Cache Creek Ridge Trail post burn-
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    Jun 2011

    Cache Creek Ridge Trail post burn

    I rode the Cache Creek Ridge Trail from the Lynch Canyon trailhead on Tuesday to see how it fared in the Rocky fire. The Cache Creek Ridge trail goes from the Judge Davis (BLM) trailhead on hwy 20 between Clear Lake and Williams to the junction of Cache Creek and Bear Creek on state highway 16. The lynch canyon trailhead accesses the ridge trail after a big climb from the Roadkill valley named after an old poster in an old hunting cabin on these BLM lands.

    In general, the fire was more subdued in the Payne Ranch area since it was late in the fire's life. The burning is patchy with almost everyplace burned to some degree around the ridge and less as the fire moved east towards hwy 16 where it was halted. Most areas saw ground burning with some areas of brush unburned and others incinerated. My experience with other burned areas tells me that most of the oak trees will leaf out next spring but the gray pines are mostly dead.

    There were a few trees down on the trails but many more will follow over the next decade as dead tree's roots rot. In general, the fire was good for this land and flowers will run riot for 4 -5 years given good water.

    Unfortunately, the fire crews attempted to stop the fire on the ridge (and failed big time). For about 60% of its length, the trail is now a 30' firebreak of loose dirt. These fire roads had aged out to fine double track with many single track sections. It will be years before this trail is good riding again. I chose right in riding the fatboy because the 26'er would have bogged down in many places.

    The other fire roads in the area were also impacted with huge amounts of vehicle traffic. They should recover more quickly but will still be just fire roads for years. Some of the trails in the eastern part of the Payne ranch (closer to hwy 16) got less traffic and are in better shape.

    The Cache Creek Wilderness also burned in a patchy manner but the fire burned up northern slopes generally incinerating the brush and killing most of the trees. What a debut for the center piece of the new national monument!

    I gave up trying to embed the images below. They are, in order:

    1. A view from the ridge of the Cache Creek wilderness

    2. The ridge trail showing the complete destruction of a fine trail

    3. A view of typical conditions higher up on the east side of the ridge

    4. The first of the trees down across the turkey pond trail between the roadkill valley and the ridge trail.

    5. A view down into the valley from the Lynch canyon trail now graded and well used. I liked it better a bit eroded and rough.

    6. Life returns quickly when the manzanita crowns regrow.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Cache Creek Ridge Trail post burn-downed-tree.jpg  

    Cache Creek Ridge Trail post burn-ridge-trail.jpg  

    Cache Creek Ridge Trail post burn-cache-creek-wilderness.jpg  

    Cache Creek Ridge Trail post burn-life-endures.jpg  

    Cache Creek Ridge Trail post burn-roadkill-valley.jpg  

    Cache Creek Ridge Trail post burn-below-ridge.jpg  

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