I returned to Pinos two weeks after the summit trip to try some other trails with a friend of mine and we found some really wonderful areas of forest to explore. The trails are ones used for cross country skiing in winter.
The forest is mixed conifer of huge, ancient Jeffrey Pine, Ponderosa Pine and Douglas Fir. The meadow margins were filled with tall lupine in bloom.
The forest is thick here and it is wise not to get off trail; it would be very easy to get disoriented.
One poor tree had been thoroughly blasted by lightning. In fact, we saw evidence that many trees had been struck by lighting. Fortunately the rain associated with most thunderstorms produce enough rain to keep fires from spreading.
When we got near the trailhead, we noticed with relief that the storm was passing us by. The sky looked wicked though!
The odd buckling and undulations of the cloud are the underside of cumulonimbus clouds, associated with thunderstorms. It is an eerie effect!
A great hike, with just enough danger element to make it exciting--but not too dangerous!