Although I had to work the holiday weekend we couldn't let the whole weekend pass in town. So as soon as my early Sunday shift was over we hopped in the Pathfinder (Tracey wasn't too keen on going in the Samurai without AC) and headed out for the Queen Valley area since it was close.
We started out in the Elephant Butte area but noticed smoke to the east, which brought to mind the ongoing managed fire in the Superstitions. It appeared to be southeast of the Roger's Trough TH along FR 650 so we thought we'd head up there to check it out. I had taken the FR172/650 loop at the end of July in he Samurai and although there were some rough spots and some very tight switchbacks I figured we would be ok with the Pathfinder. As it turned out we added a few more AZ pinstripes and gave the front cross-member a good scrape but nothing to worry about.
There wasn't much to see but smoke wafting up the ravines as we drove out on FR 172, but it wasn't long past Roger's Trough TH on FR 650 when we started through numerous burned out areas. Like the time I hiked East Mountain of Pinal Peak just after a fire a few years back, there definitely was beauty to be found in the aftermath. Within a few hundred yards of the point where the Arizona Trail crosses FR 650 was the only spot where we saw actual flames, although it wasn't much and it was burning very slowly, barely crawling along.
Now that I'm about to post the photoset I realize I spent so much time taking pictures of the scenery that I hardly have a shot of the fire itself. Of course part of that was because I was busy filming a video of the fire instead of taking stills.
A 45 second YouTube video of the fire can be viewed here:
After you check out this photoset you can compare it with the scenery just over a month before the fire here: