Valle Grande, New Mexico

I hiked the Coyote Call trail (part of Valles Caldera, in the Jemez) a few weeks ago for the first time since before the Las Conchas fire in 2011. It’s been a favorite trail of mine and I frankly think I was scared to see the changes the fire had wrought. As it turns out, I was pleasantly surprised by the incredible growth and regeneration in the area — Mother Nature certainly does know her stuff. Along with an abundance of wildflowers and grasses, there were hundreds — if not thousands — of small aspen saplings crowding the trail (which was largely overgrown in many places). It’s definitely a different kind of beauty, but no less awe-inspiring than the previous scenery.