We have returned, dust covered, stronger and our skin several shades darker after our first five days in the backcountry. We’ve been camped out under the rocky, red face of Kangaroo Mountain, loving the water that ﬂows from beneath a giant boulder in a field of grass, tiger lilies, yarrow, and beautiful ﬂowers. This scene stands in stark contrast to our work site, a rocky ridge sprouting small patches of green foliage beneath the white remains of the manzanita and the charred remains of the trees that grew here before the fire that burned last summer.
Our project is to remove brush from the corridor of the Boundary Trail, and to repair the trail tread in the places where it needs some love. The trail, at about 6,000 feet in elevation, runs from the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail (PCT) along a ridge that connects Kangaroo, Desolation and Rattlesnake mountains. It is slated to become one of the missing pieces of the Coast to Crest Trail that will run from Crater Lake to the Pacific coast.
To avoid the hottest part of the day, we begin work at 6 AM, when we hike the section of the PCT from Kangaroo springs out to our section of trail for the day. Our day begins with views of Mt. Shasta, weaving up switchbacks that climb through thimbleberry and a dense shrub layer, out around the corner until we come around the corner to the where the fire came through, not yet illuminated by the quickly rising sun. We spent our first days retreading the first half mile of trail, and brushing out a corridor wide enough for stock, and to keep the trail brush free until the next trail crew can get out there in future years.
We are rewarded for our work with lower temperatures than are found down in the valley, cool breezes and stunning views of the Siskiyou mountain range. The cool water, shade, and food back at camp is a welcome home.
We will also spend our next hitch here at the springs, ten days this time, packed in by the legendary Bill Roberts, and his team of strong and gentle horses and mules. We look forward to covering more trail, and meeting more PCT through-hikers on this water oasis at the top of the Devils.
Work Day 1: 2,300 feet of trail tread rehabilitated and corridor cleared
Work Day 2: A much brushier 1,200 feet of trail cleared and touched up.
Work Day 3: Another 2,500 feet of trail tread re-established.