All night long as we tried to sleep we heard helicopters flying low over our house in the pine filled forest.
The choppers were picking up water from nearby Big Bear Lake and fire retardant from the airport near our house to drop on the Lake Fire. The constant drone of the helicopters reminded us how close the wildfire really was to our home. As the house shook at two a.m.I felt like I was sleeping in a war zone.
As I drove home from work yesterday it was unbelievably hot in the mountains. The little alpine hamlet of Forest Falls was ninety six degrees as I drove by and it sits at over six thousand feet! That’s incredibly warm for mid June! As I drove higher into the pines and closer to home I noticed the wind was blowing something fierce, actually ripping my baseball cap off my head as I drove the mountain highways heading into town. Winds these strong are really weird for this time of year.
By early evening we could hear the sirens even if we couldn’t smell the smoke yet. Nearby Jenk’s Lake, where I had just taken the dogs on a walk the week prior, was on fire and ten or so camps in the area were in immediate danger. We were concerned but busy packing and planning for our vacation on Friday so we kind of put it to the back of our minds.
We heard the helicopters all night but figured working all night the fire would not be out of control in the morning.
I was sitting in the kitchen sipping my coffee this morning when I glanced into the back yard… and I could actually see thick black plooms of smoke in the backyard!
I grabbed my phone and logged onto The Ol Facebook, and was dismayed to see the fire had spread from five acres the night before to one hundred acres over night! Plus the winds were still blowing! Staring at the dark black clouds of smoke I was mesmerized. Our neighbor called. He told us to turn on the news and that’s when I realized that this fire was burning through my absolute favorite area of the San Gorgonio Wilderness! I just discovered my new favorite trail; Lost Creek Trail, earlier in the month and that is exactly where the fire is.
Lost Creek has probably burned and it breaks my heart.
All month I have been begging friends to come up here and hike Lost Creek with me. The alpine meadows remind me of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Everything was so lush and the creek followed the trail all the way up to the South Fork Trail that enters the San Gorgonio Wilderness and eventually ascends San G.
I’m so blessed that I got to explore Lost Creek in the last month and I will always hold those memories dear as it will be a good twenty years before these mountains look like this again.