I’m working. Y’all all have a wonderful day. Think about me here:
Contrary to popular belief, not all forest fires are bad. Sure, the ones that are started by careless campers, or arson, or that rage out of control and threaten homes and businesses, those are bad. But when it is a controlled, or managed fire, it is actually good for the forest. Right now at the North Rim, there are a several fires burning that are being managed as part of the natural ecological system that has functioned for 10,000 years. Forest fires are natural. There would still be fire from lightning even if humans weren’t around.
Yesterday, I was witness to a remarkably efficient fire crew, getting ready to burn some of the “piles” that have been sitting along the border between the Kaibab National Forest and the Grand Canyon National Park since last summer. These piles are dead and downed wood that was gathered and stacked by volunteers, to clean up the forest floor. By doing this, it ensures that if there were to be a wildfire, started naturally by lightening, it wouldn’t burn as hot and kill the trees. The picture below is not very clear, but it was the only one I could find of fuel piles.
So, these guys, about 20 or so of them, arrived early in the morning out by the entrance station. They started taking tools and equipment out to the burn area, and setting up a portable water tank. Then they assembled one of the biggest sprinkler systems I have ever seen.
After the fire crew got the water tanks assembled, the water trucks started coming. They continued to arrive throughout the day, keeping the tanks filled. Then, the fire guys started the sprinklers to wet the trees in the area where they planned to burn. They will continue to spray the trees with water during the burn to keep the trees from burning. They are also going to do this burn at night so the entrance station will have minimal impact from smoke during the day.
I thought this whole process was very interesting, as I have never seen the forest crew in action. I can’t wait to see how things work out for this managed burn.
When we came back from town today, back home to the North Rim, the beefalo were out there again, on the side of the road. Today, some were walking in the road, some were just standing there on the side of the road, and others were in the meadow on both sides of the road. Most of the tourists were just stopping to take pictures, but I had groceries to put away. FabGrandpa slowed down to a crawl and just kept going. These two bad boys just stared and grunted at us. I wouldn’t want to be walking, that is for sure….
They whole herd was out in the meadow this morning when we left to go to town. They aren’t buffalo–they’re beefalo.
And they’re not native to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. Sometime in the early 1900’s two ranchers in the House Rock Valley area tried to create a hybrid herd of animals that are a cross between cows and buffalo.
They were trying for a better meat product. Their experiment failed for their purposes, but the hybrid herd has survived.
They spend the winter months down in the desert around House Rock Valley, but in the summer they migrate up the Kaibab Plateau looking for water and grasses for food.
They occasionally spend a few days in the meadows along Hwy 67 on the way into the park.They have been hanging out there all week.They are traffic stoppers for sure, because sometimes they just stand in the road.
Yesterday at the Grand Canyon, the sky turned dark and omnious:
There was a lot of lightening, and some very loud thunder, hail, and then lots of rain. We were hoping for rain, because it has been so dry here. While much of Arizona is burning, luckily we haven’t had a fire here this year. A fire ban was put into place last week, so that campfires are no longer allowed in our campground. While a lot of people may have been disappointed because they couldn’t have a fire, the fire ban would not have become necessary if there had been more rain.
Fortunately for me, it did not rain until I got home from work. FabGrandpa was in the process of lighting the charcoal grill so we could cook out. When the rain came, we moved the picnic table under the awning, and continued with our plans, and enjoyed the rain while it lasted. There is more rain in the forecast for this week:
July in Arizona is typically the start of the monsoon season, and this year, we really need the rain. Arizona has six national forests, and with such dry weather, the threat of wildfires is great. Let’s hope we get the rain we need, and lots of it.
While the 4th of July means going to a parade, going camping, spending the day at the lake, or just cooking out in the backyard with friends and family to most of you, my day will be spent in uniform, at the entrance station to one of the most beautiful national parks in this country. I love that living in the United States means that I can choose to live full time in an RV is want to, and that I can work at this gorgeous place. Even if it means I have to work on the holiday, so be it.
and because I work here, of course I get to live here for 6 months out of the year. Here is my backyard:
And there were people who thought I was crazy to want to live this life!
We decided to go to the North Rim Lodge for breakfast this morning. They have a gluten free menu since last year. I ordered the gluten free pancakes with eggs and bacon. These pancakes were soooo goood!
This was the first time since April 2007 that I have been able to order pancakes at a restaurant. I know that doesn’t sound like a big thing to other people, but to me? Heaven! Those pancakes were delicious.
After breakfast, I walked out on the back porch of the lodge to take a few pictures. Yes, this is my fourth season working her, but I don’t have enough picutures yet, OK?
It was a bit smoky out there today from the fire over in Flagstaff, but still, it was a beautiful day!
Lots of people come and sit in those chairs and watch the sunset on the back porch of the lodge.
and one more:
I still feel like I have to pinch myself sometimes to believe I get to work here. Ah, fate!
Yesterday was my and FabGrandpa’s “Friday”, the last work day before two days off. Since it was a gorgeous afternoon, we decided to get out the grill and eat outside. Our friend, Terry, came over, and we had a “grand” time just hanging out.
I cooked up some country style pork ribs, mashed potatoes, and baked beans, while we had a couple of beers and a weeee tiny bit of tequila. Cause you know it was Friday! And while I totally forgot to take pics of the food, I did get a great shot of just the day:
We’re having a little get-together with some more of our friends tonight–a wine tasting and appetizers–it should be a lot of fun. Can’t wait!