It’s July 4th night and everyone is in vacation mode after a long day on the beach with teens setting off sparklers, parents nursing a beer or a glass of wine and everyone, for the moment, feeling all is well in the world, especially here in Maine where locals have been welcoming vacationers for generations—including the Bush family.
We’re hiking in the snow—micro crampons on our feet on the Crawford Trail in New Hampshire, with a guide from the Appalachian Mountain Club’s Highlands Center. In case you are wondering, the needles on the spruce are spikey--thus “spikey spruce” and the needles on the balsam are soft (“friendly fir”!).
The skies are blue, the air is clear and there is no evidence of fire where tourists would go. “Some people watching TV thought the whole city burned up,” one local told me. “Some people thought the entire state burned,” said another in Crested Butte. Fortunately, Colorado’s fire-impacted areas represent less than 1 percent of the state’s 23 million acres of public land.