Hollyhocks Rule

How often are the consequences of the demise of something we love or enjoy looked into and considered in retrospect?  I would argue that today’s media rarely does this for us in their 24 hour cycle of feeding us out-of-context sound bytes.  Our local newspaper The Idaho Mountain Express performs retrospective reporting as does the New York Times on occasion, but in general this style of narrative is becoming a lost art.

Over the last two days I took a look at the implications of something lost in 2007.

In 2007 the Castle Rock fire torched almost 50,000 acres of what I consider my backyard and playground. Due to an extraordinary effort by the U.S. Forest Service, other agencies, local residents and a lot of luck most of the 1.1 million acres of National Forest and Wilderness surrounding my home were spared.  Not a single residence was lost, which seems unimaginable given the places reached by the fire.

Not spared from this fire are portions of the back side of Bald Mountain – the Crown Jewel of the region.  During the last two days I ventured into two spots – Timber Gulch and the Warm Springs Trail to take inventory. The amount of timber lost to the fire is significantly less than expected.  However, in many spots what was previously the residence of old-growth timber is now home to a wide variety of wild flowers.

One result is that the Hollyhock currently rules the day on certain portions of Baldy.  Below are pictures from my mountain bike ride of the Warm Springs and Broadway Saddle Trails.

The view of the South Wood River Valley from the junction of the Cold Springs Trail, Broadway Saddle Trail, and Warm Springs Trail (elev 8,400 feet)

 

Hollyhocks in late afternoon sun next to a blackened tree trunk.

 

Remnants of Old Growth provide the foundation for the present resident.

 

 

The Hollyhocks starting to reach their summer prime.

 

 

Delicate yet sturdy – the Hollyhock flower stays in bloom longer than most wildflowers.

 

Angling for some sun.

 

 

Standing tall at the start of the trails big ascent into Warm Springs.

 

Looking north and east from Warm Springs above Pam and Jerry’s house.

 

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