Last September our family had quite a scare. A massive wildfire ripped through the El Dorado Nation Forest in a dead run towards our family cabin. In what seemed like an entirely impossible feat Mother Nature once again showed us her might by making the King Fire move 50,000 acres over night. For almost a month fire fighters did everything humanly possible to keep this fire contained. For most of the month though Mother Nature mocked their efforts. It seemed the drought conditions in California combined with unusual wind conditions made for an extremely dangerous go of it. The Fire ended up contained after approximately 97,000 acres of destruction. It stopped one mile from our family cabin. We are very lucky to have our cabin and our health when others were not so lucky. We are most grateful that no one lost their life fighting this fire. (Thank you to all of you out there that helped fight this fire.)
Having said all of that, I went up to the cabin this weekend for the first time since the fire and since the snow has melted in the mountains. For those of you familiar with the area I drove from Highway 80 in Auburn >Highway 49> through Georgetown and up Wentworth Springs Road towards Ice House. I was extremely saddened to see Stumpy Meadows reservoir almost entirely burned. And the beautiful tree lined road for tens of miles at a time burned and destroyed and clear cut. It was easy for me to pretend that it was fall and the orange needles on the pine trees were just turning colors in October. But, the reality is needles don’t turn orange and all of those trees are dead. Logging has begun with hundreds of logging trucks making the drive on a daily basis. I can only hope planting will begin soon. But as my husband put it, “The forest will never look like it is supposed to again in our lifetime.” That thought weighs heavily on my mind.
On the drive back we stopped along the road so I could take some photos. I had always been taught in school and by the old timers that the forest does strange things after a fire. I was hoping to catch some wild flower growth or something interesting that perhaps I have never had the opportunity to see before so closely. What I found was something entirely different and amazing. My forest has been enchanted! It was barren and empty and injured in places. But, in others it was touched by the fairies. Please enjoy the photos that still mesmerize me today. And bare with me they were taken with my iPhone…
Rainbow colored moss growing near a stream and under a burned tree. I have never seen moss this color in this forest before.
More beautiful moss growing near burned out trees.
Strange things growing on the forest floor. This photo almost looks like it belongs in an aquarium not on the forest floor.
Gorgeous colored moss growing near a stream. It looks to me like it can be an abstract painting.
Gorgeous colored grasses and moss growing near a burned out tree trunk.
More lovely colored moss.
Massive burn piles are being created by the loggers. Had to put the Jeep in the photo so you could see how large these burn piles are in spots. I understand that hundreds of logging trucks are going through here each day. I can’t wait to see baby trees being planted.
Stumpy Meadows is a pretty reservoir. This was the scene of one of the more dramatic videos during the King Fire. The majority of the reservoir was on fire. If you look closely you can see the trees have been burned almost all the way around the photo. It is still beautiful in this light but it is mostly destroyed. It makes me wonder what it will look like after it is logged and barren.