Friday, March 2. The acacia and plum were in full bloom at Bottcher's Gap. And Larry, the campground host, warned me the trail to VDC had problems.
Friday, March 2. The trek up Skinner Ridge from the Bottcher's Gap trailhead passes mainly through oak and madrone forest.
Nearing the top of Skinner Ridge, I saw the first of many trees burned by the Basin Fire.
Shaffer's viewpoint on the top of Skinner Ridge. Better views today than in 2006.
The old sign at the Turner Creek Saddle is still there.
Past Devil's Peak now, with the first Ponderosa pines ahead. They are on the ridge beyond Pine Creek.
The Comings Camp junction. All the signs were here in 2006, but only the 1E2/2E3 sign was on this post.
Cold and windy tonight at Comings Camp. I had my first backcountry fire since 2009.
Saturday, March 3. Comings Camp. The Basin Fire cleaned out some of the small madrones and pines, but the larger trees seemed fine.
Comings Camp. The table top was on the ground in 2006.
The Comings Camp cistern. Dubious water. Good water was in the creek 200 feet ahead.
After a late start -- I couldn't find my keys -- I dayhiked down the Pine Creek Trail. This flat under madrones just as the trail reaches Pine Creek might make a nice campsite.
Pine creek burbled over the moss-covered rocks.
The "official" Pine Creek Camp was flat, had a fire ring, but felt gloomy and dank on this March morning. I went about 1/2 mile farther (part way up Ponciano Ridge) before turning around and heading back the way I came.
Ribes amarum. Bitter gooseberry. Up the ridge, about 1/2 mile north of Pine Creek Camp.
Climbing back to the ridge now. Sometimes the trail was wide open on a broad old road cut. Some times it was less defined (but still easily enough followed), with lots of loose leaf duff
Back up on the ridge. Really nice high meadows up here.
Nemophila menziesii. Those meadows had lots of Baby Blue Eyes tucked in the grass.
The pines ahead above Pat Springs showed some, but not a lot, of damage.
Big Pines, on the other hand, was wiped out. This is the trail junction.