July 16-19, 2012 - Jacks Gulch Campground, Poudre Canyon, CO
We left Loveland on Monday and headed up the Poudre Canyon where we were able to see the devastation from the High Park fire. It has been about 4 years since we were in the Poudre Canyon and it made us heartsick to see it burned. We camped at Jack’s Gulch, a Forest Service campground along the Pingree Park Road, our favorite campground when we were living in Ft. Collins. The High Park fire was stopped here at the Pingree Park Road, so the downhill side of the road was burned and the uphill side was not – what a contrast.
We were happy to find that Jack’s Gulch Campground had not been harmed by the fire but were dismayed at the amount of damage done to the trees by the pine bark beetle. Many of the dead trees had been removed and they have sprayed most of the remaining trees. The Forest Service has also planted hundreds of tiny trees, but it will take a long time for them to get big. We noticed a lot of large trees had fallen over and the campground hosts told us that they had a big wind storm earlier in the spring. The campground certainly does not look the same with so many trees gone. The temperature was a lot cooler here at about 7,000 feet elevation and we got a couple of nice rainstorms. In fact, on Monday after we had gotten set up we had quite a storm with rain and hail and mudslides shut down Highway 14 for a while. We enjoyed relaxing in the cool mountains and taking the dogs for long walks.
On Wednesday we drove to Granby where we stopped at Mt. Parks Electric, one of the rural electrical coops that Rex worked at. We were able to visit with a number of Rex’s former co-workers. Again, it has been about 4 years since we had been in this area and we were somewhat shocked at the pine beetle damage. The last time we were here we saw the number of trees that were dead or dying but now a lot of those trees have been removed greatly changing the scenery.
Thursday, we drove back to Ft. Collins to get the oil changed and engine checked on the Jeep. Everything looks good so we will head to Flaming Gorge in Utah tomorrow.