Last summer the Rock Creek fire blazed out of control destroying forests and 30 homes. Kettle River, our favourite campground was in the midst of this unpredictable fire as it jumped the highway and river in several places. Hundreds of terrified campers had to run for their lives across the trestle bridge as they saw flames coming into the park.
Earlier this week we decided to revisit Kettle River campground to see the devastation but also to marvel that about 80% of the park was saved by the relentless water bombing and hard work of fire fighters on the ground.
The drive into the park used to be the most calming experience as the road wound it's way through the Ponderosa pine forest and now I felt a sad quietness as we came upon a new landscape with a large swath of burnt trees cut down on both sides of the road and a vista beyond of charred trees.
The extreme heat of the fire will have popped the pine cones, spreading seeds to recreate a new forest. Already the grasses are green, the Lupines were abloom and morel mushrooms have sprung up. The mushroom harvesters must have been through the area as we didn't see any but then we did not search the vast expanse of burnt forest.
|We set up camp in a favourite area where the sunlight streams |
through the tress and shimmers on lush green grasses.
|The ground squirrels are still there together with their chipmunk cousins.|
|Some campsites are surrounded by charred trees but most are untouched.|
|A new vista clear through to the river.|
|Unbelievable to see these outhouses untouched right next to scorched trees.|
|A popular beach where floating devices were launched is a mess.|
|Wild strawberries and a heart rock bring hope amongst the ashes.|
|Scorched and charred trees along a short section of the Kettle Valley railway trail|
stand as sentinels, reminders of the force of nature.
|Apparently the park was busy on the May long weekend as campers|
reclaimed areas that encompass the edge of destruction.
|Morning sunlight whispers peace.|
|Wild roses breathe out sweet fragrance|
|A newly created BMX track will keep children busy and happy.|
|The bridge stands solid, and summer campers will soon be |
courageously jumping from it into the refreshing water.
Kettle River Provincial Park has weathered a fire storm and is
again a place for families to relax, rest and play in a beautiful setting.