Part 1: A Little History
On January 29th I had reconstructive ankle surgery that took a lot out of me. I was in a cast for 6 weeks, which seemed like an eternity. After the cast came off, I had 8 weeks of physical therapy. I finally got the okay from my doctor to run and ride.
I have always been very active. I found rest and recuperation like being in prison!
Part 2: Riding for Fitness
I have a lot of bikes. Each bike has is different. My all-purpose bike is a Surly Cross-Check. My Surly is decent pavement bike that can handle rough dirt roads and easy trails.
For my mountainous neighborhood, the Surly is a perfect fun and fitness bike.
I made a few changes to the Surly including lower gearing, knobby tires, better brakes and more comfortable saddle.
Part 3: High Meadow
Yesterday, June 22nd, I jumped on my Surly and took off for a long ride. Since it was likely to be dark by the time I got back home, I put my headlight and tail light on the bike. I wanted to ride a few miles on pavement then hit the dirt.
I decided to ride the High Meadow area. Fourteen years ago, on June 12, 2000, a carelessly discarded cigarette started a forest fire on High Meadow that burned 10,800 acres. We had to evacuate. On the ridges above my house was a 170 feet wall of flame.
This is a photo of the High Meadow fire. This condition is known as a "crowned-out" and reaches temperatures of over 2,200 °F.
The fire flared-up so quickly that many residents had to evacuate between walls of flame. We had less than 15 minutes to pack-up and leave. I was sure I had seen the last of my house.
As luck would have it, the fire burned directly away from my house. I was let through the police road blocks to get back to my house during the day. My house would shake when the slurry bombers would fly over. These planes came in very low.
The pilots that fly these planes are brave and skilled.
Part 4: High Meadow is Beautiful and Quiet Now
During the last 14 years the burned trees have fallen down and enriched the soil. The burn area is now a rich grassland that is full of berry bushes and wild flowers. I like riding through High Meadow because it is so beautiful.
As I rode along High Meadow the sun was starting to set.
I stopped to take a drink of water. There are very few houses in the burn area. There was no sound and it was a little spooky. I noticed I was near an overgrown driveway. For no good reason, I walked my bike down the driveway to the houseless foundation.
This house used to belong to a nice young couple that were our friends. Where the far end burnt log now sits, we had many dinners together and shared great conversation.
In the setting sun, I could remember what the house looked like. The house was nearly new and the view was spectacular.
There was a forest here once. The burned trees fell over as the years went by. This area provides great grazing and browsing for deer and elk.
If you have a good eye, you can see the burn area on the other side of the valley, which is slightly to the right of my bike.
Our friends never came back. They lost two dogs and cat in the fire. They were not allowed past the police roadblock to get their animals. My wife talked with them afterward. There was just too much pain and they did not want to rebuild.
I got back on my bike and rode home. I am not going to stop by the sad foundation again. I should not have stopped in the first place. The view is so pretty though.
Thanks for reading my blog.