The crew gathered at the Winslow trailhead at 0900, and what with trading news, greeting friends, waivers and tools etc we started the hike uphill at almost 1000. The day was cool and breezy, very pleasant, and we enjoyed taking our time up to the flight of 10 rock stairs we built last year.
Just downhill, hikers were crossing a dry drainage to reach the stairs, and we saw several go in a straight line up a steep ledge covered in large roots. We decided to define the path better than what was there, a jumble of rocks no earlier crew had touched. One rock of ~ 700 lbs. we tried to pry over to a new hole, where we could turn it into a step and free up a channel for water. The rock was defiant, and we decided after some time to just set it the way it wanted to rest, round side up. Still needing a step up from where hikers would cross the drain, we dug a hole beside and downstream of it, and there set a smaller rock step which the bigger rock will protect from floods. Two more steps above brought the path up to the level where it follows the hillside over to the base of last year's stairs, about 10 yards.
To better define the path for the hikers, we set barricades of blowdowns parallel to the trail, supported and pinned down by rocks. More old fir tops went on the ledge hikers were climbing, and one log now bridges the drainage channel above the trail. This is all rather imposed and artificial-looking, the hope is that it will encourage hikers to take the easy clear open path, and so let the woods recover from their trampling. It works elsewhere on this trail...
Twenty yards defined, 0.9 miles of trail to tend. We knew when we adopted this trail last year that it is an endless job to stabilize a trail on a slope that steep. However, our volunteers are able and willing, with a sound work ethic. On this crew, the two more senior volunteers taught the newer ones how to observe a site, some questions to ask, what would be a better result than what was there. They learned how to move heavy objects easier, with loops of webbing and teamwork. They learned that there is more than one way to use a rock, especially one of ~ 700 lbs that we were not going to move save to help it fall into a hole we dug for it.
Have a happy Labor Day weekend, and there will be no crew day until Sep 10 or 11. Smaller teams may still go out, by appointment, please write if interested.
Craig Sanborn, CHVTC Trailmaster
All photos by Bob H.