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)
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 — latimes.com ), 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