Got a couple stories to tell, one with photos. It is a story about life in this wilderness I call home, and it is not easy. It is a story of campfires when the temperatures are in the 90’s next to highly ignitable vegetation at a time when the news has carried stories of wildfires up and down the state. Two stories — one day. The day starts with one, detours, and ends where it began.
I got a call this afternoon from Geri.”Hey, Kate. There’s a Rave Party at Prewitt Camp this weekend. Can you see Prewitt Camp?”
“Oh, yeah, Geri. It’s straight across from me. I’ll keep an eye on it tonight for campfires. I can see them for miles up here.”
I went to Cambria to send something for work, and was enjoying the coolness of the coast. I stopped to see Lynne at the campground. It was full, she was stressed, and I knew Plaskett and other spots around here would be stressed. I got my camera out.
All up the road there were trucks. Seemed to me mostly hunters, but I took photos of all the license numbers, just in case. I love that I can do that. I used to write them down, but sometimes I can be dyslexic with numbers. Plus, cameras date and time stamp them.
I am almost home, long past the “No Trespassing” signs, coming around a corner, when I see a truck parked in the turn-out just before my gate. That’s my property. Oh, boy, I think, I’ve got to have a talk with this yay-hoos. You know how many signs they drove by?? No less than eight. EIGHT.
Then, I see it. FIRE!! They had a campfire!! OMG!! I screeched in there, jumped out of the car, as only a one-legged 60 year-old crone can, WITH camera, and started simultaneously yelling and snapping photos. The fire is behind that blue chair.
“What the HELL do you think you are doing?? Put that thing OUT!! NOW!!”
“Hey, lady, calm down. Don’t get upset.”
“Don’t get upset? Have you lost your fucking minds? There are NO campfires in the forest right now. PUT IT OUT!! NOW!!”
“Okay, okay, just calm down, will you??”
“Calm down?? I am not going to calm down until you put that OUT!! There are signs posted NO CAMPFIRES!”
“Yeah, well, I have selective seeing. We will put it out.”
“Yes, you will and I won’t leave until you do.”
“We did a good job of creating the fire ring. We were careful, see?”
“You see those manzanita bushes? They are full of flammable oil.”
“Manzanita?? Isn’t that Madrone?”
“No. It is manzanita. And see that Ponderosa Pine right next to you? That goes up like a roman candle.” The shaved head giggles. They’ve been drinking, and smoking pot, it seems.
“They have campfires in the campground, right? Why not up here?”
Duh … how many reasons do you want?
“Now that we are putting it out, can we still camp here?”
“Well, can we come to your house?”
“No, go down past the ‘No Trespassing’ signs and camp where you want. No fires, though. Do you have a propane camp stove? Those are allowed.”
“Is that one of those things you get at Big 5?” they said, giggling.
“Then I guess it is a cold dinner for you tonight.”
Now, on to the Prewitt Rave Party….
Shortly after I got home, I heard the sound of the drums. They sounded as if they were right below me, but I already knew about the Rave Party, so I figured it was them, and the echos reached across the canyon to sound so close. The dogs went OFF! Trespassers — noisy trespassers, they seemed to say. I let them bark, I had groceries to carry in, lights to turn on, and things to do, one of which was to call the head Law Enforcement guy for the LPNF and let him know about the Cayucos yay-hoos.
After my story, he told me about the Rave Party.
“Yeah, I heard about that.” I said. “I will be keeping an eye out, that’s for sure.”
“Good,” he said. “Over 200 people are expected, and the Monterey County Sheriff’s Office has been notified. They’ve been told no fires, so if you see one, call it in.”
“You want me to call 911?”
The drums stopped within 10 minutes or so, but my 2d male dog would not shut up. He heard them, even if I could not. I watched, all throughout the preparation of this post, as more and more headlights showed themselves coming out on the ridge. At 10:00 pm, they were still coming. I look for campfires and see none. I see lights. I use my binoculars, if there is any question, and I know that I will watch until I get sleepy.
The USFS Fire Station in Hunter-Liggett is on alert, just in case, the MCSO is on alert, the scanners are all aware of the potential for a dangerous situation.
Should I go and check on the Cayucas yay-hoos before I go to bed? Is this even in my job description? I guess it is, if I live up here at the Top ‘o the World.
That’s it for tonight, ladies and gentlemen. I must work this weekend, but I will be checking on our temporary inhabitants for the next couple of days. Boy, I sure cannot wait for Labor Day. Hopefully, things will quiet down.