Enchanted Forest – King Fire

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.


Beautiful sunset.


More lovely colored moss.


Logging site.


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.

33 thoughts on “Enchanted Forest – King Fire

  1. You have a great spirit – to be able to find the hope and the beauty in a place that you knew in a totally different way. That moss is fabulous! And the blue fungus stuff looks like bare blue feet! 🙂 It’s great that you showed this post because so many people do not come back to the scene after a fire, and do not get the chance to watch the forest begin again. Even though you used your phone, the pictures are wonderful.

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    • Thank you. I found it really fascinating. And I am so glad I stopped to take a closer look. It cheered me up after seeing it all on the drive up. I certainly wasn’t expecting to find all that! Thanks for the comment!

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  2. Delighted to have you participate in the weekly mobile photography challenge. Your images capture the sweeping beauty and some destruction by Mother Nature’s hand. Glad to hear that your family cabin survived the ordeal. I’ve been witness to this devastation during a visit to Yosemite, which is a pristine site of grandeur–a place that encourages a true sense of one’s inner spirituality. If you return to my latest post, you can read the guidelines for the challenge (under the Note section). Participants send me a comment (as you did) to notify me or a Pingback. Then I list your post on mine. Happy to have you join the fun.

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  3. Pingback: Sally D’s Mobile Photography Challenge: Nature (and Peonies) | Lens and Pens by Sally

    • Thank you! Very kind of you.

      I wish I knew what those clover shaped mysteries were myself. Lots of people have been asking me. I suppose it is some sort of fungi. I am hoping to show them to a family friend who is a botanist so perhaps she can shed some light. They look to me like they belong in an aquarium.

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  4. Pingback: Guest Post: Enchanted Forest – King Fire « Blog of Hammad Rais

  5. Pingback: One Word Photo Challenge: Blizzard | Jennifer Nichole Wells

  6. Peggy and I almost bought a home in Georgetown. In fact we made an offer. I haven’t been back since the King Fire but I have certainly seen plenty of burned forests. We had to evacuate here. And I was dodging fires when I hiked down the PCT. Between my senior year in high school and my freshman year in college, I fought a large fire up near Georgetown. It forever gave me an appreciation of what firemen do! –Curt

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