On a Guided Hike (12/30/2015)

While the Cold Canyon trails are closed, the reserve is offering guided hikes to the public (current list of hikes).  I participated in a hike at the end of December, led by Jeffrey Clary, Stebbins Cold Canyon Reserve Manager.  We walked along the canyon trail, discussing the plants that were started to regrow, and how the site is faring five months after the fire.

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Interestingly, there is less regrowth at this point than might be expected, with the hillsides still quite bare, with many fewer seed regenerating plants than after similar fires.  That is not to say that there is no regrowth yet, though, and hikers found plenty of interesting plants along the trail, growing from seeds, bulbs, and resprouting from stumps.

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We also observed other effects of the fire, including many new rock faces, created when the water inside the boulders caused them to explode in the heat of the fire.

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The Closed Trailhead (9/11/2015)

Due to extensive damage to the trails and the overall sensitivity of surviving plants and wildlife at the reserve, the Cold Canyon trails are closed until at least spring 2016.  In September, I visited the reserve’s closed trailhead, to take a look at the landscape and to document the trail closure.  Looking through the chain-link fence, I could see charred ground and skeletal trunks of trees and shrubs, but noted that the signpost was left unscathed.

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