To celebrate Independence Day, N and I decided to escape the crowds at the lake and go hiking near Carson Pass. The first few miles of trail are quite popular, but we figured once we got past the wildflower section we’d have it mostly to ourselves.
What we didn’t bank on was encountering a truly retarded individual enjoying his morning campfire near Winnemucca Lake. When I smelled smoke I started to panic, but N saw it was a campfire. When he went up to speak with said sorry-excuse-for-a-human about the fact that a) wood fires are not permitted in the Mokelumne Wilderness, and b) everyone was on high alert because of the nearby wildfire in South Lake Tahoe, the twenty-something dude (it’s always a guy, isn’t it?) told N that ‘all the other fisherman around the lake had campfires all day yesterday’, so he figured it was ok to do that as well. This despite the large orange signs at the trailhead that clearly state “CAMPFIRES PROHIBITED”. Yaay for reading comprehension skills!
We didn’t hike much further in, primarily because I was worried that said dumb*** hadn’t properly extinguished his fire, and I sure didn’t want to be deep in the wilderness if flames began. So we hiked back, N checked on the campfire to confirm it was out (and reminded the dude of his idiocy once again) and briefly explored a side trail that took us towards Ebbetts Pass.
On the way out we stopped at the Carson Pass Visitor Center, where we saw how the current administration’s budgeting means that there are not enough rangers to patrol these highly flammable wilderness areas. N reported the problem to an older volunteer, and when he described the campsite, learned that not only was this idiot lighting illegal campfires, but he wasn’t even in a legitimate campsite so there was no way to properly identify him. And since there were no rangers or Forest Service staff on duty there, nobody could go and make an arrest or shoot him or whatever he deserved. I was so annoyed by this. Unless these jokers actually caused a fire (that would then require lots of manpower to put out), there was no way that the Forest Service could pay attention to this area. Anyone else see the irony? I believe we have the leadership of our brush-clearing President and his anti-environment, self-absorbed politicos to thank for that one.