February 27, 2007

A walk in the Mason Gulch Burn

North edge of Mason Gulch Burn, Feb. 26, 2007I took this photo yesterday along the north edge of the Mason Gulch Burn, which burned in July 2005 and which covers at least 11,000 acres between the communities of Wetmore and Beulah, Colorado.

Heavy rains in July 2006 tore through the burned area. What had been a tiny trickle of a stream in Mason Gulch is now, in places, a wider, flat, graveled trench several yards across.

Between the localized flash flooding and the loss of trees, walking a trail that I had not taken since before the fire is a disconcerting experience. It's like seeing someone you know who has shaved their head--the contours are the same but the visual experience certainly is different.

The burned area calls me, though. I look up at little ridges that used to be hidden from sight, wondering what lies behind, seeing routes that could be hiked once the snow and mud dry.

This spring and summer I hope to make more of a photographic survey of at least this end of the burned-over area.

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