Saturday, June 19, 2010
I took the photo shown at the top of this site last September while on a weekend trip with my friends at Eklutna Lake. We'd biked the 12 miles to Serenity Cabin on Friday, then spent Saturday hiking. We enjoyed lunch next to the small pond, soaking up the sun before returning to the cabin. We could have stayed there all day...
A few days before I left on my trip, the weekend of Memorial Day, a fire started near the East Fork of the Eklutna River. Friends who were there said their son spotted smoke in the distance just as they were about to make camp. Instead of pitching their tents, the teenager pedaled back to the trailhead to report the small fire while the parents made a slower return trip, warning other campers and trail users as they evacuated.
I was thinking about the fire during my trip. After a few days, there were no updates to online reports that said over 1,300 acres had burned. The latest I'd heard, the cabin where we stay each year was still okay, spared by a shift in wind direction. I'm not sure whether the trees in the photo are still living or if they have gone up in flames. It will be sad to see this little corner of the park charred to a crisp. I still haven't heard what caused the fire, which, according to the most recent data, burned about 1,850 acres. This map shows what was burned as of June 4.
I wonder about the long-term effects the fire will have on the popular recreation area and on the creatures that live in the forest. I wonder about our drinking water: Eklutna Lake, fed by ever-receding Eklutna Glacier and other streams, is the water source for much of the Municipality of Anchorage.
I wonder what our annual fall trip to the Serenity Cabin will look like this September. I do know that there will be rebirth; there will be new growth. These things just take a long time.