
So, here is my “smoky” story. Two smoke related incidences in two days.
PS. my photo website: http://fineartamerica.com/profiles/qing-yang.html