Since entering Montana, the first week of our travels, we have been exposed to the smoke from the forest fires. We didn’t really notice how bad the air was until we ended up in Bend, Oregon. Vinny’s friend Dom felt kind of bad that we couldn’t get a sense of what Bend was really like; we could barely see the mountains. There were a couple days where it cleared out and we saw the amazing Smith Rock. I had a head cold and cough that wouldn’t go away. I had been at an eclipse festival in Big Prairie outside Prineville, Oregon in the dust the week before, so that was no help to my lungs. Then i’m in Bend injured from my burn and I could not do very much about it. Oh, how badly I wanted to climb Smith Rock. The best place to climb in the USA. I couldn’t put a harness over my thigh and too much movement would exacerbate my burn. We at least got a nice hike while we were there. I was depressed that I could not float down the river, when I had a chance. I just wanted to be in water because it had been over 90 degrees while we were visiting Bend. We spent a week there and then headed over to Crater Lake.
The signs of the fire really started to show, it was so smoky, you could not tell where the fire was coming from. There was a campsite we were planning to stay for the night, but the conditions were so bad that they closed it. We almost skipped Crater Lake, but decided to give it a try despite the questionable conditions. There were a few people there, good sign, we were not the only idiots. We could barely see the lake from the top. I’m glad we stopped by, even if it wasn’t in perfect conditions. We stayed there to make dinner and headed off, unsure of where we would sleep. The fire hazard was at extreme and it was getting too dark to drive. We drove a little further than we felt comfortable in the dark and ended up at Deschutes National Forest along side Odell Lake. It was so smoky that we could not see the other side of the lake, but it wasn’t effecting us too much. It was a very peaceful place, we could have stayed there for a while. The smoke was in and out of our site for the next two days that we were there. There is no forecast for smoke, it keeps changing, we realized. Sometimes you just have to sit it out and it will be an amazing day and sometimes not.
After the forest we ended up in Eugene and the air quality was good. At this point I remember the fire was really bad in Bend and people were wearing masks. We had a day where we rode up to Skinner’s Butte, that was the most proper ride I had in a while. The next day, Vinny and Zane went hiking up Spencer’s Butte. I had this cough that still wouldn’t go away and my chest was congested, so I didn’t go. Vinny and Zane came back saying it was a bad idea. Their lungs were paying for it, the smoke was worst than they thought. The next day they decided to go out and play a round of disc golf and came back with dust masks on. We drove to the coast with Zane and his family to get out of the smoke. The last day in Eugene, we tried to check the city out but the smoke was so heavy, that a mask wasn’t going to cut it. I felt really bad because there were homeless people laying in the streets without protection. One guy in particular was splayed out on a free couch, in the middle of the block, passed out. The next couple of days, we went to visit Vinny’s aunt, outside Eugene and the smoke had cleared for a bit. There was a fire that had just started outside of Portland, where our next destination was. We decided to change our route a little to stay clear of the smoke, so instead of Portland, we’d go to Seattle first. But first a jaunt to the coast to make our way up, instead of heading to Mount Hood. We had no real timeline, but had to change plans with friends that we are visiting. Seemed like the smoke was following us everywhere for a month. Finally after a few days on the coast, my sinuses and lungs cleared up!
I have never experience the heavy smoke from forest fires first hand before. In Minneapolis we notice the Canadian wild fires, but it doesn’t effect our breathing as much, we mostly notice how beautiful of a sunset it creates. My heart goes out to those who have to stay in those conditions and those putting the fires out.
What did I do to combat the smoke?
I tried as many naturopathic remedies as I could to boost my immune system. I tried my best to stay inside. Though we are living in an RV, it can be a little stuffy and not any better. I drank as much water as I could to stay hydrated and to get rid of the toxins from my body. I didn’t do the outdoor activities that I wanted to do. My go to in the morning was hot lemon water with some salt to jumpstart my digestion and the boost of vitamin C. I also took extra vitamin c along with my usual probiotics, fish oil and digest enzymes. My evening drink was a ginger tea, to help reduce inflammation. I even made a concoction of ginger, garlic, tumeric and salt to drink. I also made some weird concoction with apple cider vinegar. I ate more veggies than normal to detox my liver, so it doesn’t have to work so hard. I put garlic in everything! I did eucalyptus steam for my sinuses (the thing that burnt my legs in the first place) and the nettie pot. Foot bath with epsom salt for the extra minerals and relaxation. And my favorite, lots of sleep.