The buzz this morning is a predicted temperature of 102 degrees as a high for Mazama. Yesterday (Sunday), we were in the high 80s in West Boesel and for a change there was no wind, barely a breeze. The river has been up and down. My visual barometer is a snag on the north side of Highway 20, and lately it has appeared and then disappeared. Today it was barely visible early in the morning, but I suspect this will be the last gasp of high water for the season.
This is reflected in the statistics for Harts Pass, the road now open and currently 55 degrees. There is no snow at the measuring station and as a consequence, no snow-water equivalent. This echoes the recorded minimum of zero inches in 1987. The maximum was 59 inches in 2011.
The lack of water at 6,500 feet obviously has its effect on the valley floor and the river flow, as well as groundwater. Barring rain, real rain, not the showers we have encountered lately, it could mean trouble. The drought conditions elsewhere in the nation are revving up here was well. I suspect a burn ban will be imposed shortly.
The old adage “make hay while the sun shines” has certainly been observed in the entire Mazama haying area. It looks like every field has been cut, and as of this morning some were already in windrows. We were told that some has even been baled. This is not uncommon for the Okanogan Valley, but sure seems early for here.
Two mornings ago the air must have been damp because as we were driving past Foster’s fields on Goat Creek Road, with the car windows down, we were hit with a wave of newly cut grass scent and it was marvelous — enough to induce stopping the vehicle to just sit there and inhale.
A fairly constant subject of conversation at SLIME over the past week or more has been the onslaught of fruit flies. Their numbers have been characterized as hordes, clouds and masses. The blame for their appearance varies. The most prevalent I’ve heard has been that they are the result of apples being dumped to rot on the ground last year when the fruit could not be harvested because of a strike. I have serious doubts that even the wonders of the Methow would be an enticement for the little nasties to fly all the way up here from Omak or Wenatchee orchards.
Last week I was surfing the web, nominally looking at fishing stuff, and came across an advertisement for, of all things, wingless fruit flies. My first vision was of when I was a little boy, and pulling the wings off flies was part of the rites of little boy-ism. But these were advertised by The Live Fish Food Shop, which offered three cultures of wingless fruit flies for a mere $32.50. A glass of standing red wine could become a fly fisherman’s bonanza.