Trees. A short drive north of Colorado Springs is the area called Black Forest. From the air, the trees are so thick the area appears black. But how did it get its name? This hike is called Section 16 in Black Forest.
We have other areas called Section 16, so what does this name mean? The Romans first named “Black Forest” Germany because it was covered with dark, black trees. Black Forest, Colorado has been so named since the middle 1800s.
According to the United States Public Land Survey System, a section of land is approximately 1 mile by 1 mile and consists of 640 acres. There is no fixed number of acres per side because an acre does not have to be square as long as it 43,560 square feet. This section is 1 square mile in four directions and encompasses an ecological naturalist school.
The sky is really that blue, especially after a rainstorm. The area is a four-mile square with benches at each corner of the trail. Years earlier, the Black Forest wildfire damaged many of the trees here so there is an ongoing fire mitigation project to clear out any dead or damaged trees. It did not burn to the ground like Black Forest Regional Park, but trees were heavily marred.
In May 2019, a late Spring snowstorm hit the area with inches of heavy wet snow. The bent trees were the younger trees with new growth that were curved to the ground from the weight. They may never recover.
Across the north side of the Section, the fire burned up the houses years ago, and left black sticks of the trees. The houses have mostly been rebuilt, but the area is barren. The wind increased as we turned the second corner, as there was nothing to block the gale. It rustled the tops of the Ponderosa pines and blew our clothes and hats. After another mile, we turned the next corner and it stopped. The sudden silence was noticeable. We heard the birds again as we finished our hike on the last two miles.
When Ahaz son of Jotham, the son of Uzziah, was king of Judah, King Rezin of Aram and Pekah son of Remaliah king of Israel marched up to fight against Jerusalem, but they could not overpower it. Now the house of David was told, “Aram has allied itself with Ephraim”; so the hearts of Ahaz and his people were shaken, as the trees of the forest are shaken by the wind. Isaiah 7:1-2 NIV
We saw two lovely horses as we ended our hike, but the pictures I took were not as interesting as the political discussion we had. The woman said, “I can barely get on this horse anymore.” Her horse was a lovely Palomino that looked just like my horse, Ribbon, I had as a kid to early adult. A horse ride among the trees – what fun in Colorado.
What are your favorite trees? Why do you think a forest restores you? How do you honor the gift of trees?