JULY 31, 2013 – Sycamore Cyn & Overlook Trail

EcuDeb, BWidget and I took advantage of the continuing unseasonably cool summer weather to hike (lower) Sycamore Canyon and the Overlook Trail. It was just short of the Springs Fire’s 3 month anniversary. Our plan was to see the damage and recovery and to increase our Spinal Tap (GC14Y4) numbers. At 8:30am the Day Use Parking Lot was filling up rapidly. We still got the best space!
072813_01_parking
The campground wasn’t full. Fire damage must be keeping people away. We walked through to the Sycamore Canyon trailhead. Those are “Special Rules” taped to the yellow sign in the middle.
072813_02_gate
We remembered a previously found cache behind a suspicious bush. See the geotrail. At this early point in the hike we wanted to conserve energy for the long road ahead and mostly didn’t check the status of previously found caches.
072813_03_suspicious
The hike was mostly flat up to this point. Some areas were only partially burned. The large number of bikers thinned out as we progressed North. Sunshine made a very brief appearance at our northern most point. There wasn’t enough to cause problems even though I forgot sunblock and my sunglasses.
072813_04_half_burned
The burning was more thorough on the Backbone Trail (BBT) cutover. Despite the damage we managed to hide 5 new caches in the gaps created by recently archived ones. There were plenty of natural materials to work with to create effective hides. We took A LOT of consideration into the placements. They won’t be overgrown anytime soon and won’t be easily noticed by muggles.
072813_05_all_burned
It was especially foggy and cool on the Overlook Trail going South. In some places water was slowly dripping off the tip of burned branches. That had to be helpful for recovering ground cover.
072813_06_foggy
And I noticed that Laural Sumac is often the first plant to recover. Here’s one at the site of a disintegrated cache.
072813_06A_disintegrated
This very old cache was completely untouched by fire. Placement among rocks in a clearing saved it. Don’t have a cow. Deb covered it back with a rock.
072813_07_survivor
This cache was melted. Oddly, the “replacement log,” (dated after the fire) was melted into the lid. In any case the container cracked when I opened it so I replaced it with a mini-decon.
072813_08_melted
On our way back down to Sycamore Canyon we found this Altoids cache. As bad as it looks, the log was fine once we freed it from its melted baggie. We replaced the baggie.
072813_09_altoids
Only a few feet away from the Altoids tin, this cactus was undamaged.
072813_10_cactus
Farther down the trail we found this forlorn scorched bison tube cache on the ground. The log was a charred cylinder that crumbled to ash. We added a new log and reattached the wire to what was left of the bush.
072813_11_bison
The sun never broke through again. We descended back to the canyon, closer to the campground and the parking lot. Of course, that’s EcuaDeb & BWidget. I took the pictures so I’m not in them.
072813_12_bye
We hiked just under 12 miles in 7 hours, placed 5 new BBT caches, repaired/replaced more and reported to an owner that one of his was destroyed with no good place to hide a replacement. I logged 11 finds and 3 betas.

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2 Responses to JULY 31, 2013 – Sycamore Cyn & Overlook Trail

  1. Craig says:

    Sounds like you cover much of the same area that I did just a couple of weeks before the fire. I’m sure it was a totally different experience. I’m hoping to get back in the area soon to survey the fire’s impact and the beginning of the recovery.

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