Sunday, April 3, 2016

Work continues in Section E

Jim Wolfe widening the trail against a rocky outcrop, 4/2/16
Trail Gorillas continue to make progress repairing the destruction caused by last October's localized storm. We worked again yesterday rebenching the trail in the Spunky - Down drainage above Green Valley.
We're currently nearing completion, with something like a mile of work remaining in the middle.
On the Powerhouse Burn, we are awaiting a FS / PCTA assessment to find out if we can get in this spring, and when that has happened we'll start announcing projects. Contact Section Chief Jim Richter to get added to his email list, richterj "at" vmcmail.com .
Spunky Cyn project crew group photo, 3/21/16

Thursday, December 31, 2015

January 2016 Projects

Happy New Year, PCT Volunteers!
Rebenching the trail in Dowd Canyon, November 2015
I haven't made posts since last spring, but the Trail Gorillas are gearing up for spring projects in Section E.  Here's some of the latest news:
  • Powerhouse Fire:  The Forest Service's closure is still in effect. In the meantime, our SoCal PCTA rep, Anitra Kass, is trying to make a plan with Angeles NF for project access, but:
  • The destructive October 15 rain event (up to 3" in a half hr) damaged the trail in the Green Valley area, destroyed miles of the trail south of Hwy 58, and wrecked a lot of the forest access roads that we use. So also, the forest service has to look at the damage in the Powerhouse burn to determine if they'll even grant us work access permissions.  For the destroyed segments up north, the work is far in excess of our volunteer capacity, so we're hoping for help from the BLM. But:
  •  Our energetic new Section E Chief, Jim Richter has planned four projects for January. Contact Jim (richterj at vmcmail dot com) to sign up for any of these.  We'll need the help!
January 9 &10 Brushing / treading in Pine Canyon
January 16 &17 Brush and tread on Sawmill Mtn, near Atmore Meadows Road
January 22-24  Cameron Canyon, south of Hwy 58 (mile 558 to 566.5).  Emergency repairs, serious tread work.
January 30 & 31 Dowd Canyon above Green Valley (between San Francisquito & Spunky Canyons), Mile 474 +/- continuation of tread repair

Also, this year PCTA.org improved their volunteer projects schedule page, and Jim has added details for the projects above. This is a great new interface, though it doesn't have an alerts function yet - a suggestion I offered that I hope the PCTA's IT pros can add.  But you can now go there and read the details for Jim's January projects.

Our future local projects, mapped!
On the Green Valley area's storm damage, last month a volunteer crew led by Dave Fleischman tirelessly rebenched and treaded over 1.5 miles of the trail going southbound from San Francisquito Canyon Rd (see photo at top). I helped them on two days, but those guys did some fantastic work.  If you are local and enjoy hiking that segment of trail, now it's like new again, and it awaits you...

Kevin

Monday, May 4, 2015

May 2-3: More brushing on Liebre Mountain

Palmdale Troop 555.  (Photo by Mark Larabee)
Our PCTA volunteers (Photo by Mark Larabee)
We spent the weekend on Liebre Mountain, where Palmdale Troop 555 joined us on this brushing project in mile 500.  In three days the crew fully brushed and cleared 1.12 miles!  Congrats to the scouts, our awesome volunteers, and to Section E Chief Jim Richter for leading the project. Mark Larabee from the PCTA even joined us, and shot many great photos. We even had a full moon.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

April 25: Gorillas in the Mist

The Trail Gorillas cleared brush on Liebre Mtn (mile 505) today, with sun, whiteout, mist, rain, and sleet. We finished a little wet this time but brushed the worst of Section E.  We weren't the only ones out though, as we counted nine hikers.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

April 19: Trail Gorillas clear the PCT through the Station Fire!

Before
After
As of today when Dave, Dan, Diane and I finished the last of the clearing above North Fork RS, the Station Fire area is cleared of brush and debris, and much of the trail retreaded.  Congratulations to Pete Fish, Dave, and all the Trail Gorilla volunteers who have worked in this heavily-affected segment through the burn. On to Section E now, where much work awaits.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

New Projects in the Sawmill Mtn Area: Apr 25/26 and May 1-3

I hope you can join us for one of these projects to help clear the trail in Section E near Sawmill Mtn. These two projects will have us making progress from Atmore Meadows Road toward Liebre Mtn, and will be our new Section Chief Jim Richter's inaugural projects.  We'll overnight at Sawmill CG. I hope you can come out to meet Jim and show him how awesome the Section E volunteers are!  See full details at PCTA.org, and to sign up contact Jim Richter at richterj at vmcmail.com or phone 323-595-9499.
Section Chief Dave Fleischman, who served Section E for at least ten years, is taking on Section D, where the Station Fire burned in 2009.  Still lots of work to clear the trail for 2015 thruhikers. We'll be out there by Mt Gleason this weekend...




