Hitch 3: Lost and Found in Big T Canyon


Despite our struggles with the heat, the PDB & poison oak and the sun from our previous hitch, we arrived back into Big T canyon ready to continue our work. The arrival of two new crew members had everyone renewed with energy, as well as knowing that we had finished Stone Canyon and would be moving on to other trails within the area.

The first day we attempted to finish Trail Canyon, but because of the years of neglect, the trail disappears around 2.5 miles in. There beside the creek, the trail suddenly vanishes into seven foot poison oak bushes and human sized yucca plants, which blocked our progress. We moved to Condor Peak, where the sun exposure, heat of the day and severe trail erosion prevented us from completing the 8-mile hike. Next we spent a morning hunting for the remnants of Grizzly Flats trail; from Big T canyon, it has been swallowed up by the forest regrowth but from Angeles Crest Highway we were able to clear and retread the first 1.5 miles. C.B and J. Otto took turns running the saw, taking out the fallen snags blocking these trails. Finally, we had to report to our site contact that there was nothing further we could do in the area, short of rebuilding whole trails. It was humbling to see the affect the fire had on the soil, trees and trail stability.

On Saturday, we went to Red Box for National Trails Day. We worked on the Gabrielino Trail, reinforcing the first 10 feet from the trailhead with timber structures and restoring an area where mountain bikes had been eroding the hillside. We planted yucca plants to deter any further passage. For the next day and a half, we worked on Mt. Disappointment Trail, repairing switchbacks, repairing drains, and clearing brush. Our final day of work consisted of summited Mt. Wilson (in our truck) and working down on the Kenyon-Devore trail. The view from the top was spectacular; on that particular day, the formation of cumulus clouds (not often seen in this area) offered a cool breeze and occasional shade from the sun.

Despite our frustration with the work, spirits were high for the majority of hitch. The creeks were our reprieve from the heat and good cooking from everyone had us sitting around at the end of the day, happily full, laughing and playing cards while the sun set.

The last day we received the news we had all been anticipating: next hitch we will be working elsewhere in the forest. Our exact location is unknown but our final meeting was filled with excited speculation.