Article and photos by FOTA Board President Don McCullough
I was surprised it had been so long since I been on Cobblestone Trail. But all of the fire-sign reminds me that the area was closed for months after the fire and that I have been hiking and biking in other areas since the Glass Fire last fall.
Leaving Spring Lake Park and crossing into Trione-Annadel at the salamander hall, the burned areas show up quickly. The trail is burned on both sides for much of the hike. There are dramatic points where one side is burned and the other is green. Burned Bay trees especially look dramatic. They fall apart and they leave an ash circle.
The fire along the Cobble Stone trail opened up the undergrowth. It is easy to see deeper into the forest. The piles of tailing and pits from the cobblestone mining 100 - 125 years ago are easier to see. The loop showed me that the whole hilltop had been mined. It is hard to imagine this peaceful forest as a busy, industrial mine site with hundreds of miners, the sounds of hammers and carts of cobblestone headed downhill. The fire makes it easier to imagine.
And it also makes it easier to hear the quiet creep of the turkeys visiting a little water hole. In other hidden spots along the trail wild flowers are still colorful additions to the trail. But the puff balls of seed tell me that they will be gone soon.
This loop hike is four miles, moderately difficult. It took me about an hour and a half. The mix of recent and older history in the middle of natural beauty makes it worth the time to look deeper along the trail.