Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Those Witnessing the North Carolina Wildfires, I Understand. A New Appalachian Trail is being Created

Right now the Appalachian Trail in North Carolina and Georgia is being inundated with huge wildfires. This past spring saw at least seven fires sprout up on the trail, causing major issues not only for hikers but also for residents. 2016 has been a severe year for fires.
Fire burns in Shenandoah National Park, Spring 2016

I am seeing many posts of scared, exhausted, and concerned hikers who fear what the trail will look like after such devastation. A revered tower that many hikers used to view the grandeur of the Great Smoky Mountains has also burned down (Wesser Tower). Lots of things are changing.

I totally understand the pain and anguish. I saw 10,000 acres in Shenandoah National Park burn this past spring.  I was similarly devastated. I had to inhale smoke, I watched the trails I loved to hike overrun by flames (caused by an illegal campfire) and hikers having to be rerouted. For several agonizing weeks I endured it. It was very stressful. 
Brow Mtn Overlook, Shenandoah National Park

Eventually the rains came. The fires were put out. A smoldering black landscape was revealed.

The AT in Shenandoah shortly after the fire was put out

But not for long.

Creation has a way of healing. And fast.

In six weeks I saw this happen -

In a few months I saw this. I was so pleased and happy. I knew everything was going to be ok.

A changed landscape but new vegetation and a great new view. 

Nature does come back. Yes, there will be changes to the landscape. There will likely be less of a tree canopy so summers will be hotter on the trail. BUT there will be views galore. Wildflowers in abundance will come in the spring. The birds will return and merrily chirp. The trees too, whose roots survive, will put out new shoots. Blueberries and rhododendron and mountain laurel that love acidic soil will flourish, and their showy flowers will line the trail and delight hikers. And all of this happens so quickly, it’s amazing.

Nature will return, though it brings little consolation now. But I like the Scripture in Psalm 30:5 that says: ...Weeping may stay the night but rejoicing comes in the morning. 

And a new morn will dawn on the new Appalachian Trail.

1 comment:

Bridget Carlson said...

Fires on trails can seem so devastating, but you're right; nature has a way of rejuvenating itself! And fires can actually be good. It's the reason so many will actually catch their lawns on fire at the end of the season, and the same reason farmers will catch their fields on fire. Of course, all of those are controlled burns but the concept is the same. Unfortunately, wildfires though can and most times do a lot more damage. I was devastated when I saw the news about Shenandoah, that was one of our favorite places to go living in Virginia! And I plan to hike the AT here in about 4 years (when my son graduates HS). We had some hiking trails (the ones I hike daily) by my house catch on fire, and while it wasn't as big as these wildfires it was still devastating to see the damage.

=) Bridget | http://nuttyhiker.com