Isaac Wallen and I drove up a mostly monochromatic hillside a few months after a wildfire had swept through the area, shocked as the road to the trails passed blackened car chassis and fireplaces standing alone like single trees in empty clearings; we found a different world to any we'd ever known. As sobering as it was, there was also something undeniably captivating and magnetic in the forest as it now stood. Maybe it was the long history of riding in this zone, or the unknown, or bearing such witness to nature’s supremacy, but we couldn’t turn away. And so we hoisted boots and bikes out of truck beds and stepped into the ashes.
The forest will grow back stronger, we hope, and any new turn here will be a gift, and a rebirth. If fate has settled on the return of riders to this zone, it will be hard to ignore the metaphor; the phoenix and her trails, literally riding from the ashes.