The object was to go somewhere cooler where we could avoid seeing smoky skies. During our after-dinner outing, we planned to go to Grouse Falls, but someone else's illegal smoke changed that plan.
As we drove the Grouse Creek Road and approached the big meadow before the Grouse Creek turn-off, we saw a Forest Service law enforcement vehicle parked next to another car, almost blocking the road.
The law officer simply waved as we made our way past the two vehicles. Just as we turned into Grouse Falls, we saw a couple, standing rather nervously just off the road.
They told us they had received a hefty ($205) ticket for having a fire at their camp near the falls. Restrictions announcing "no campfires" are posted in the area.
It was obvious they were very upset. They also told us that the car with a badly blown-out tire down the road where the cop was parked was theirs.
We drove on toward the falls but decided that maybe there was a bit more to this story and that probably this wasn't the best time to be there for an evening stroll to the falls.
So, we headed back out and on up Grouse Creek Road where we stopped and parked at the Wiley Creek Bridge.
That's the place where, off to the side if you look closely, you can see an old, old pipe, with water flowing, coming out of the ground. We did not sample the water.
Seems like I remember the pipe from that year back in the early 1970s when I worked for the Forest Service engineers as a survey aide. We surveyed nine miles of the Grouse Creek Road at the time.
I also remember always loving that curve at the Wiley Creek Bridge. It always seemed so picturesque and still does.
Bill and Kiwi knew the area really well because of their numerous fishing expeditions along Grouse Creek.
We could follow Wiley Creek down to Grouse Creek and walk through the area where rusted relics from a Humbird Camp still appear in the bushes or at the bottoms of trees.
It's also an area that has experienced frequent blow downs over the years, so having a walking stick was helpful last night. Over one log and watch your step to the next, seemed to be the theme of our short hike.
Eventually we came out of the shade and reached a wide open area along Grouse Creek. As we stood admiring the creek in its August flow, I noticed two ends a rail sticking out of the water. Twas from an old Humbird train, and Bill speculates that it's been there for decades.
And, that's probably where it will stay into eternity cuz it's weighted down with boulders, and there's probably no reason anyone will ever have to remove it.
After a few minutes and knowing the dark woods with all those blowdowns would probably be getting darker soon, we headed back from the creek and again followed Wiley Creek.
When faced with the choice of walking over all those logs again or taking a steep incline up to the road, I said, "Let's head up the hill." We had to walk carefully and hold on to branches for support, but for a couple of old codgers, we did okay.
Once up on the road, I looked behind me and was pretty amazed that we had just climbed an area that steep. As Bill, who had sore knees from extensive downhill walking at Sun Valley a few days before, said, "At this age, it's easier going up than down."
When we drove back through the meadow (same one where a moose chased me several years ago), the car with the flat tire was gone, and we still thought it best to visit the falls on another day.
Nonetheless, we accomplished our goal: cooler weather and no smoke until we pulled up out of Grouse Creek to the open farm fields.
The weather forecast calls for two more beastly hot afternoons and then we should get relief from the heat for the rest of the summer. If that happens, a record dating to the 1890s for the most consecutive days over 90 degrees will be broken.
The smoke, however, could hang around a lot longer. Guess we'll have to find more places to walk down in the deep woods---------if they're open, that is.