Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Cañada Bonita

The Las Conchas Fire in 2011 reached the ski hill above Los Alamos and came close to one of my favorite trails, the Cañada Bonita Trail, which goes from the ski area to the Cañada Bonita meadow and thence to the Valle Grande to the west or to Guaje Ridge and Guaje Canyon to the north. I take the gentle hike through the forest to the meadow and then return to the ski area. (See also a previous post about the wildflowers along the trail.) But after the fire, I didn't go up there for fear of what I'd see.

Thursday I took Frankey up for a walk to see what the fire had done and to play with my new camera, which I'm still getting used to. The trailhead still looks pretty normal.

The middle third of the trail to the meadow, however, shows the effects of the fire. Although the aspens and mixed conifers were burned, the aspens, grasses, and wildflowers are returning in abundance.

In some places the grasses and weeds almost covered the trail. The wildflowers were growning in profusion on the slopes.

The forest used to be so thick that I don't recall ever noticing these rocks.


The final third of the trail to the meadow looks much as it used to.


And Cañada Bonita was gorgeous, as usual.

Here are some flowers and berries we saw along the trail.

Baneberry. Do not eat them unless you enjoy the feel of battery acid or hellfire.

 Horsemint is common.

Paintbrushes tell me that summer is almost over.

The wild raspberries are getting ripe. Frankey ate one.


RetroMag said...

Nice photos. Thanksfor sharing your hike.

Poss said...

"I take the gentle hike throw the forest to the meadow and then return to the ski area" You must be really tired after that throwing meadows!

Poss said...

really nice photos. Thanks

P-Doobie said...

Fixed the typo! Thanks!

Shoe said...

Lovely! I remind myself often: fire is good for the forest....fire is good for the forest...

I, too, found unexpected pleasure in being able to see the geology better around Burnt Mountain after Cerro Gramde.

Nice hike. :-)

Jonathan said...


My name is Jonathan and I am the new Director of Interpretation at the Pajarito Environmental Education Center in Los Alamos. We are designing exhibits for the new Los Alamos Nature Center and I was curious if we could use one of your photos in an exhibit.

If you are interested, please contact me at programs@peecnature.org or 505-662-0460. Email is probably the best way to reach me because I am in and out of the office.

I am looking forward to hearing back from you!

Thanks again,