On Monday, we walked the upper Arroyo Seco to see what the fire had done to of one our favorite (and loveliest) hiking trails (Gould/Paul Little/ Oakwilde/Switzer) in the San Gabriel Mountains.  We went as far as Gould Campground (which was still surprisingly remained unscathed though fire came right down to the perimeter)

Read more about how the Station Fire completely devastated many of the most popular hikes in the San Gabriels

Justin remarked that it was eerily quite – nothing stirred and the entire canyon smelled like a charcoal pit.

We noticed the ashen trail littered with headless animals.   What was most shocking to us (besides seeing the barren hillsides)  was that the fire was so intense that the moonscape hillsides were actually coming — sliding down.  There was nothing holding the rocks, soil and with the steep canyon walls the hillsides are slowly encroaching into the stream, swimming holds and trails.   While we walking we could hear rocks tumbling and soil sliding down into the seco.    So even if it did rain the entire canyon would be just one huge mudslide waiting to happen.    It could possibly be that trails would no longer be accessible and the once crystal mountain stream would be clogged with so much rocks, soil that the steam could either go underground or be altered.

Standing under the scorched tress amid snow like ash that covered the entire canyon floor one could visualize the intensity of the fire – how the narrow canyon must have churned the flames into one big huge ball of fire.

Staring up at the denuded hills one couldn’t help feel sorry for all the animals in this vast 100,000 plus acre fire (Check out this interesting article Station fire victims call for U.S. probe into Forest Service’s response — ), wondering where they were seeking food and shelter amidst such apocalyptic devastation.

Nature, she is a resilient one.   The rains will soon come and it will be interesting to witness her renewal and rebirth which from the looks of things will take many, many years.

Before in all her glory

and now…..


  1. GPBurdell says:

    Decapitated animals…? Is that a typo, or was someone going around cutting animals’ heads off during the fire?

  2. Anais says:

    well, actually should say “HEADLESS” animals. Rat, birds, etc we saw the bodies but NO heads.

  3. Terry says:

    Those pictures are very sad! What makes it sadder still is that wasn’t this fire determined to be arson? I don’t know what is wrong with people who do that kind of thing.

  4. DuaneD says:

    I grew up with with hills getting scored now and then.
    Yes, nature is resilient!


  5. Janice says:

    That’s weird about the headless animals, does anyone know why they have no heads? It sounds creepy

  6. Chookie says:

    Will those trees regrow, or are they dead?

  7. Angie Robinson says:

    We occasionally have headless rabits in our yard. I’ve been told that owls really like heads and I know we have lots of owls so that may be it. They now have the luxury of just eating to good parts with so much available they probably don’t bother with the rest of it.

    As for the pictures, I’m sure neither the before or after ones really do the place justice. I’ve seen the same kind of thing happen with massive fires in northern Minnesota. It can’t really be described, only experienced.

  8. AROUND THE URBAN HOMESTEAD | Little Homestead in the City says:

    […] dropped 4″ on the urban homestead last Friday into Saturday.  The recent deluge and the devastating Station Fire combine to be a destruction combination causing massive mudslides in the foothills above Pasadena […]

  9. Lee Grant says:

    LA county fire crews actually had a handle on the station fire early in the fight, but “Cal Fire took command and decided to “control” the fire , not put it out.” (Quote from an LA county Fire Captain.) It seems Cal Fire gets paid overtime only while actually on the fire line, so the longer it burns, the more money they make!
    Neat Huh! Thank you Cal Fire, our taxes at work in a broken state!

  10. Vilma says:

    The separation of chruch and state is clearly stated as a goal by founder Thomas Jefferson for a simple and sensible reason. If you allow religion to dictate by political influence or financial influence what citizens must believe or fund then you find yourself on the slippery slope of theocracy. If you wonder what possibly might be wrong with that then think Taliban. If you propose allowing this for Baptists or Catholics or whatever then you absolutely have allowed radical Islam as well. You cannot discriminate against one particular religion. Think about it.

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