this past weekend, we decided to take our friend, seth, and his son, oliver, on their first camping trip. we figured we’d start out easy and do an overnight camp in angeles crest forest to keep the drive short and stay close to home while getting a good taste of nature. the thing is, after last year’s devastating station fire, i wasn’t sure what we’d be in for. the 2 highway is still closed on the lower parts of the mountain, so we took the less-traveled [by us anyway] big tujunga road.
in the low lands there were lots of barren exposed hillsides, followed by scorched trees flocked with new greenery that has come in with the rain in the past year. other areas had trees that were blackened on the lower half and green on the top. then you’d suddenly see a border of black on green, crossing over to where the forest was untouched.
a familiar spot where big tujunga merges with the 2 was surrounded by these bare, black branches. i am not even certain what kind of tree this was, but this type of burn is common in the chapparal of angeles crest. in chilao’s manzanita loop, where we stayed, they used the road through the campground as a firebreak, burned on the outside and in tact on the inside. what a close call.
what is encouraging is that there are a few rehabilitation projects in the works. some botanist volunteers have organized to remove scattering seeds of undesirable plants that would otherwise take over in the cleared environment. additionally, treepeople.org is putting together a volunteer replanting and rehabilitation program for spring of 2011. hopefully we can get it back on the right path.
[image: seth sherwood]
on the other hand, camping itself was really fun! i was taken camping in all kinds of terrain since i was a child and i always enjoyed setting up camp, cooking over the fire and exploring nature. oliver was all set with his binoculars, bug observation box, head lamp, and awesome attitude, and his dad was ready with the camera. we took him scrambling over the rocks, romping through the weeds after lizards and grasshoppers, showed him how to set up the tent, how to collect kindling to build a campfire, and all the finer points of marshmallow roasting. he was a great camper, he said hi to other kids we’d pass in the campground, had no problem sleeping in the tent, and was up early and ready for more the next day. on the way home he said “i love camping! can we go, um, 100 more times!?” we’ll try, little buddy!