Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Sheep Mountain

Burned trees, Sheep Mountain.

It's the end of November, and I've barely even picked up my camera this month.  Between the ongoing demands of teaching (1.5 more weeks until the end of the semester!) and a couple of photo shows, I just haven't had time.  I did get out on the Friday after Thanksgiving to hike up Sheep Mountain, west of Laramie, through part of last summer's Squirrel Creek Fire.  These images aren't fine art, but it was interesting to see the burned landscape and disturbing to be up high in late November with no snow and warm temperatures.  

The hike, from the south end of the mountain, crosses very open foothills of low grass and a few shrubs before finally climbing up to the forested summit ridge.  The Squirrel Creek fire burned across terrain that doesn't look like it could carry fire, but widely scattered shrubs were all burned, and patches of trees, isolated from one another, were also torched.  Burned aspen groves are full of new sprouts, but otherwise it's a sterile-looking landscape in the burn, and with the current drought, it will be hard for new trees to establish.  I look forward to hiking up there again in the spring to see what's growing.

Sheep Mountain foothills.

Widely scattered burned trees.

Just below the summit ridge.

Below the summit ridge--thicker trees.

Aspen sprouts, some already browsed (by deer?).

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