On vacation this week and went for a five hour mountain bike ride this morning. It was tremendous and perhaps most memorable because almost two years ago a wildland fire tore through 45,000 acres, consuming most of the landscape that I rode today. Many of the valley’s residents were displaced or forced to evacuate. This took place during the height of summer tourist season. It nearly devastated Sun Valley’s Bald Mountain Ski Area and continues to have a negative financial impact on local businesses. But there is a remarkable side to the story. It opened new skiing options since the fire completely incinerated all the trees and vegetation, leaving just charred trunks. The trails I rode today are in their second summer of regeneration. Flowers and new plants have filled the forest floor and mountainside.
I came across the vista (pictured below) from the trail to give an updated perspective. It has completely changed the experience of mountain biking on Baldy. You can see miles ahead and have new views that were previously hidden by the lodge pole pine trees.