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McPaws in McCall

August 29, 2013

Idaho – Monday, August 19

Tula and I set off on a morning walk through the state park even before we got packed up. Walking on the trails through all the pretty ponderosas and by the lake was a great was to start the day – we covered a little over 3 miles. And then I enjoyed the huckleberries that my new friends gave me yesterday. Once we were packed up, I drove the few miles back into McCall to walk in town a bit more. I wanted to walk by the lake again, and there were a couple streets we hadn’t walked on last night. I was thinking about my donation for today – yesterday I had asked Mary if she had any favorite local charities, and she immediately said the McPaws Animal Shelter. And when I was talking with Kathy later about local opportunities, she mentioned a couple others, but also mentioned McPaws. So I had looked them up on the computer, only to discover they were closed on Mondays! But as I was walking through town, I walked right by the local thrift store, and all of its proceeds go to McPaws, so I figured when I was done walking, I would go back there, and give them the donation to pass on to the animal shelter. I had a late breakfast outside at a cute little cafe, finished my walk, and returned to the thrift store. The lady working there recommended I just mail it in because she wasn’t sure when someone from McPaws would stop in next. They keep a count on the side of their wall about how many “forever homes” they’ve found for their animals, and already 120+ happy pets have found new homes this year.

When I was finished in McCall, I began to head south to Boise. There are 2 ways to go, and last night Kathy and Julie told me which one was most scenic, although it was a bit longer, and there would be a risk that the views could be obscured by wildfire smoke. And in the end, I didn’t see any smoke anywhere – the winds were blowing toward the east. It was indeed a pretty drive – along white water rivers, in canyons and up steep mountains. I thought of all the firefighters working in that sort of terrain, and how that makes a tough job even more difficult.

I stopped and did a little walking in the town of Cascade, and then farther south, Tula and I walked about a mile and a half in Idaho City, famous back in the day for gold mining. And the town still has the look of an old frontier town, with wooden buildings and sidewalks. At its peak in the 1860s, 15,000-20,000 gold miners were in town, and a quarter of them were Chinese. It was one of the largest gold strikes ever discovered. The US Forest Service had put a big sign in town with fire details – with both written information, and a map with fire areas shaded. I actually saw this in several towns over these next couple of days – they do seem to try hard to keep everyone updated about the fires, and who is under evacuation (they list specific streets and addresses) and who needs to think about gathering their things together, etc. They seem to update it at least once a day. So if people don’t watch the news, or have a computer to check on the status of a fire, there is at least a prominent place in town with detailed information. I didn’t see any smoke, or smell anything, and aside from people occasionally checking the boards and talking about it, I wouldn’t have known anything was going on – although I think I was still 80-100 miles away. I heard from several people that wildfires are simply a way of life in the west – if the smoke gets bad, you close your windows, and hope the fires won’t actually destroy your home.

I continued south and I still needed to walk another couple miles, and then I came to Lucky Peak State Park, and walked around a small lake, and the saw the dam. This lake has a rack of donor life jackets for kids to borrow, and I’ve also seen that around quite a bit – another good idea to keep kids safe. After I finished my walking, I headed just a little farther east to the town of Mountain Home, where I stopped for the night. The Beaver Creek fire near Sun Valley is one of the biggest active fires, and I was curious if I would see any smoke in the morning, or if I could find a donation opportunity to help either firefighters or evacuees.

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