Location: Angeles National Forest
Date: April 9-11, 2021
Fire merges the organic and inorganic. It exists at the meeting point between organic fuel, the particular chemistry of our atmosphere, and the moment of ignition. In the smoke filled fire season of 2020, Los Angeles residents experienced the sensation of breathing in the ashes of the trees many of us had been hiking in for years. Grief over a perceived loss mingles with curiosity about the new landscape. As we become more familiar with the essential role fire plays in this landscape (and the devastating consequences of fire suppression), this trip is an opportunity to engage with the aftermath of combustion in an embodied, direct way.
Starting at Crystal Lake, we will hike up the south face of the San Gabriels through an area burnt in 2002’s Curve Fire. Upon reaching the ridge at Windy Gap, we will be on the backbone of the range, able to see down into the desert to the north – and into vast areas that burned in this summer’s Bobcat fire. From there, we will hike east to a campsite from which we can consider, explore, and discuss the effects of the fires. We will return to the site throughout the year to observe the forest's unfolding response across the seasons.