Project Leader: Heidi Brill Project Dates: February 2011-May 2011 Phone: 208.860.8728 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org 96 Brentwood Drive Tehachapi, CA 93561
21-30 April 2011
Owen’s Peak Wilderness, North of Walker Pass CA
Bright and early on the morning on April 21, we loaded up our truck and drove out to Walker Pass for our last hitch. This was the only hitch that was not made complicated or delayed by snow or pending government shutdown. On the last one, we finally got it right. Arriving at the campground, we were greeted by packer Bill Carter, PCTA volunteer coordinator Merrit Hoeh and our PCTA associate regional representative Brendan Taylor, as well as Bill’s dogs. Before we knew it, the mules were loaded up, and we were setting up shop again in the Morris Jenkins saddle. Everyone was excited about the warmer weather this hitch promised, and we were looking forward to our last days of work on the trail.
Our most impressive project was a 53 square foot stone retention wall. Before we stepped in, the tread was only a foot wide over a steep cliff; dangerous for horses to pass and challenging for hikers as well. This project was to be challenging from the beginning because we were building a retention wall on outsloped bedrock. At first, we lost many a rock down the cliff until we were able to find the perfect puzzle piece, a 2000 pound perfectly shaped beauty. Once that rock was in place and stable, we were able to build off of it and eventually make the tread much wider. This project tested our patience and rock moving abilities, but everyone is pleased with how it turned out. Brendan was especially pleased: “I did not think it was going to turn out this well after looking at the area, wow guys I’m impressed.” I believe were his exact words.
On Sunday, we all celebrated Easter in the backcountry! Some sort of magical bunny hid eggs around camp filled with chocolate, jelly beans, and “fortunes”. The fortunes included “your beard is as soft as a rabbits fur” and “your alter ego for the day: CHUCK NORRIS”. Everyone was thrilled to find them when they woke up, and even more excited that they got to eat more sugar. We left a few eggs on the trail for hikers before we headed off to work. They were quite pleased that we managed to not eat the candy in those eggs beforehand.
As we worked further down the trail, we put down the rock bars and picked up the McLoeds and saws. We dug ankle biter rocks out of the trail, put the pole saw to work removing high branches, and widened the tread. Walking down the trail now is a lot like walking down the catwalk. It’s wide and flat, with no rocks in the way or huge branches hitting you in the face. We are quite the glamorous crew. And if you question that, check out the patriotic stickers on Corey’s and Danny’s helmets. Courtesy of Heidi Brill and the Red White and Blue.
On our last day in the field, we made the epic trek up Owen’s Peak, the highest point in the southern Sierras at 8459 ft. From up on the peak, we could see the winding PCT that we had just worked on for the past three months. It was great to spend a fun day with the crew in the backcountry before we all go our separate ways.
That’s all from the field, happy trails to everyone!
-Alex Drewsie Drew
Total trail maintained: 6,781 ft
Trail reconstructed: 4,451 ft
Stone retention built: 356 sq ft
Pack animals used: 10
Agency contacts: 3
Number of guest interactions: 20 (!)