The Coronado National Forest has been closed since the Horseshoe II fire started May 8. This fire was officially over this past week and is one of the five worst fires in Arizona history. I have been anxious, yet apprehensive about going up to the cabin.
Friday I was able to get a special permit from the Forest Service to go up and do clean up, etc. So Kerri, Cameron, Teresa and I drove up to Cave Creek today. The drive from Douglas looked much like it does every summer before the monsoons start up. One would never know that a horrific fire took place very near.
As we drove into the canyon, everything looked fine. The only noticeable difference is that we saw a lot of deer. Usually we don't see them until dusk. Two stood at the side of the road and looked at us. We had the pugs and I was expecting some barking. Maybe they sensed the sadness for their fellow animals trying to survive. We also wanted to be very careful with them up there as there could be animals other than deer who may not be as okay to see them!
Everything in the forest is extremely dry. Trees had dead leaves and there are a lot of fallen, dead leaves on the ground and absolutely NO water in the creek.
As we turned off on the South Fork road, I was really dreading what we would find. Once again, deer were there. And you could tell that there had been a fire. However, not like I thought it would look. I was in northern Arizona after the Rodeo-Chedeski fire and it was no where as bad as that. But it is so dry and I have never seen it as dry. As we continued on the road, you could tell there had been a fire, but would never know that it was such a horrible fire.
Approaching the cabin and going across the bridge, there was a huge pile of logs that had been cut right on our property. The cabin looked great, except for the incredible dryness. Across the road and up the mountain, it was obvious that there had been a fire. The fire went all the way up the mountain, but it didn't burn everything. My greatest concern will be what will happen when the rains come. We have been worried about the creek, but I think there is going to be some changes made when the water comes down the mountain across the road.
We stopped at the Portal Store. It was actually a bit busy, which is good. I wanted to give them some business. They have great lip gloss and candles made by a local artisan. I also found a beautiful pair of copper earrings with hummingbirds that I bought.
So now we are in a holding pattern waiting for the much-needed monsoons and what may happen then. I am just so grateful that the cabin was spared and that everything looks as though a little rain and mother nature will take care of the problems.
The Chiricahuas are one of the most beautiful spots on earth in my opinion. I love going up there. This cabin has been in our family for 50 years and the memories that I have of the many visits can never be erased by fire or water. I just want to continue to make memories on my favorite spot on earth--God willing!