It's unfortunate, but now may not be the best time to go backpacking in the Sierra Nevada. Diana Helmuth has this Perspective.
September is traditionally one of the best months to hike the Sierra Nevada, but when I watched the Creek Fire break out last week across the trail head I was scheduled to hike from, I am certain this will no longer be the case.
When I tried to rearrange my vacation to hike the glittering lakes of the Shasta-Trinity wilderness, or the granite slopes near Tahoe, my hopes were further dashed as the Forest Service did something it has never done before: close access to California’s back country. But still, I felt lucky to be thinking about recreating at all.
As a backpacker and hiker, my love for California goes beyond culture and politics. I love her backbone mountains, her meadows of furry grass, her smiling blue skies, her flowery breath, her cloudy hair.
For this love, I am happy to forego campfires, abandon my soda can alcohol stove, donate to firefighting efforts, and, yes, change my plans. You could feel every hiker in California cringe at the news that a “pyrotechnic device at a gender reveal party” ignited the Creek Fire. But this is a healthy reminder to all who go into California’s natural wonders — our state looks immortal, but she is not. She is at our mercy.