Waldo Canyon Fire
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If you’ve been following the news or live in Colorado, as many of my readers do, you have probably heard about the Waldo Canyon Fire.
Waldo Canyon is (was?) a popular hiking trail just west of Colorado Springs off of Highway 24. Tim and I went hiking there with UpaDowna on January 15th of this year. I did manage to take a few photos of the hike. I also had my Garmin with me for our hike…GPS data.
I’d also “run” it once before for a training run. Some sections were a bit steep, but it’s a good ~90 minute trail run or a 2.5-3 hour hike. The parking lot was always full. The community embraced and enjoyed this area.
Last Saturday, June 23rd, as I was heading back from coaching the Loveland Lake to Lake triathlon for Team In Training…which had an altered course due to the High Park Fire outside of Ft Collins, I got a text from my husband that Waldo was on fire. Sure enough, as I got to the south side of Castle Rock, there was a big smoke plume.
The rest of the evening was spent checking on the fire via social media and the news. Sunday was moderately normal minus the smoke, but there was definitely emotion in the air. I went and rode the Ride for the Cure, which was down in Fountain, south and east of Colorado.
I still got in 68 miles in 95-100 degree heat. Legs felt great despite the heat. Garmin Data, and it was a well-0rganized event! I chugged more gatorade than I care to remember, and thoroughly enjoyed the beer and Rudy’s BBQ afterwards.
We continued to watch the fire throughout the week. Monday it grew a bit, but all seemed OK, even though there wasn’t really any containment. It did start to become a bit more clear that neighborhoods could be threatened. And the neighborhoods are where a lot of people live. And a very popular hill for riding. Just the weekend prior I climbed up Woodmen Rd, which is the loop on the southwest of the map. The neighborhood you can see just to the southwest of my loop is the one that was devastated by the fire.
A NEO athlete lives in the evacuation zone. His training is on hold for a bit. All athletes are having to adjust training due to the very poor air quality. But they are reaching out and helping out where they can – feeding evacuees at the shelters, or helping their friends and coworkers evacuate. Tonight those in the neighborhood that was burned are learning officially if their house is still standing or not. We all know people who have lost their houses – 346 is the current count of homes destroyed. It’s a tragic week for Colorado Springs, but the support the whole community is showing is tremendous. The food bank, which is helping provide food to firefighters and evacuees is being flooded with donations. The Humane Society has several shelters opened for displaced pets. It is truly inspiring to see all the good that the community is doing to help those in need, and to help those helping us.
My Friday Ride at Cafe Velo is a Charity Drive this week so we can collect more items. With over 1000 firefighters on the lines and still 20,000 people evacuated, the donations are still needed. I’ll leave you with a few more photos and then a link to even more.
But before you go, click here to give $5, $10, $20 or what you can afford to the Pikes Peak Community Foundation’s Waldo Canyon Firefighter’s Fund.