Hikers Experience Regrowth In Charred Area

Central Oregon Nordic Club hikers got a chance to see early regrowth of the forest in a portion of the area burned by the massive 2012 Pole Creek fire.

A large group followed Snow Creek on Sunday, Aug. 5. They started from the Park Meadow trailhead, although they did not get into the designated wilderness area. They walked through burned-out forest, but hikers also report spectacular views and lots of wildflowers and other vegetation that are making a comeback.

Hiker Tom Iverson says that the outing covered nine miles with 1,245 feet of elevation gain.

“We got the chance to study several stages of post-forest-fire recovery and climbed to some great views on an unplanned detour,” Thom says. “Finally found the Snow Creek trail and hiked up to a nice spot on Snow Creek, where the old canal started, for lunch.

“The burned areas made the day hotter and dustier, but opened up some spectacular views, although…a smoky haze moved in to only allow a hint of what the views would be on a clear day.  Now that we know what the Snow Creek trail fork looks like, post-forest-fire apocalypse, we shall return at a later date to get up further to the meadows.”

The canal reached by the group once supplied water from Snow Creek to the eastern side of the Cascades, reports hiker Al Matson.

“The Pole Creek burn is revegetating with grasses, lupine, fireweed and monkeyflowers among other wildflowers,” Al adds.

Hiker Larry Weinberg describes “quite pleasant weather,” especially early in the day.

“The afternoon started to get warm and walking through burn areas doesn’t make it any cooler,” he says. “The area burned by the Pole Creek fire a few years ago is starting to see some regrowth and the flowers were quite lovely — lots of fireweed, monkey flower and paintbrush, as well as asters.”

(Photos to left and immediately below by Larry Weinberg)

Photos below left by Molly Connors, right by Al Matson

Photos below by Thom Iverson

Photos below by Janet Matson

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