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I made it up to Dry Lake today, and walked around a bit in the forest east of Dry Lake, which is an easy area to explore off-trail. I honestly wasn’t prepared for what I saw. Wow. In much of the area near the trail, and in many place that can be seen from the trail, every single tree, huge and small and everything in between, is dead, and many of the trees that still have green tops look like their days are numbered. The entire area around that trail is about 95% standing dead wood now. It will be interesting to watch it in the coming years.
It was still beautiful, in a sad and austere sort of way, but it was surprising. Not sure why…I guess I should have expected it. It’s not the trail it used to be, for whatever that’s worth!
Some spots (Horse Meadow, much of South Fork Meadow near the trail, the area immediately around Dry Lake) are still in pretty good shape, but the areas between them are new landscapes.
I couldn’t help but wonder what would have happened if fire was left to take it’s natural course, rather than our decades-long policy of suppressing all of it until the fuel is such that, in optimal conditions, it can’t be suppressed. Would the entire north face of the massif have burned? Interesting to consider.
One thing’s for sure, the wildflowers up there right now are CRAZY! And it was neat to walk that trail with all the weeds and tiny manzanitas growing right out of the trail! That won’t last long. 🙂
I’ll post a link to some photos when I get them sorted out. I took a ton.
Be careful walking around near the water at Dry Lake…there are THOUSANDS of tiny frogs everywhere! They’re so dense that you literally can’t walk where they are without stepping on them.