Sunday, April 5, 2015

April 4 in the Pine Canyon area

If you have worked on any of the Pine Canyon projects after the 2004 Pine Fire and subsequent 2005 floods that wrecked the trail out there, the photo below may be of interest.

Same place: 2005, 2010, 2015
I also visited Horse Camp, above this spot, and since trail users have indicated trouble locating and accessing the spring back there after all the blowdowns of recent years, I flagged the route to the spring with pink tape.  While the recent rains have greened up the surface, the spring was pretty lethargic from three dry years.
Most of the burned trees around the camp have now fallen, but healthy new trees - some of them 15' high - are already replacing them. I even saw short some fir seedlings mixed in with the larger pines.

New trees below Horse Camp

Next Sec D project: April 18-19 near North Fork RS

No, that IS the trail.
The March 28-30 project was tremendously successful, but our friend John Shelton has returned from his latest inventory in the remaining Station Fire footprint, and it shows that we likely have three days of work left to clear the trail up there. We are planning another big push for April 18-19, camping overnight at the North Fork Ranger Station. Meals will be provided to those overnighting with us. To sign up for one day or both and get meetup specifics, contact Section D Chief Dave Fleischman at owldave57 at gmail.com.  See you there!

March 28-30 on Mt Gleason in Sec D

In three days, the Trail Gorillas brushed an epic 1.35 miles and treaded 2500' of the PCT in upper Moody Canyon northbound from Mt Gleason. This is in the 2009 Station Fire footprint, and represents the worst trail conditions in the area. More projects will be scheduled here, as this area has become the priority segment for clearing in 2015. 
An energetic crew

Treading it out after the brush is cut back

Final product

Monday, March 16, 2015

March 14 at Upper Shake Junction

Before

During

After

The Crew

  
Flowers are peaking in the western AV
We had a great crew of 11 for a day brushing the trail at Upper Shake Junction.  We cleared 2/10ths of a mile of PCT, the mile-long connector trail down to Upper Shake CG, and placed new signposts in the campground.  Our reward, in addition to the enjoyment of a day out working in the spring sunshine, was a view of fields of wildflowers on the valley floor. A good time was had by all.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

February 28 Trail Project

Forecasts called for rain, but mostly it was sunny today for our treading project in the Soledad - Vasquez segment.  Thanks to our awesome volunteers, we treaded out 1150' of trail.


Sunday, February 8, 2015

March 14 Trail Project

Join the Trail Gorillas on March 14 for a day of brushing and treading in the northwest corner of the Angeles NF.  Volunteers will meet west of Lake Hughes, HERE, in the large pullout on the south side of the road at 07:30.  There we'll combine into  high-clearance vehicles to caravan up the 2WD forest access road right to the work location, in Mile 495. 
Volunteers should bring leather work gloves, lunch, water, and sun protection. Long pants and shirtsleeves required.  Trail Gorillas will provide tools and hardhats.
To sign up for this project contact Section E Chief Dave Fleischman at  owldave57@gmail.com

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Next Work Project: Treading in Section D

February 28  Section D Tread Work 
       Come work with the Trail Gorillas to rehab 0.7 miles of the PCT. Work area is 1.5 miles south of Hwy 14 near Vasquez Rocks County Park. Need 7 to 10 volunteers, maximum hike in of 2.5 miles. Meeting place to be determined. All tools and training provided. Please bring work gloves(if you have them), wear long pants and long sleeved shirts. Plan on bringing lunch and snacks. Refreshments will be provided at the end of the project. Contact Dave Fleischman at (310) 560-8299 or email at owldave57@gmail.com

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Trail Gorilla Tool School

Region 1 held its 2015 Tool School this weekend, where PCTA Volunteer Leaders brought their tool expertise to share with the rest of us. If you live near the trail and are interested in helping maintain our hand and power tools, the trail crews can always use help! Feel free to contact me.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Jan 18 in Green Valley

They were a treading machine
Pete Fish and the Trail Gorillas were joined by the Dirt Divas Running Club for a day of brushing and treading in Green Valley. We worked the hill going up towards Dowd Canyon (southbound) and left the trail in great shape! Stay tuned for announcements on more spring projects.