i chose the reef townsite campground for a nearby getaway trip for my birthday. i only had one friend that could come with me, but truthfully, i would've gone by myself. there was no one else at the campground, but there were a couple of families up at the ramsey vista campground. after we set up camp, we went up there to take a gander, and saw that the santa fe hotshots were doing some clearing near the ramsey vista campground. they weren't hard to look at - not at all.
when we drove back down, i convinced my friend to do the little loop trail with me, which he referred to as the three-quarter-mile death march. no - he's not much of a hiker. it was a pleasant walk in the woods to me.
after we got back, it started to rain (and the hotshots pulled out). we had a nice 30-minute downpour in the afternoon. we had plenty of adult beverages, and we had taken over the ramada at the group campsite, so we didn't get wet at all. after the storm passed, we had a flyby visitor, who we couldn't identify (white with a blue stripe - anyone? definitely not the border patrol green). a helicoptor passed over us a few times, just at the treetops. they were obviously looking for something, since they were flying over the entire area just that low. we thought that there would be ground reinforcements, but we didn't see any other vehicles go up at that time.
we walked up to the sunset vista spot about a half hour before it started to get really pretty. but isn't that the way it always go. after taking about 50 shots, we decided to head back down to our cozy ramada for dinner.
that night the monsoon deluge - complete with a light and thunder show - lasted about three hours. it was definitely coming down! so much that in the morning, we were waiting until a vehicle made it up so we'd know that it was safe to go down. it turned out that over the night, the road had washed out just down from the campground entrance. not impassable by my jeep, though.
as for the fire damage... it appeared as though the fire burned quite low through the campground, as the bigger pine trees still have green on their upper limbs, even with their scarred trunks. most of the manzanita are skeletons, but still very pretty in white. it was this manzanita that the hotshots were clearing at the higher campground. there are quite a few new facilities in the area - new bathrooms, of course, but we also noticed that one of the grills at the group site hadn't ever been used. i'd stay here again in a new york minute.
it was very difficult for me to be so close to carr peak and not do that hike, but my camping partner would have nothing of it. next time...