By Sarah Schrock

Well, that was interesting. It sounded like a freight train coming into town, followed by a crash, snap, boom. I am not talking about the New Old Time Chautauqua that swept through over the weekend leaving a wake of festival fury; I am talking about the freakish wind and thunderstorm Sunday night that caught us all a little off guard.

Normally a storm like that would be dramatic, but this time I would put it in the frightening category. In part because we decided to sleep in a tent in the backyard to accommodate house guests. Needless to say, we were a little exposed when the branches started falling. As quickly as it came, it left us with a cool, damp mess. There were scattered fires, but none appeared to be caused by lightning strikes.

Last Thursday, residents near Thurlow Road off Lower Beaver Creek were not as fortunate when a midday lightning strike kicked off the first wild brush fire of the season. The fire crews and helicopter were fast to respond, and that blaze didn’t get out of hand. And so it begins.

While we prepare for the ensuing fire season, get our floats ready for the river, and think about how to stay cool in the coming weeks, the last thing you are probably thinking about is the upcoming ski season. But the Loup Loup Ski Bowl wants you to take advantage of the Spring Season Pass Sale which ends June 30. You can go online to www.skitheloup.com/passes-tickets-rentals to find the various rates. If the season is anything like last year, you won’t regret getting your pass!

Summertime at the Loup also has some things to offer. The Bear Mountain and Upper Beaver Creek trails near the ski hill offer some great single-track mountain biking. The trails also offer escape from the sun in forested (that is, shaded) hiking, and running trails. Of particular interest, is the Telemark trail that has sweeping views to the peaks to the north and west. Don’t ask me how to get there, other than bring a map, GPS, phone or some other kind of orienteering gadgets, because for some reason those Loup trails have a way of getting me totally mixed up. The only (two) times I have ever gotten lost in the woods was at the North and Summit — on separate occasions. Thankfully, there’s phone reception if you are high enough up to call for help or track yourself on Google Maps, both of which I have done up there.

To access the Bear Mountain trails you can ride/walk from the campground on U.S. Forest Service Road 42 at the North Summit, or you can connect into the trail system from the Beaver Creek Trail as part of an extensive network of trails that have been maintained and supported by local mountain bike enthusiasts, the local chapter of the Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance. The trails at the summit have some easy walking and biking for all skill levels and it’s an easy day excursion from town. Just bring a map!

PREVIOUSLY, IN TWISP

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