Placenames of the Wilderness:
Lone Pine Camp

by Boon Hughey
Lone Pine Camp Map   Lone Pine Camp Map

Situated just off the Ventana Double Cone trail between Puerto Suello and the Summit, Lone Pine Camp was named for a single stately Coulter pine (Pinus coulteri) that once grew nearby. The namesake tree died, perhaps as a result of the Marble Cone Fire of 1977, but for over two decades the picturesque snag remained standing, towering over the surrounding chaparral and mixed hardwood forest. Hikers headed for the Double Cone summit could look down upon it from the top of the first rise and know exactly where the camp was.

On September 8th, 1999, an epic electrical storm passed over the district, peppering the wilderness with hundreds of lightning strikes and starting 12 separate fires, two of which would go unchecked and develop into the Kirk Complex conflagration. One of the lightning bolts that night sought ground by way of the standing snag of the lone pine, igniting it into a tower of flames. Fire crews were quickly on the scene where they immediately cleared a corridor from the base of the tree out through the adjacent brush, felled the smoldering snag into it, then bucked it up into short lengths with a chainsaw as they worked to extinguish the flames. The charred logs of the once stately lone pine can still be seen today, lying on the ground next to the spur trail to the camp.