Riding After the So Cal Fire Storm

Sunday we rode the Santiago Truck Trail, a week after the Fire Storm. We've seen some fire damage in the Santa Ana Mountains over the years. Nothing compares to this. The good news is that, because there is little development from east of Santiago Canyon Road all the way to Riverside County, relatively few people were in danger here. These fires are natural events. Some are set but the 70 mph desert winds plus dry vegetation will eventually burn naturally, it cannot be stopped during those conditions. For the areas where development is allowed in the canyons, results have been devastating. There are no easy answers for high population areas but to be sure, without the fire crews, many more people would be homeless or worse. Their knowledge, skills and dedication keep us safe in the worst conditions.

In Orange County we are fortunate to have the Cleveland National Forest and other areas set aside as wild. They buffer us from the dangers of our arid environment. When I moved here from the northeast it took me years to get comfortable with the sparse plant life. Eventually one comes to appreciate every small Live Oak, sage and cactus, as survivors. Now lots of it is gone and damage from erosion will change the landscape even more. New growth will start the process of natural repair. That's the amazing part, a pretty good reason for getting up off the couch to go have a look in the spring.

Sports like hunting, cross country skiing, birding, hiking and mountain biking have their challenges. They put us outdoors in ways that humans have been for the longest part of our time here on earth. Look at Ansel Adams work, read John Muir, Teddy Roosevelt, Robert Frost. The stimulation you feel should be the beginning of something. Experiencing nature first hand is what those people were all about. Don't let some newscaster try to scare the heck out of you repeating the same clips of fire and destruction in our world. Find the accessible areas near you, walk through them, immerse yourself in them. Sports are balance, cunning, reliance, movement, endurance, and more. These things are standard equipment for human beings, they deserve way more than a test drive around the block now and then.

Read about the Santa Ana Mountains:
Vogel and Kuechlin; Mountain Biking Orange County, http://www.mountainbikebill.com/black_star_silverado_loop.htm

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