Which hiking trails have been affected by the 2020 fires in Oregon and Southwest Washington?

Here is an ongoing attempt to evaluate which hiking trails and campsites are within areas affected by wildfires in Oregon and southwest Washington in 2020.

This is not an official or complete list, just one person’s attempt to track it all. I don’t have access to any more information than what’s publicly available.

MAJOR, CRITICAL DISCLAIMER: Just because a spot is within the area affected by a fire, it has not necessarily been burned to the ground! I cannot overstate the importance of this. Many fires skip around, burn only along the ground, and behave very differently from one area to the next. When the media says a fire is 35,000 acres, that does not necessarily translate into 35,000 acres of total destruction. Places within a burn zone could survive intact, be damaged … or be burned to the ground. We won’t know for a while.

Updated October 5, 2020: The Wind River Road is open again,

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Recovery Share: Some Thoughts on Depression

I was going to call this one “Thoughts on the Looming Darkness,” with September in Oregon always making one start thinking of November in Oregon, but that whole thing seemed a little … well, dark. And click-baitish.

Also, it’s not that bad. But it is a little window into what I want to write about today, which is depression. A more or differently depressed person might well have led with “looming darkness,” because that’s how it can seem when you’re that kind of depressed. But what does it even mean to be depressed? And what would be the motivation for leading with such drama? To cry out for help? Feed into one’s own story of depression? Try to reduce its power through ridicule?

Off we go, into my confused (and often depressed) mind.

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What It’s Like Being From Portland in 2020


First, a little historical context. When I moved from Memphis to Portland in 1996, people in other parts of the country would say one of two things about my new hometown: “I hear it’s pretty there,” or “Isn’t that up near Seattle?”

Somewhere along the way, Portland has become both one of American’s “it” cities, as well as a canvas on which people paint all sorts of assumptions and fantasies.

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Did I Just Go On a Trip?


I woke up this morning at home, wished the construction guys across the street would keep it down, made my coffee, stood in the back yard for a minute taking in the fresh air, then thought about what I need to do today.

First up? Unpack.

And that’s when I remembered I just went on a long trip — over 3,000 miles of driving and about 15 nights of camping in the last three weeks. I had actually forgotten!

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RIP Marjorie Gerald

Man, it was just a few months ago we were saying goodbye to Dad, and now Mom’s gone to be with him. It’s what she wanted, once he was gone, and she deserved peace and rest, so we let her go with love and gratitude.


Marjorie Ann Brown Gerald took her last breaths in the evening of July 19, 2020, in Memphis, Tennessee. She was 85 years old. Her son, Lee, got to be there for those breaths and told her that he and his siblings, Lucy and Paul, love her, that she did a great job, that they’re going to be okay, and she can go be with her husband and their father, who crossed the same mysterious divide six months before. And with that, she was gone, to be where she wanted to be all along: with her Barry.

But the sadness of her passing, even with the lonely final months this damned pandemic imposed on it, simply can’t stand up to a life so well lived.

Marjorie was born November 11, 1934 in Calhoun City, Mississippi to Albert Yeates Brown and Lucille Fatheree Brown. And while geographically her life didn’t end too far from where it started, few people got to have the journey that “Marge” did. As the daughter of a Methodist preacher, she was raised in – it seemed to her kids – every town between Memphis and Jackson. Then it was off to Ole Miss, where she was one of the first group of Rebelettes, performed in a Sugar Bowl and Cotton Bowl, and also where, as she famously said at a family reunion, “I got me a husband.”

In that sense, Marjorie Ann (as her Mississippi family always called her) was very much of the old school. She wanted to get married and raise a family, and that’s where she drew so much of her joy. But she sought, and got, so much more from life. She was determined to see the world, learn all about it, and then show you the pictures and tell you the stories. She may have been a preacher’s kid focused on raising her own kids – and she did indeed do a hell of a job at it – but she could spin yarns from the Silk Road across China, the palaces of Russia, the villages of Europe, and California’s Bay Area in the 60s.

That desire to learn, see and share drove her long life of volunteer activities, running the speakers’ bureau for Memphis’s historic Elmwood Cemetery (where her parents rest), Wonders exhibitions, Dixon Gardens and Botanical Garden. She simply loved stories, especially when they were about strong women who didn’t “stay in their lanes.” She had a bit of that rebel streak in her, too; one of the family’s favorite stories about her is when she sat down in the “men’s grill” at the country club and demanded to be served because, after all, the whole idea of a “men’s grill” is just ridiculous. She said it was a fine lunch, too.

Tough, sweet, vulnerable, caring, beautiful, flawed like the rest of us, loved greatly and greatly loving, Mom was one of a kind. We will all miss her, and while we are saddened to be without her, and heartbroken we couldn’t all be with her at the end, we did reunite her with Barry at last. Their ashes were laid to rest in Deer Creek in Leland, Mississippi on July 24. As their final containers settled into the mud and began to dissolve, surrounded by cypress trees and ducks and warm delta breezes, the current took them off on one last journey – together, the way they always wanted it to be.

Marge and Barry had three children, all of whom survive her: Lucy Cook of Chevy Chase, Maryland; Lee Gerald of Memphis; and Paul Gerald of Portland, Oregon. She also leaves her brother, Albert Yeates Brown Jr. of Columbus, North Carolina.

The family suggests that in lieu of gifts or flowers, we think Marge would appreciate a donation to Elmwood Cemetery or any effort that gets us a new president in November.