As friends, family and guests from across the country and around the world contact me to see if I am safe during the big Detwiler fire in the region, please be assured I am fine and was monitoring it continuously. In fact, electricity is back on so great to have a real shower again, even as we continue to monitor situation.
My first concern is always my guests. This time I could not send them on their way immediately as two of their party were climbing Half Dome, and then had some bus issues as roads got rerouted. But we worked together and they only had a short night by flashlights and water containers.
While you are all watching national news and hysterical reporters, we were in touch locally. The fire never made it into town per se, though town was evacuated to make way for firefighters and tanker bombers (a lot of it is reddish now from the retardant). But we are 10+ miles up the hill away from closest point. Also, a community like this has many local ways of communicating, including CalFire and Sheriff etc that the world never knows about. Like traffic marshals who close off roads tell you a whole story. My cottage housekeeper is used to buzzing all round town so she spreads the word and of course we are all checking with each other.
Plus I am a member of Yosemite Gateway Partners and Mariposa Chamber of Commerce and all these sources are giving us updated info, as does the national park service and many locals on their Facebook posts (often the quickest spot for news). I was even checking on my old house as the new tenant is a Park Ranger and she was busy being a ranger on overtime. My former landlord and I stay in touch… especially when he can see the fire from Merced, but all I saw was smoke across the valley.
Now you know why my new garden hasn’t been planted. I have been too busy cutting grass and clearing downed trees. In fact, first 6 weeks I was here last year I had the lumberjack bring down all big dead trees resulting from the drought and beetle bark infestation.
Many years ago I lived on a small farm in South Africa. I fondly remember doing my homework by candelight or hurricane lantern when the electricity was out. (I still made it to Silicon Valley as a techy). And no water. Who cares until you get thirsty. We often used to fill the bathtubs at the first sign of a big storm. So this past week I was happy to finally test live my backup 300gal water tank. Takes some manual switching of a valve to reverse water flow, but then works great to drive a small trickle to house but plenty into hosepipes to fill up buckets and containers – for me and some neighbors! And since I have my own big propane tanks, all I had to do was find a match to do some cooking.
Well looks like I now get a short break with no guests. But next week I am encouraging them all to return. I have personally been in contact with all those expected within two weeks, mostly to do with road issues getting here. But we are open and Yosemite is fully open.
PS Thanks to Airbnb for preserving my status despite the forced cancellations.