Saw lots of large areas of burned trees, mostly standing burnt. Looked like a forest of black toothpicks.
Minimal shade. This was the first year we really had to use sun screen. Bugs/mosquitoes were a bit more abundant, but nothing serious.
Water from stream at Dean Cutoff Camp was still cloudy from ash runoff. Campsites at Dan Beard and part of challenge course were destroyed. At Dan Beard they camped us across the fence in the Valle, and all crews had to use no-trace camping principles. They had 3 sumps located next to staff cabin for all campers to use. Heavy burn on ridge east of Dan Beard.
Minimal burn from Dan Beard to Greenwood and up to Iris Park. Water at Rich Cabins and Greenwood Canyon was clear. New solar pump, no-more-windmill, at Iris Park. No signs of burn north of Iris and up to Ring Place. Returned to burned area, south of Beatty Lakes on hike from Ring Place to Rich Cabins. Spotty burned areas around Rich Cabins.
Wilson Mesa lake/pond is dry. Pueblano to Ewells Park showed no signs of burn, as well as most of the Baldy Mtn. area. A major firebreak had been cut along the ridge from Ewells Park to Head of Dean. Some establsihed hiking trails had been erased or covered up, and were re-maked with colored tape to indicate where trail continued away from firebreak. The ridge (Dean Skyline) from Head of Dean to Elkhorn to Ponil showed major burn. No shade!
All campsites in the Ponil meadow are gone. No campsites from the Ponil staff cabin, until well west of the chuck wagon dinner area. Seemed like our campsite was closer to Sioux than Ponil. They also have established 3 new campsites up on the ridge behind the Cantina, and 3 up on the hill behind the Staff cabin. A new covered chuck wagon dinner eating area has been built at Ponil.
In all the burned areas, significant grass/weed and scrub oak re-growth exists. All conservation projects in the North Country were fire restoration related. Raking, seeding and strawing. I suspect due to the fire and lack of food sources, we saw very little wildlife.
All-in-all, was still a great and wonderful trek, and we experienced mother natures' work first-hand; which gave all of us a new outlook on land/forest management.
Weather was warm, with cool evenings, and we experienced a total of about 30 minutes of rain in 10 days. Guess we got real real lucky.
Darrel Tadsen St. Louis Area Council Contingent Advisor, 622-N St. Charles, MO
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