Project Leader: Project Dates: May 27, 2010 - September 20, 2010 Email Address:
Trail Corridor brushed Approx 3 miles or 15,830 ft
Blow down removed from trail 18 trees
New trail/ rebenching 600ft
Structures removed 2
Drainage dips installed 5
Dirt moved tons
Our first day on hitch we hiked the Naked ground trail 3 miles and we noticed it needed a lot of help to keep it an established trail. The thickets of rhododendrons grow into the trail whenever they are given the opportunity. Lots of rain and blow down provide a perfect environment for the rhodo to grow rampant. We spent the first half of the hitch becoming proficient in the art of clearing corridor in the wilderness. There was much to cut out and to hide away from the trail. This is no small feat on a steep old growth trail. Our goal was for the trail to not look cut at all, and we certainly took pride in making that happen.
Of course, there was plenty of large blow down mixed into the trail corridor clearing. Some of these trees were small but several were mighty large. There was a particularly large hemlock across a small stream that made a natural “bridge” but in the current condition it was not at all passable. After clearing away the many branches and cutting a walk able surface into the log it made a great bridge! (See before and after below)
The group excelled in making do with the tools we had. It was a great time for the whole group to master the single bit axe. Everyone had plenty of opportunity to hone axe swinging skills in order to get 18 trees out of the trail tread. Dan had a boot blowout that allowed him a more stationary day of full- on axe swinging.
Many muscles were built during this shift! Lopping and sawing was an all-day affair for several days, too. The digging of new trail tread was sprinkled in as needed. I am still a fan of the hazel hoe, but the mattock worked so well when we needed to cut through a root or break up a rock!
The old saying goes “If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around, does it make a sound?” Well I can’t answer that question directly but I can attest that an old growth hemlock makes a big sound when it falls and one is nearby. We had a bunch of rain this hitch and the dead trees became saturated. We were on our way out of the worksite on the 3rd day and there was some noise on the other side of the river. Within a minute there was a huge tree that took its last fall, and we witnessed and felt the tree come down to its final resting place. We know the chances of this are very small and we were glad that we were on the other side of the river.
The group worked together to help our new member EJ feel welcomed and to get him up to speed on what he missed from training. The group is in the early stages of forming and is learning how to cooperate and work effectively together. The few things that have come up as different opinions have been smoothed out in a respectful manner. The group is heading into the next hitch with a clear understanding of how to interact with one another. This will be important in communicating ideas, and meeting individual needs in the future. We are establishing a safe environment ready for the group to grow together.