Saturday, July 6, Kathy, Teri and Rocky were escorted by the sheriff to Little Squaw Resort since USFS 520 is still closed to the public and the evacuation order still applies. This was the first time we could assess the situation. Photos from the short visit can be viewed at the above link.
The resort looks amazing! It is a green oasis! The campfire, the (new) little house and sandbox, all of the cabins, shower house, phone/wood shed are in perfect condition, as well as the trees! It truly is a miracle. We have been truly blessed. When you are inside of the Little Squaw perimeter, you would think that there was no fire or only slight signs. The mountain across the river (the one with the bear cave) hardly has damage. We had tears of joy and gratitude for the safe emergence of Little Squaw through the wrath of the fire that encircled it.
There were a few scavenger fire runs at various places near Paintbrush, Bluebell and Fir Tree, but all of the cabins are in great shape and do not smell like smoke! The grass in the meadow along the drive has been singed and some trees have damage. The biggest surprise was that the willows along the Rio Grande between the drive and the river have disappeared. You can see all the way to the river. And the willow area up river from Little Squaw has been burned allowing sight throughout the lowland to the base of the mountain. There is also a small burn (willows again) off to the left of the bridge as you cross the bridge… but the glider chair remained untouched! The shock comes after you cross the footbridge. To the left it is green… to the right it is green-for about 200 yds. and then it is like entering into another world. Black ground, black empty tree trunks, bare hills showing each and every contour. Overhanging Rock is bare as well as sightline in every direction. Both mountains behind Little Squaw in the Wilderness have been totally burned… but we hardly noticed them in the distance. Our focus was on the beautiful green around the cabins.
So when do we allow guests back? If the road were opened today, we could allow guests back in two weeks. We have to repair about 6 sections of water pipe that melted; an electric pole that burned near the river must be replaced before the power can be turned back on. We need to cut some charred trees for safety and to improve beauty. Other than that, we only need all of you to come and celebrate gratefulness with us!!!
Your trip up on USFS520 will reveal that the area is surprisingly green. Road Canyon #1 is all green; Road Canyon#2 has burn; River Hill (the mountain across the river) is completely charred. River Hill Campground is fine as well as the final decent off of 520 into our entrance. Green never looked so good!
Teri wanted me to share my thought:
I have friends with scars but that does not diminish my friendship with them. Our area has suffered great scars, yet Little Squaw Resort remains beautiful. The land around will never be the same in our lifetime. We are part of the story and the history for years to come. The memories that we have shared at Little Squaw with our families are the sacred parts of our experience there. Those will continue and we will cherish this place forever for the impact it makes on our lives. Scars do not take that away. Being part of the transformation and rebirth of this area is a gift for all of us. (Kathy)
Kathy and Teri
Pat and Rocky