Waldo Canyon Fire

It's the inescapable news. A large fire is now burning in the Rampart Range, just between Colorado Springs and Ute Pass. I learned of the fire while at Curt Gowdy St park in Wyoming for the Xterra - yay Twitter(?) and followed the progress between pre-riding and racing. (And probably burning my data plan to shreds). Too close to home, and we aren't near the evacuation zones. It's one thing to read in the paper about all the fires near Ft Collins and another to have one right against the city limits.

And this is really close to home. As a little girl, hiking Waldo Canyon was a Thanksgiving tradition. After putting the turkey in the oven, time to hit the trails. We'd come home after a fun hike to a house that smelled yummy. Even after that tradition faded, I still went to Waldo Canyon to run and do hill repeats. This morning, it sounded like the fire had reached Rampart Resevoir, another place where I spent time training. I prepared for my first marathon on the trails around Rampart. I headed up there for long runs and to escape the heat of the city. And some of trails I was just introduced to this winter - the overlook drop, Waldo connector, Williams Canyon. All right in the center of the fire. Who knows when they will be rideable? It might be a month or more before the fire is out, then comes the long task of rehabbing the first and trails.

And right now, because of the high fire danger, every city park is closed. Stratton - closed. Red Rocks - closed. Palmer Park - closed. Garden of the Gods - closed. Cheyenne Canyon - closed. (I don't know how they are enforcing the closure, but I'm not gonna test to find out. Besides, the air quality is so bad right I don't even want to run or ride outside!) Would the parks need to be closed if people weren't stupid? I don't think so. But unfortunately, people seem to be completely unaware, lazy and lack common sense. I've seen too many hikers out on the trails in Stratton and Palmer Park smoking and it doesn't take more then a careless toss of a butt to ignite. Conditions are that dry right now. And if you think the smokey haze and campfire smell pervading town, along with the column of smoke to the west would make people think, try again. Right after I took this picture, I saw two different smokers flick their butts out of their car windows onto the ground...

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