Yep, we’ve been workin’. Quite a bit.
But throwing in quite a bit of fun while we’re at it.
Yesterday we got on a rare mid-week trail work crew in a local Wilderness (yep, that’s a Capital-W Wilderness, which is different from your every day run-of-the-mill wilderness). The specific one is the Soda Mountain Wilderness, just a short 20-minutes or so from town.
The event was held by the Siskiyou Mountain Club, one of many environmental stewardship organizations in the area. The trail we were working on was the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT), so there was also representation from the PCTA.
There were six volunteers and we quickly split into two groups. My group included Goddess and the PCTA rep.
Our first blow-down tree turned out to be the only one that our group of three got to tackle. It was a tough tree, fighting us until the very end. After two-and-a-half hours, of fighting with it, we had to call the other group back for reinforcements. It still took another 30-45 minutes to finish the cut and get it off the trail.
It was an interesting oblong-shaped Douglas Fir, measuring approximately 34″ horizontally and 24″ vertically (as it lay on the slope) with well over 100 rings in it. The first taps sounded like it was pretty rotten, but turned out to not be true. There was nothing rotten in that tree. It was a very solid specimen.
Too bad the soil couldn’t support it through the torrential rains and hurricane-strength winds the area received last week.
But why did it take so long for us to clear the tree from the trail? We were in big-W Wilderness, which means that no mechanized means could be used to clear the tree. So it was the old-fashioned 2-person crosscut saw. Or, as we learned recently, a “misery whip”.
Although I actually love to use it.
Here I am with Ian Nelson, the PCTA Big Bend Regional Representative, starting the first cut on the uphill side of the trail.
A few hours and a few broken felling wedges later, the trail was accessible.
Here is Goddess standing on the newly cleared trail.
For those keeping track, it’s at approximately mile 1,732 using Halfmile’s 2014 track. Or about 1/2 mile past the Pilot Rock Trail junction if you’re heading north.
As you may be aware, as Goddess and I are hiking the PCT this year and are being sponsored by Yama Mountain Gear. Through that sponsorship, we are asking for donations to the Pacific Crest Trail Association (PCTA). As a non-profit organization responsible for maintaining and protecting the PCT, they need our help to fund activities such as this.
Even with volunteers, the crew work does cost money, even if it’s just simple logistics and tool care/replacement (remember, we broke 3 felling wedges that will need to be replaced).
So if you are a trail user or just like the idea that organizations like the PCTA exist to protect this National Scenic Trail, please consider donating even just $10 by clicking on the photo below. If you donate $35, you will become a member of the PCTA, which includes goodies for you (details at the link).
The best part? Well, besides folks being able to get out and maintain the trails? Your donation may be tax-deductible!
Thanks to those of you who have already donated. We’re at 16% of our goal for the year already!
Bill & Jennifer Anders