Six years ago the Castle Rock Fire burned a crescent around our ski area peak, Bald Mountain. At it’s closest, it was 13 miles from my home. Mornings were filled with smoke so thick you couldn’t see the hill 300 yards away, in the afternoon, Baldy looked like a volcano erupting. Eight days ago, lighting struck a hillside about 15 miles south of the southern most point of the Castle Rock fire–a spot only 5 miles west of my town. The winds blew to the north for the first five days and ran all the way to Castle Rocks most northern scar. Then, a few days ago, the winds switched and blew to the east and the fire moved with them. The fire lines moved over a ridgetop and into two of the most prized canyons that spur off the Big Wood Valley, Deer Creek and Greenhorn Gulch. This evening, the fire torched Greenhorn, home to nearly a dozen world class hiking and mountain biking trails, creeks, thick woods, and beautiful meadows. Grouse spent Fall afternoons on the dried grass ridgetops and hid amongst their craggy sections. In the spring, the wildflowers were mind blowing, especially on a blue bird day. To see the arrowleaf balsomroot compliment that clear shade of blue was utter perfection. Today, I saw colors I didn’t know nature could create, an orange unlike anything I’ve ever seen. Flames leaped higher than any I’ve ever seen. Aircraft were dwarfed by the plumes of smoke. Smoke ignited. People pulled over on the sides of the highway and gaped, as they should have. It was intense, both sad and scary. I know it’ll grow back. I know it’ll be beautiful and that the skiing is going to be ridiculous. But, Greenhorn was cool and a bunch of us are gonna miss the way it was.