Sunday, June 23, 2013

Into the darkness

I'd like to do a quick post for the state of Colorado which is extremely dry, and in danger of losing lots of land to fires.  Right now, it is questionable whether the town of South Fork will survive the fiery onslaught.

That is South Fork.

June 21, the 160 leading from Chama to Pagosa Springs was closed due to the fires, so I was rerouted through Alamosa.  I ended up taking the historical Toltec train to find a different route back to dirt.  The view from the train was heartbreaking.

View from the train of the smoke.  It looks like a volcano erupting.

Some of the natural causes for these forest fires have to do with the critters that feast on the trees.  The silken pouches you see covering the aspens are caterpillars, and the orange colored bard on the pine trees are the work of the bark beetle.

Large patches of dead aspens are proof of how effective the caterpillars are at consuming their lunch.

View of the patch of dead aspens from the Toltec train heading to Antoninto.

The train goes from Chama to Antonito which is where I headed north towards Monte Vista.  As I biked north on the 15, I saw that I was entering a chasm of darkness.  It started out looking like just clouds...

Then the sky started to look black and blue like it had been badly beaten...

And then it became clear that we were amidst the darkness.  I could feel the smoke lightly tickling my nose, slowly filling my lungs, and making my eyes water.

This is what I saw when I arrived in Monte Vista, which is about 30 miles east of South Fork.

There are two local parks in Monte Vista that are taking R.V.'s and campers, housing some of the misplaced folks from South Fork.  Half of the people I spoke with while checking out the town were people holding back tears, talking about the probability of never seeing their home again.  It was clear they had accepted their fate already, but are still in shock and grieving of what they had lost.

The sun showing blood red through the smoke.

All of Colorado is in extreme fire danger currently and multiple fires are taking place.  Please keep the people and animals in Colorado in your thoughts, as well as the firefighters working so hard to extinguish this large force of nature.  The land will heal itself, but we need each other to get us through a time of hardship.  We love you Colorado.

View from Horca, Colorado

Just to let everyone know, we are safe as we are lucky enough to route around the fires.  We've run into some bad smoke, but usually see clear skies by the end of the day.

1 comment:

  1. Sad to hear. We love Colorado. Been going to Mueller State Park outside Pike's Peak for years now.

    Camera seems to be working out well - you've got some awesome photos! How have I not seen these posts until now! What an exciting adventure!