The top of the world


August 30, 2021

I had every intention today of sharing my new photo gallery from my trip to the North Cascades.  I've been working on editing photos and videos from the trip over the last couple of weeks since I've been back and was looking forward to sharing them with you today.  That all changed this weekend.

This weekend I witnessed the Caldor Fire rip through the El Dorado National Forest, taking with it some of my most favorite hiking places, memories, and several of my "go-to" trails within a day's drive from where I live.  To say it's been devasting is, to put it mildly.  The El Dorado National Forest is where I grew up.  It's where most of Desolation Wilderness lies, a wilderness area I know like the back of my hand.  It's where Sierra At Tahoe Ski Resort is, the hill I learned to ski on and was looking forward to returning to this winter...  Instead I watched on webcams last night as fires ascended its slopes.  

While I have many memories of these areas, and they feel like home to me, they are not my home. My heart goes out to all the people and wildlife that are being displaced by the fire.  The immense loss the Caldor Fire has created for them is even tougher to swallow.  Sure the forests will grow back, mother nature will start again, and the homes can be rebuilt, but regardless the immediate loss to the area will be felt for many, many years to come.

If you want to help out, here are some websites with information on donations and other ways to help these local areas.   

-The El Dorado Community Foundation: Donate Here

-The American Red Cross of Northern California:  Donate Here

-The Salvation Army:  Donate Here

-Verified Go FundMe Fundraisers Donate Here

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To get an idea of just how devasting this fire is to our forests, here are some photos I've taken throughout the years from within the El Dorado National Forest, Lake Tahoe, and Desolation Wilderness.  These areas have either already burned or are at risk of burning within the next few days. 

Upper and Lower Echo Lakes

As of the afternoon of 8/30/21, the forests on the south side of the lake appear to be burning.  Berkeley Fire Crews are fighting to save the cabins on Lower Echo Lake by pumping water from boats onto the structures.

Silver Lake

As of this afternoon the fire sits to the north (left side)  of this photo on the north side of Hwy 88


Showers Lake

Showers Lake sits just south of Echo Summit on the Pacific Crest Trail.  Currently, the fire is burning at Echo Summit less than 5 miles to the north.

Sayles Canyon Trail

This area is no more.  The view of Pyramid Peak will still exist but the forests you see in the foreground burned in last night's march up Sierra at Tahoe Ski Resort

The Pacific Crest Trail

This area of the Pacific Crest Trail just south of Echo Summit has some of the best wildflower displays in the area.  This section of Tahoe currently sits 4 miles south of the fire.   

Dardanelles Lake

Dardanelles Lake, home to many memorable backpacking and day hiking trips could be gone if the fire spreads through the areas between Luther Pass and Echo Summit.  Dardanelles Lake is one of the spots I regularly would take backpackers on their first backpacking trip and was a favorite of mine for early winter hikes.  Let's hope it makes it through this safely.   

Big Meadow

Big Meadow, a beautiful stop along the Tahoe Rim Trail, and another spot with some great hiking memories could be gone if the fire spreads to Luther Pass from Echo Summit.

Silverfork and the Caples Creek Areas

One of my favorite early season backpacking areas and the only area I have ever been backpacking with my Dad most likely has been burned.  The only thing that could save this area is a fire that burned through here a couple of years ago that decreased fuel and, in turn, slowed down the advance of the Caldor Fire.  Let's hope this bridge and the surrounding forest are still standing.   

A Winter Sunset over the Sierras

South Lake Tahoe and the Sierra Tract

When my brother lived in South Lake Tahoe, this great view of Mt. Tallac and the Sierra Crest was just a short walk from his house.   As of today, this entire area is evacuated due to the Caldor Fire.   

A big thank you to the firefighters and their personnel for their support and protection!