It's the year 2004 and she's hiking on trail No.68 , commonly known as the Carl Lake Trail. In many places, it is now a wasteland of dust and blackened trees. Here, we are about a 30 minutes hike up the canyon from the trailhead, and only about 20 minutes hike up from the Nation's two largest Rocky Mountain Douglas Firs. In a real miracle, the two giant firs survived the fire, but at this nearby point it's hostile, thick dust rising in clouds from the hiker's boots and you walk with constant nagging worry about falling trees and limbs... Only the scattered re-sprouting green ferns hint at the extravagant lushness that only a year ago was everwhere in this deep canyon. Miles ahead of this hiker lies 5,500 ft. Carl Lake, still beautiful and intact, a small pocket skipped over by the Fire on every side of it!
Update 2018: many portions of the trail to Carl Lake are threatened by brush, mostly snow brush. Efforts have been made to brush it out, some efforts official and some volunteer, but the Forest Service's dire need to use its budget to fight forest fires sucks nearly all monies from low-priority activities like brushing-out even a relatively popular trail like the Carl Lake trail, and the situation is much worse 5-6 miles north where the Jefferson trail into the fairly unknown Patsy Lake/Table Lake areas has been at timess nearly impassable due to overgrowth of brush.... A volunteer group that has done extensive work to clear this trail can be found on Facebook under the name SECT ("Save our east Cascade trails" -- A frequent poster is Mark Scott of Bend).