One of our favorite parks in Sonoma County, Sugarloaf was closed for more than four months after the devastating fires that tore through Northern California in October. A huge portion of the park burned, and park employees had been working long hours to restore trails, remove fallen trees, and make the park safe for visitors. We wanted to see for ourselves and so on Valentine’s Day we went for a hike in the newly reopened park.
This is one of our favorite spots on the way into the park where the road crosses Sonoma Creek. The picture on the left is from the wet winter of 2010 when the creek ran high. Now in the wake of the fire, our lovely moss-covered Bay Laurel has been felled.
We started up the Bald Mountain trail and could see where the fire had stopped. The greening grass now covers the burned areas and the part that didn’t burn still shows last season’s dried stalks of grass.
Sugarloaf’s oak forest is blackened but looks like it will survive. The chaparral–manzanita, coyote brush–was burned but is already starting to revive. Some big trees were burned right down to the roots and into the ground.
By mid-February early wildflowers, oak and poison oak were happily flowering.We got a great view of the east side of Mount Hood. It’s hard to tell that the mountain was almost totally burned. Now we can’t wait to return to see how our park is doing. There will be lots more wildflowers and oaks and Buckeye will be leafing out in March.