Through the smog and over the endless line of cars, the Angeles crew members caught a glimpse of the Angeles forest and its mountains towering above LA. Some drove; some flew; but we all converged at the Chilao Fire Station and Meadow Campground to begin this 3 month adventure. We were lucky to share these first few days in a new strange place with the Las Vegas Bird Squad. The nights were unexpectedly cool and the days predictably hot, as both crews crash coursed through SCA orientation and quickly learned the ropes of non-stop living and working in an outdoor setting.
Bird Squad stayed with us through Aerie Wilderness First Aid. Once we all had proven our new wilderness medicine prowess, the WFA instructors were gone, along with the Bird Squad; but the fast pace of training and orientation did not cease. From WFA to trails training. In three days we learned how to dig tread, construct trail structures to counteract erosion, and successfully avoid our arch nemesis: Poodle Dog Bush. We realized the drastic effects the Station Fire had on the area and immediately jumped at the challenging opportunity of repairing the Silver Moccasin Trail. Check steps transformed an area that was a two foot gully and ankle twisting hazard area into a healthy passable trail. Our main frustration with the area was not the heat or the lack of any overhead reprieve from the sun but that our nemesis had taken root in some of the major areas needing work. Some areas PDB just filled the trail.
By Sunday evening, the crew was happily exhausted and looking forward to their first two days off but still thinking with excitement about the next week’s training and work.