Did this hike Tuesday to check on the fall colors. Since no one has posted a trip report recently, thought I would give one. Many of you know that late this summer, the lightning-caused Tanner fire burned about 2,000 acres in the western Sierra Anchas. So we were anxious to see how extensive the damage was.
We were happy to find that the Reynolds Creek road (FR410) and Trail, the Workman Creek Road (FR 487) and the Murphy Ranch trail beyond, and the Parker Creek Trail were COMPLETELY untouched and unaffected.
The fire crossed Highway 288 but did not seem to get much farther east - thus the beautiful areas mentioned above were not touched. The first campground that you come to (going north) on the west side of the road after you pass the Parker Creek trailhead is where you will see the most damage. That campground was burned through, but the campsites and restroom are still there and usable (in fact there were several campers using this area). It is in this area where the damage extends to the eastern side of 288. It may be that the fire burned mainly the ground cover and may not have produced a large tree kill - I'm not a fire expert or a biologist so I can't say with any certainty. If that is the case, it was nothing more than a "managed burn" in this area.
I suspect that the Hell's Hole Trail did not get off as easily, although we did not check that out. That is very close to where the fire started and burned for some time. I have posted a picture set that includes a photo of the fire when it was burning.
In regard to the Reynolds Creek Trail, the fall colors are about at their peak. They are not as intense or extensive as they were last year, probably due to the low precipitation and lingering warm temperatures. But the colors were still beautiful and worth the trip. The creek was hardly flowing and the small waterfall that you pass on the hike to the trail junction where the loop part starts, was just a very small trickle.
We passed through three areas that had VERY strong wild animal smells
, but did not experience any sightings. We saw no droppings, but we did notice that all the berry bushes along the trail had been stripped of their berries. Now, what would have done that?
A storm cell threatened for a short time, causing us to don our rain gear, something we have seldom done over the last 3 to 4 years on our weekly Tuesday hikes. But we stowed them again after about 15 minutes. The storm produced a glistening forest and some beautiful skies. All-in-all a great day.