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Trail Crew Work!

PostPosted: Thu Jun 20, 2019 9:02 am
by balzaccom
Yep--the trailheads may not all be open yet, but it is time to get out and clean up some of those trails.


This was a day trip from the Tanglefoot Trailhead above Bear Creek Reservoir into the Mokelumne Wilderness, one of the least traveled parts of the Sierra, especially the Grand Canyon of the Mokelumne. Our group repaired trail signs, fixed some of the drainage in the wet parts of the trails, lopped back brush, cut through about ten or twelve logs across the trail, and cleared debris from the first 3-4 miles of the trail. And the snow plants were out in force...


And we had fun.

As is usual in this neck of the woods, we saw a total of TWO groups of hikers during the whole day, and both of them had visited the relatively accessible Shriners Lake. We saw nobody other than our own hard-working selves once we passed that junction.

So we hiked about seven miles, did trail work from 9-4, and went home happy and just a bit tired.

All in a day's trail work.

The rest of the photos are here:

Re: Trail Crew Work!

PostPosted: Fri Jul 19, 2019 9:36 am
by balzaccom
I joined Ranger Chip Morrill and a Youth Conversation Crew from Generation Green to do trail work in the El Dorado National Forest around Silver Lake this last week. It was a good workout, we saw some terrific scenery, and got a ton of work done--much of it thanks to the six young people with loppers, shovels, and McCleods.

Day One we cleared the trail to Lake Margaret, using every one of those tools at one point or another on the 2.5 mile trail to the lake. The good news is that on the way back, all the work was done, and so we could enjoy the scenery of the hike a bit more.

Day Two focused on tree work around the Martin Meadows dispersed camping area, and then the lower two miles of the Horse Canyon Trail. This trail is part of a larger system around Silver Lake that we got to know much better on Day Three.

Day Three was epic--an eight mile loop through the lakes south of Silver Lake, including Hidden Lake and the Granite Lake group. We worked our way through deep banks of snow, huge deadfalls across the trail, lopping overgrown bushes, and improving trail drainage. And some of those trees were huge. The one at left was quite an effort.

It was fun to meet hikers on these trails, as they were so deeply appreciative of the work we were doing. That really made the kids' day/

On Day Four Chip and I worked through the two-mile Castle Point trail, clearing up some deadfalls, then joined the crew as they lopped their way to Shealor Lake. In the afternoon, the youth crew headed into the office, and I headed home.

The final score was a total of thirteen miles of trails cleared, which was a tribute to the work ethic of this crew. And I returned home with only minor scrapes, two bug bites, and a few sore muscles. And given the fun we had and the scenery we saw, it was all well worth it!

Photos are here:

Re: Trail Crew Work!

PostPosted: Sat Jul 27, 2019 9:19 am
by balzaccom
I enjoyed my trail crew trip to Carson Pass last week so much that we went back this week to see more of the area. And while we ran into huge crowds at Carson pass itself, our hikes into Thornburg Canyon and Castle Point were blissfully lonely. We only saw a few people on the former, and all but two of them were within 500 yards of the trailhead. And we didn't see another soul on the Castle Point Trail. This despite the fact that the trail has the quickest payoff of any trail we've hiked: within about 300 yards you get a stunning view of the whole Caples Creek Valley, often including the Crystal Range west of Tahoe in the background. And from there, you wander along the crest of the ridge, looking down over precipitous cliffs, passing by an amazing collection of ancient junipers, and finding terrific views of Thunder Mountain on the other side. That's great value in the first mile.

Thornburg Canyon started with a waltz through a cornucopia of flowers for the first half mile, then great views from the top of the ridge. That's the view in the panorama above. And once we went over the ridge, we were alone. We camped on a bluff above the creek, in the breeze and above most of the mosquitoes. And we reveled in the sounds of nature--and nary another soul to see. Or hear.

We topped off the trip with a hike to Granite Lake along the Minkalo Trail--one that I had not seen before. It includes a lovely 40-foot waterfall, two delicious creeks, a few isolated glacial tarns, and Granite Lake itself. All this in a mile and a half from the trailhead. In fact, the most complicated part of this hike was finding the trailhead, which is unsigned for much of the route on the narrow roads behind the Kit Carson Lodge. There were a few hikers at the lake, but there was also plenty of room for us all.

Meanwhile, back at Carson Pass, there were hundreds of hikers on their way to Winnemucca and Round Top Lakes, in what must have been a very different kind of hiking experience. The parking lots were so full that cars were idling, waiting for a spot. And the USFS information office had a full staff of volunteers manning both the inside office and the table outside. Quite a contrast to what we saw on the trails a bit further afield.

Photos are here: