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As promised, I’m so happy to share some pics from our Labor Day camping trip. I’m still a little freaked out remembering how close we came to disaster when our first plan was to revisit some of our favorite camping spots on the Scenic ByWay. Luckily, my elder granddaughters lobbied to go to Green Creek on the east side of the Sierra.

To reach Green Creek, we had to cut through Yosemite National Park on Highway 120/Tioga Pass. A word to the wise, plan ahead and get a permit online if you want to enter the Park—even if it’s just to drive through. As local residents, we were afforded the gift of a free pass both coming and going, but we saw a number of travelers turned away at the gate. They were NOT happy.

There were/are two fires burning in Yosemite. These may, in fact, have been “prescribed” burns. I’d say something snarky about the lack of wisdom of adding more smoke to the atmosphere at this time, but nobody asked me. 🙁 Happily, blue sky awaited as we crossed the pass.

The sunlight sparkling on Tenaya Lake was too gorgeous to pass up. We made a quick stop to dip our toes in the icy water.

The East Side welcomed us with bright sunlight and a hint of yellow in the aspen groves.

Finding a campsite on the Saturday of a three-day weekend was a little nerve-wracking, but we lucked out and found a lovely spot right beside the creek. JP even set up the hammock over the water!

Unfortunately…a few hours after settling in, we noticed a build-up of clouds to the west. At first, we thought…rain? But then we looked a little closer and noticed an ominous hint of red behind the black clouds. Smoke descended quickly turning our afternoon to evening. It was like sitting around a campfire…without the benefit of s’mores. Sigh.

The rest the weekend consisted of smoky skies, but luckily the bad air stayed high enough not to impact our breathing, although we opted out of a hike, choosing instead to visit nearby “Leech” Lake—so named when Daisy discovered a multitude of tiny leeches on her ankles. Eek!

And, as the photo below proves, the smoke can/will drive a person mad. 😉 But never fear, we made it home safely with great memories to sustain us once we realized the smoke was coming from the very place we’d originally planned to visit. As of Monday, Sept 14, the Creekfire stands at: 212,744 acres burned with only 10% containment, including the area where we’d originally planned to camp.

Meet the Characters

releases wide next Monday, Sept 21.

This story wraps up the Property Sisters of Montana series. Ending a series is always bittersweet because I’ve spent a good year with these characters in my head and on paper. But sharing them with the world is the end goal. So, my friends, meet the McCall sisters: Ruby, Amber and Jade.

Left to right: Ruby, Jade & Amber McCall

Three sisters, each very different in every aspect.

  • Ruby is the bossy one.
  • Amber is the brains of the outfit.
  • Jade is the dreamer.

But these sisters support each other by focusing on each person’s inherent strengths instead of pointing out any flaws or weaknesses.

  • Yes, Ruby tries too hard to be perfect.
  • Yes, Amber hides her insecurities behind her bank account.
  • No, Jade doesn’t trust her gifts—even when her dreams come true.

In Jade-speak: “Perfection is highly overrated and generally suspect. New tricks do not a good dog make.”


This week’s Q&A: Have you ever been forced to flee from a natural disaster – fire, earthquake, tornado, tsunami warning? Yes or No?

(Two winners will be chosen by random drawing to receive either a $5 Starbucks gift card or a $5 Amazon gift card. Please reply the usual ways:
email or on my DebraSalonenAuthor Facebook page.)

Happy reading, my friends. Life isn’t quite back to normal here, but we seem to settling into a tolerable routine: Kindergarten mornings followed by afternoons of writing. I just started Book 2 in my next series, and I’m tweaking a holiday book that deserves a bit of love.

Take care and stay well,


Next week: The heroes speak…release week madness and…ooh…prizes!



Copyright © 2020 Debra Salonen