Well, have you been out on any trails yet where the forest got burned? We rode the Corral Trail since it’s the closest to us and always the busiest when the season is in full swing. If you have been there, how did that make you feel? Shocked, sad, lucky? I think my most prevalent feeling is what I can only describe as “Out of body.” What I mean by this is that you have kind of a numbness throughout your body and spirit. This numbness isn’t necessarily good or bad, in fact I absolutely know of times and specific places where this feeling comes on during a really great experience. One of these comes to mind in particular. This was a spot in Utah, deep inside the red rock walls of a canyon scattered with petroglyphs over a thousand years old, Ravens overhead flipping and diving, doing Raven speak and there you are cruising along on a bike that is so out of place yet so perfect at the same time! Wow am I floating, am I really here…uh wait, are we going to make it back to camp before dark? So many questions, just shut up and go with the float, perfect “Out of body” moment.
Cruising along through all the black. Stomach feeling kind of queasy, what the hell, where am I, wait I’ve been on this trail a few hundred times! This is one of the ones we were first riding back in the days of the earliest mountain bikes, the clunker days, I should know this zone! Nothing feels familiar, nothing feels right, except that I am on my bike on a super fun singletrack trail. Ah okay, I know that rock section, for a moment I know where I am. Maybe it’s not all bad to feel like you are somewhere different and new when you are in your own back yard.
On the other hand, I had that “Out of body” feeling during a very negative experience as well when I was in a serious car crash. It all happens so quickly and at the same time everything goes into slow motion. Then the point when all the motion stops and everything goes silent…wow what just happened? I remember climbing out of my wrecked vehicle, other people coming over to help, wow I feel like I’m floating, I’m all good but does this ever feel surreal, walking around still floating so “Out of body”!
The trail is in really great shape thanks to the Forest Service and TAMBA getting in there so quickly last year right after the fire. That was good too that they were able to get in and do so much great work right away so that the trail could sit under snow all winter and have a chance to reset. When I first got in there last year before winter got going, I expected the trail to be really destroyed and most likely would be a different trail entirely, but it is the trail we once knew even though yeah, it will never be the same! There is more work to be done for sure and the bridge at the bottom is gone so that will be a project for the near future. If you don’t like riding that trail because of how busy it can get on those summer afternoons, this is a good time to ride it since the gate is still closed which means the shuttle crowd isn’t in there yet. Another plus is there is still some moisture in the dirt with more coming. But that also brings up another factor that will be hard on those zones, runoff. There is nothing up there now standing in the way of blackened soil flowing downhill so this is going to be an important period for us to really respect the trails and the resources, yes now you have this ridiculous sight line down the hill, don’t start cutting switchbacks or making new lines!
Another part of the big picture that has changed is that Eldorado National Forest has reopened outside of the basin albeit to a limited extent. They have kept some f the roads and trails closed down in the Caldor, PiPi, and Elkins Flat areas. Also closed are most of the Day use/picnic areas, campgrounds and some of the Trail heads in the burn zones. As usual best to check the Eldorado National Forest web site before heading out there. And of course, they have all the warnings about the hazards of being out there right. In all these windy conditions we have been seeing lately it’s amazing how many green trees and branches have been going down, that means it’s probably a really bad time to be out in the burn areas during these wind events.
I am sad and excited to go see some of those areas too because that is some of my favorite terrain to hang out in. And of course we are all excited to see John Rice and the Sierra at Tahoe crew making so much amazing progress up there, we love you guys!
Wow how much does this make you appreciate green trees! Time to go out and do some floating around.