We drove up the winding, switchback laden Old McKenzie Highway (Route 242) and stopped at the familiar Dee Wright Observatory. Earlier in the summer, some friends of ours took their bikes on the highway as snow had been cleared from part of the road, but not enough for cars.
The Dee Wright Observatory was built at McKenzie pass during the depression by Civilian Conservation Corps workers. You can still see the old wagon trails from the 1860s there. That might be Belknap crater there but I'm not positive. I remember scampering across the lava and hunting for chipmunks with my Girl Scout troop here. That is the smoke from the fire in the image above. It would've filled the frame in another few minutes.
This image shows the Middle and North Sisters, with the Collier glacier between them. Everything is so open out there. I've always thought it looks like another planet because of how the skeleton trees just can't seem to thrive.
We finished our day at a road-side burger joint where I had a blackberry shake so thick I had to eat it with a spoon. We set off for home but stopped when we found a great vista of the fire. Many people were gathered at this wide shoulder taking pictures and saying over and over "Did you see that?!". If you look really closely in this picture you can see a few sparks- the fire was right over the highest point in that ridge. Helicopters were dipping into the lake in the middle of the image. As we drove home, the moon hovered directly in front of us, shining blood red through the haze.