A Photo Tour of South Fork up to Dry Lake

Southern California and far-away places. Hiking, wildlife, cycling etc.

A Photo Tour of South Fork up to Dry Lake

Postby zippetydude » Sun Jul 23, 2017 12:15 pm

I went up Saturday and found a very different wilderness. The forest is largely going to turn into either meadows or brush for a while. I'm hoping it turns out to be meadows. Anyway, without further ado, we will start above Horse Meadow. There is severe burning before you get to Horse Meadow, but the meadow and cabins seem to have had no damage at all. The buckthorn area above Horse Meadow burned, and the brush is rejuvenating quickly, but the intensity of the flames seems to have killed most of the trees. Here is a view of the area:

ImageIMG_0069 by zippetydude, on Flickr

And here is the old wilderness sign at Poop Out Hill:

ImageIMG_0009 by zippetydude, on Flickr

And here is the trail leading out into the wilderness from the sign.

ImageIMG_0010 by zippetydude, on Flickr

Poop Out Hill as seen from the trail.

ImageIMG_0011 by zippetydude, on Flickr

Remember all the tumbled dead trees that used to lie in the avalanche chute? No more!

ImageIMG_0063 by zippetydude, on Flickr

Wildflowers amongst the burned out trees.

ImageIMG_0062 by zippetydude, on Flickr

The sign at the turn to the Lost Lake trail is all burned out but the South Fork Meadows area has only spotty damage. The sign is still fine:

ImageIMG_0057 by zippetydude, on Flickr

Just before the trail leading up to Dry Lake:

ImageIMG_0044 by zippetydude, on Flickr

I prefer to take the xc route up the ravine because in good rain years like this one there are two delightful springs about a quarter mile up on the right hand side.

ImageIMG_0042 by zippetydude, on Flickr

ImageIMG_0019 by zippetydude, on Flickr

A couple snags that won't be standing much longer:

ImageIMG_0015 by zippetydude, on Flickr

Dry Lake as seen from the trail as you arrive from South Fork:

ImageIMG_0021 by zippetydude, on Flickr

There is still water in Dry Lake:

ImageIMG_0039 by zippetydude, on Flickr

And the view from the other side of the lake shows some burning took place above the north side of the lake.

ImageIMG_0036 by zippetydude, on Flickr

I went up to see if there is water at Lodge pole Spring. Yes, there is. It is fairly high up and you first find a little standing pool. Maybe 100 feet or so farther up it is actually a small, gurgling creek with decent flow. Going on up the hill, the manzanita has been burned out, so the route is now navigable.

ImageIMG_0025 by zippetydude, on Flickr

There are many "smoulder pits" where a fallen tree continued to smoulder until even its stump was turned to ash, then the winter washed even that away. It looks like the tree just evaporated! Note the hole in the foreground and the blank line leading away. In the second picture you can see the top of the log where it did not burn.

ImageIMG_0024 by zippetydude, on Flickr

ImageIMG_0023 by zippetydude, on Flickr

From way up on the ridge above Lodge pole, I zoomed in to see the damage to the west of Dry Lake.

ImageIMG_0029 by zippetydude, on Flickr

That's a fairly clear picture of what I observed. I ended up going xc from the ridge above Lodge Pole over to the ridge that has the Fish Creek Trail just as it comes together with Mineshaft Saddle. Fish Creek Trail is still closed so I did not explore eastward on that trail.

The entire east face of San G and all the area around Mineshaft suffered no burning whatsoever as far as I could see. The area appears to have been untouched. All in all, there was much more damage up the SF drainage and in the ravine going toward Dry Lake than I had expected, with near total burning. Everywhere else that I traveled it was only intermittent and many areas were untouched. Surprisingly, even the burned areas still come across (at least to me) as beautiful wilderness, just in a different form than before.

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Re: A Photo Tour of South Fork up to Dry Lake

Postby Ed » Sun Jul 23, 2017 12:37 pm

Thanks for the photos, Zip. I too hope that it turns into meadows, not brush. Not like Cuyamaca State Park, which burned in the October 2003 Cedar Fire. The park had what I considered to be the finest pine forest in Southern California. On a winter day you could believe that you were in the Pacific Northwest. Now it is an ocean on impenetrable brush. I don't know what the determining factors are. Perhaps the higher altitudes of the Lake Fire favor less brush.
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