Gene's Choice monument
Looking down my backdoor route into the Caldera.
"I Don't Care" ski run. This is why the deer and elk like burned areas - fresh green grass.
Looking down from the top of "I Don't Care".
Panorama view from the top of "I Don't Care", taking in Chicoma and Caballo on the right.
Cerro del Media and Cerros del Abrigo (with the old logging roads) behind it on the left of this photo from the top of "I Don't Care". Both appear to be severely burned on 60-70%.
Looking down at Valle de los Posos (right foreground) and Valle Toledo (left, behind).
Caballo and the slope above Camp May from the top of "Precious".
Cerro Grande from the top of Pajarito Mtn.
Valle Grande on the right.
Rabbit Mtn from the top of Pajarito.
The south side of Pajarito Mtn is severely burned - the trees probably won't survive. New grass is sprouting where the tufty grass was before.
However, where it was just pine needles under the trees before, the ground is bare and already beginning to erode.
Happily, the beautiful stand of aspens in the saddle between Pajarito Mtn and Cerro Grande survived.
...but I don't know how this one did it! The trunk is nearly burned through, with only a small strip of bark keeping the foliage alive!
Someone did a lot of work with a chainsaw on the north side of Cerro Grande last spring. This is where the JMTR 50 miler comes down.
The ground on around the north Cerro Grande trail is severely burned, and is already eroding heavily (see the trail in the middle of the photo?)
The reservoir in the Valle Grande that the JMTR 50 passes by. Note the black drainage across the green meadow - runoff from the burned slopes above.
Cerro del Medio
Nearing the top of Cerro Grande.
More fine chainsaw work on the JMTR 50 course. Someone should give a medal to whoever did this work.
Summit of Cerro Grande, looking NW.
Summit of Cerro Grande, looking SW.
Mixed burn along the trail on the south side of Cerro Grande.
Aerial reseeding operations have already begun.
The climb from the Valle Grande to the saddle below Cerro Grande on the JMTR 50 course is very heavily burned.
...and VERY slippery! I spent a lot of time on my butt.
Some green around the boulder field on the JMTR 50 course.
This is where we left the boulder field in the JMTR 50.
This used to be the thicket where we entered the boulder field in the JMTR 50.
Mixed burn along the forest margin of the slopes below Cerro Grande and Pajarito Mtn, but severe burn on the slopes above.
This is one of those black streaks across the green meadow, from ash-laden runoff from the slopes above.
Looking toward Cerro del Medio. The Valle Grande aid station in the JMTR 50 is sited just left of center.
The backside of Pajarito Mtn.
The elk love the new green grass!
This was one of my favorite spots in the VC - a green meadow filled with large, mature Ponderosa Pines, below the saddle between Pajarito and Cerro Grande. Looks like only a few of these large trees will survive.
Looking up my backdoor route to Camp May. This is easy to find if you're looking straight up it, but nearly invisible if you're a hundred meters out of line.
This tufty grass used to be really hard to run through. It's a lot easier now that this is all that's left of the tufts.
The backdoor route to Camp May - still one spot of green on it.
...but otherwise it's pretty badly burned.
Someday, it will come back - it's already started, in fact.
Meanwhile, erosion will be a severe problem.
The fenceline along "Gene's Choice".
Gene's Choice memorial, again.
Along "Gene's Choice".
Looking down "I Don't Care".
Looking down "One More Time".
Looking down "Why Not?"
The unburned parts are still very beautiful!
Townsite, from the road.
The small reservoir between Pajarito and Cerro del Medio.
This used to be full of frogs. No more. They'll come back tho'.
This is the road the JMTR 50 miler runs down.
Erosion will be a problem - this will runoff crossing will probably cut across the road (in the center of this photo) in a few more weeks.
The lower part of the climb to the Jumpoff on Cerro del Medio is heavily burned.
... but not all of it. This patch of aspens still lives about halfway up.
The slope below the road around Cerro del Medio is heavily burned most of the way around.
Looking NW toward Valle Toledo. Note that the far slopes on the north side of the Caldera are burned from this fire.
Cerros del Abrigo
Looking SW toward the Valles Caldera headquarters. Note that the far mountains (on the south side of the caldera) are burned. This is near where the fire started. It propagated all the way around the rim of the caldera to the location a few photos back - a distance of nearly 30 miles! I hadn't quite appreciated how extensive this fire was until I stood on this mountain, looking at burned areas on the far horizons in opposite directions!
The summit meadow on Cerro del Medio burned, but is green again now. Some trees are still alive.
The old mtn bike trail out of the summit meadow to the SE is heavily burned, and will soon disappear.
Standing trees that burned in the Cerro Grande fire, 11 years ago. This meadow did not burn this time.
The trail to the west into the canyon below will soon be gone.
Nothing to hold the runoff back here.
Tough to run across this stuff.
The canyon bottom is already being choked by runoff from the burned slopes above.
This used to be a smooth, green meadow filled with wildflowers.
This small reservoir has already been breached on the left side.
Following the old elk trail out of the canyon.
At last - some green aspens!
Hallelujah! One of my favorite spots in the Valles Caldera survived! A bit worse for the wear, but it will all come back next year!
The trail over the saddle to the old line camp is not going to make it.
The old Line Camp. This is relatively unburned - just spots on the ground.
Looking up at the backdoor route to Camp May.
Pajarito Mtn and Cerro Grande.
Looking right up the gunsight to Camp May.
The grass burned across much of this meadow, but not badly, and it has come right back already.
Even the delicate things are returning.
This old, downed log didn't make it.
Cerro Rubio. The JMTR 50 goes through the trees in the foreground.
The Caldera Aid Station for the JMTR 50 is just around the corner.
Looking back at Cerro del Medio. The Jumpoff is on the point to the right.
Much easier to run across this meadow, now that the tufts of grass have burned flat.