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Saturday, June 19, 2010

Sunset Fire Road

The Sunset Fire Road was closed to hikers after last autumn's Station Fire, which killed two firefighters and burned 251 square miles of forest. Not to be confused with the Sunset Trail, which remains off limits, the Sunset Fire Road is open again.

In Altadena, turn north off of Loma Alta Road at the flashing yellow light, onto Chaney Trail. Drive uphill until you reach the chain link fence. Park there. (Make sure your car displays an Adventure Pass--you can get one in the post office section at Webster's.) Then walk and enjoy. I think those firefighters would want you to.

Be sure you're back out on Loma Alta Road by 8pm, by the way. The Fire Road is open, but not around the clock. My friends and I almost didn't make it the other evening before the gates were locked. I might have been able to climb the fence but I'd have had to leave the car overnight and Boz would have had to camp out.

The mountains in the photo were once forested with trees resembling the survivors in the foreground. Last fall, after the fire, miles of mountains were covered with gray ash. It'll be years before a forest covers them again, but at least now they're colored a hopeful green.

I posted about the Sunset Fire Road once before, about two years ago. That, too, was in the aftermath of a fire. It strikes me that no matter what befalls it, this is compelling terrain.

23 comments:

Mister Earl said...

An "Adventure Pass"? That's a new one. Do I need one of those to go to a jazz club? A back-yard bar-b-que?

I love this photo. It looks like an old post card!

Petrea said...

Thanks, Mister Earl.

Since the National Forest doesn't have ticket booths, The Adventure Pass is a way for the Forest Service to charge a fee for use. Each car parked on Angeles National Forest lands is supposed to display one.

Our national forests are hurting financially, I'm happy to pay it, just like I'd pay an entrance fee to use Yellowstone. You can get a one-day pass for $5 and a one-year pass for $30. I use it a lot so the one-year pass is a bargain for me.

altadenahiker said...

If you get locked in, I live close by. You can all sleep on my floor.

Bellis said...

The valley on that mountain in the background looks as though it's been braided, doesn't it?

Rosie said...

I (heart) your blog

Denise said...

It certainly is compelling terrain, and I would love to walk that path. Your photo is lovely.

An English Girl Rambles

Petrea said...

Hiker, I'll hand Boz over the fence to you.

It does look braided, Bellis, or dovetailed. It must have been a sight during the spring floods, to see all that water coming down.

Rosie, wow. Thank you.

Hi Denise, welcome! Come visit!

Katie said...

Stunner of a photo. Good to see the area slowly regenerating and I like your term "hopeful green". I would definitely like to hike here, although the thought of getting locked in is scary enough to want to do a morning-only hike.

Laurie said...

HOpeful green, indeed!

This is a wonderful shot.

TheChieftess said...

a bittersweet story and photo...so sad to see the level of destruction, yet still majestic...

Greg Sweet said...

Blogger Greg Sweet said...

There's a lot of dirt on that road that needs to be scraped. Too bad your thirty bucks will go towards a shiny new supervisor's office, and not to a road contractor.

I know, this is not the forum for that, but I don't want you to be fooled into thinking that your money pay for anything that benefits you. Several audits have been done in the ten year history of that (Southern California only) program and they have determined that Mob money is more easily traced.

Steve Scauzillo said...

Love this canyon. A few weeks ago we walked El Prieto Canyon and saw all the new wildflowers that came up as a result of the fire. Gorgeous. Thanks for posting.

Steve Scauzillo
http://www.templecitydailyphoto.blogspot.com

Petrea said...

Thanks, everyone. And Greg, your comments are welcome. I'm not going to argue with you because you're much more informed on the subject and for all I know, you're right.

To read more, check out Greg's blog, "The San Gabriel Mountains." Just click on his name.

Steve, I was hiking with Bellis and Karin (aka Altadena Hiker) and Bellis had a plant book. One purple flower flummoxed us; we couldn't find it in the book. But it's identified in the June Altadena Heritage Newsletter as Phacelia grandiflora, a fire follower.

Bellis said...

Glad you found out what it was, Petrea. No wonder I couldn't find it in my hefty "Audubon Society Field Guide to Wildflowers of the Western Region." It's not in. Can anyone recommend a good wildflower book for the San Gabriels? I have a CD with lots of photos on it, but I can't take that with me on a hike.

Greg Sweet said...

Bellis: The Audubon Guide, the one with the yellow cover, is the "go to" book. If the CD you have is that of Cliff & Gabi McLean, Plants of the San Gabriel Mountains, then you have the only two resources you need. There are waterproof papers available (marketed for printing maps) that you could use to print the photos & info from the CD. REI has National Geographic brand 8.5" X 11" waterproof, foldable map paper. Other than that, you'd have to lug a Jepson Manual and a jeweler's loupe.

TheChieftess said...

Bellis...Native Shrubs of Southern California, Native Trees, by Peter Raven...illustrations by my grandfather, Eugene O. Murman!!! (although they might be out of print)

Amy said...

Compelling and resilient. I'm glad that it is.

Ms M said...

the light is wonderful in this photo. The landscape is indeed compelling. And glad the green is coming back after last year's fire. Always makes a person feel hopeful to see rebirth.

Petrea said...

The rebirth is hopeful. Fire is supposed to happen, and when we suppress it (as we do) we eventually have fires of whopping magnitude. So we lose hundreds of miles of forest instead of a few hundred acres.

Bellis, it was a lovely coincidence to read that newsletter, and there it was!

-K- said...

This is really a classic photo of California.

Bellis said...

Greg, thanks for the tips. I do have the McLean's CD, but I never thought of printing it out, what a great idea. Chieftess, wow! I'm blown away. Your grandfather was a botanical illustrator? Illustrations are a better guide for IDing a plant than photos. I've found the book on Amazon and will buy it. Thanks!

Dina said...

The mountains are beautiful in their own barren way.

Interesting about that Adventure Pass.
Glad y'all got out in time.

Petrea said...

K: I love our scrubby landscape.

Bellis: you'll be even more impressed when you see the illustrations.

Dina: The gate's at the bottom of the hill. Two things kept me from barreling down at high speed: 1) it's a winding road and you can't see around the turns, and 2) Boz didn't have a seat belt on.