Things Are Smokin’ in Fawnskin

So, I took a long amble up to Gray’s Peak yesterday morning. Here are some of the photos.

Above: Trail Head–somebody had marked another trail marker with “Grey’s Peak” and an arrow. Note the correct spelling of the real trail head.

The first part of the trail is intact and looks pretty good. I heard wildlife there and saw small lizards, ground squirrels, and heard a few different birds. I saw a few animal tracks early on but not later.

Further up I ran into retardant and some of the areas where the fire crews worked. The fire did jump the trail in a number of places. The place was silent except for the human work crews somewhere below and the wind did not rustle any leaves–because there weren’t any to speak of.

First glimpses…I call this the finger because it looks like a defiant pose–especially since two other logs are on the ground nearby.

There are a number of areas where you could see the burn path. Whole stumps have burned, leaving holes in the ground near the trail. However, those pics didn’t turn out too well.

Very sad–and the place is quiet except for the back-up truck alarms and chain saws of the crews working on clean up in the woods.

Fire crews chopped down some of the major fuel sources such as this tree to prevent spreading. You can see the intact forest behind this felled tree.

This is one of the distance shots of the burn area. It is difficult to see because I don’t have a “real” sophisticated camera and had to turn around before I got to the end of the trail due to flames and smoke. The whole ridge beyond the tree tops is charred and empty.

The ground in many areas is just soot and very black. In some areas foot steps kick up the ashes on the trail.

The burn area is pretty significant in some places. In those areas you see how flooding will be an issue.

More downhill shots of the burn area up on Gray’s Peak.

The area is going to take a while to recover. However there are some areas that still have fuel.

In this pic you can see a couple of the trees that did not burn completely. Too early to tell if they will live or die. Some of the foliage sustained burns on one side but look normal when you view from the other.

Burnt ground with intact forest on the edge.

Although this tree looks like it still has leaves, they are a crispy greyish, beige color from the heat–and brittle.

When I hit actual flames I decided it was time to head back down. There is still fuel up on the mountain. This is the reminder that containment does not mean that the fire is completely out.

Should I stay or should I go? I decided it was best to get out and headed back down the trail where there wasn’t much fuel. Stopping at the Fire House on the way back I could not rouse anyone.

However. since the helicopoter showed up right as I turned around and moved away from the flames I was not too worried. The crew is locating hot spots and hovered over the spot I found and a few others in the distance.

Everyone in the neighborhood is sharing stories about the fire and evacuation. Bobby said he stayed and made every major news channel. He was irked that they did not air his thanks to the crews that were up here working.

So, if anyone is reading who had family on the fire–tell them he did send his thanks. He said that the worst day was Tuesday and that the breathing was a bit marginal.

My other neighbors up the street stayed until they were forced to leave. They could see the flames coming toward Fawnskin and didn’t argue much.

Other neighbors from way up top said that they left because they stayed during the last big fire and just couldn’t rest or relax. Either way you look at it the whole evacuation thing is stressful. Personally, I think it is better to leave so that fire crews have one less thing to worry about.

The neighbors up top reported that they now have a bear and a bobcat that moved into their area. The bobcat is denning next door!

A few neighbors went to the Grand Canyon and it is a wonder they didn’t run into each other. Seems to be the place to go when you have experienced a wildfire because Fawnskin locals met several people whose homes burnt down in the fires around Lake Tahoe. Seems that they were also touring while the new homes were being built.

After the hike on my amble home, I stopped by the new boat yard on Brookside where everyone was finishing lunch.

Kidding aside, RD, Debbie, and Steve volunteered to help me move the big mattress topside while the rest of the gang focused on moving the boats.

The only down side to living on a hill is the stairs going up…44 to be exact. I don’t mind except in some cases–such as when hauling a king size mattress up them.

Needless to say, I delivered dinner to two of the volunteers and am buying drinks at the Moose Lodge tonight! I bet they won’t want to help if I ever move out. Debbie said I should have made them slave by taking up the BBQ, too. Her philosophy is that when you have volunteers–work ’em to death!

Kat & Steve said they would stop by to haul out the mattress today–they had a change of plans and made the dump run without me because they didn’t know where I live. How does that happen here in Fawnskin? It seems like everyone knows where everyone else lives–and if they don’t they ask!

Anyway, Kat and Steve are up for all this week and are not missing any fun activities. When I caught them they were going out for a motorbike ride up to Cedar Lake and then plan on boating today.

We have cloud cover on the West End. I am happy to see it as the moisture and lack of wind seems to be better conditions for clean up in the forest.

I met Mike and Annie of infamous Prowler fame. Mike says he is going to build eventually but is enjoying the location. Mike, if you are reading this I heard there is a water flow channel on the property–may be best to check the drainage this winter before building.

Charlotte and Buck were also having another dog and human party when I walked by on Saturday night. I hate turning down invites but HM and I were going to dinner.

Speaking of dinner, I can’t believe the crowd at the Moose Lodge dinner on Saturday was so light because the food was so good it was UNBELIEVABLE. Sherry did a great job–those dinners raise money for the lodge so get there when you can.

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