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Drainage clearing along Golden Cup Nature Trail

Looking at Google Earth we could see a large dead tree laying across the drainage channel along the Golden Cup Nature Trail within the Crystal Lake Recreation Area, located within the Angeles National Forest in the San Gabriel Mountains. Because the tree could potentially block the water and debris fill up behind it washing out the trail, the Trailbuilders decided to look at what it looked like in real life and, if it constituted an actual problem, buck it up and remove it from the drainage.

We met at the Forest Service's Gateway Information Center above Azusa along Highway 39 at the base of the mountains, and promptly at 8:00 a.m. we packed up aboard our vehicles and headed North to the Rincon Fire Station where we collected our tools and equipment needed for the day's efforts, and from there we headed further North along Highway 39 to Crystal Lake and the work site.

Joining the the Usual Gang of Idiots, as MAD Magazine likes to call regular contributors to an effort, was a number of Boy Scouts from a local Troop looking for some exercise lending a hand in the local community.

At Golden Cup we had our daily safety review, covering the Job Hazard Analysis where we discussed the flora and fauna that should be avoided in the Angeles National Forest, what tools we would be using and how to use them safely, and we covered the Project Activity Levels for the region which informed us that all chainsaw efforts must stop at 13:00.

After the safety review it was time to get to work!

4 foot rock wall along Big Cienega

Having willing helping hands for the day's efforts turned out to result in an exceptionally productive day! While crews bucked up the dead tree truck across the drainage to ensure that it would not back up, the volunteers worked on clearing a stone bridge walk away across the drain further up along the trail, excavating a filling basin so that the coming rains will continue to stay off of the trail, reducing erosion greatly.

When Golden Cup was finished, we packed back in to our vehicles and headed to Mount Hawkins Road above the Deer Flats Group Campground, and parked at the trailhead for Big Cienega where the week previously the Trailbuilders had discovered 3 major washouts of the trail along ravines that had been scrubbed down through torrential rains a month before.

Looking at the first washout and examining the effort to fix it, we thought that maybe we would be able to repair the first washout and then run out of time, leaving the other two for another day. Instead the effort went very quickly, very smooth and organized. When the first washout was repaired, we moved on to the next, and when that was done it was time to fix the third and most difficult washout.

The third washout was the worse, the water speed and quantity that had come down here was the worse, and it was this washout that required building a four foot high retaining wall with rocks carefully selected, stacked, and positioned to retain soil for the tread that was brought in by volunteers to re-establish the trail.

After trail work on Golden Cup and after repairing all three washouts on Big Cienega, we were faced with a rare phenomena: We had an hour left to spare! Instead of starting a third project for the day we decided to quit early and head back down the mountain, drop our tools and equipment off at the Rincon Fire Station, then we were done!

It ended up being a very good day. While there was rain and heavy fog in the cities below, working above 6000 feet we had sunny skies, and while it was a little cold, doing heavy work fixed that!

* Goden Cup Discovery Trail
* The daily safety meeting, JHA, PAL, everything!
* Volunteers clearing the stone bridge walk way across the drainage
* The rock work you see here is all trail work done by volunteers
* First look at the dead tree down across the drainage
* The fill basin along the ravine gets empited of debris
* Notice the rocks applied by the awesome sawyer to keep things from moving
* Another look at the fill basin, a new berm has been established
* Trailbuilder Fred takes a break! Laying on a dead tree trunk, relaxing
* Clouds dumping rain on the cities far below
* First washout along Big Cienega gets repaired
* Notice the rock retaining going in on the first washout while fill is brought
* The first washout continues to get repaired
* Looking at the rock chute down which the water comes on the first washout
* The washout fixed! Man, that looks AWESOME!
* Looking down on the second washout repair efforts
* The second washout getting progress
* A look at the third washout before repair efforts. 4 feet deep!
* The second washout fully repaired. AWESOME!
* Repairs start on the third and most difficult washout.
* The rock retaining wall is almost finished
* A better look at the rock retaining wall and the trail work gone in so far
* Volunteers pack fill in among the heavier rocks for the retaining wall
* A look back along the second washout
* Tread work lower on the trail widened narrow areas and repaired erosion

Site map is at: Crystal Lake site map
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This web site is not operated or maintained by the US Forest Service, and the USFS does not have any responsibility for the contents of any page provided on the http://CrystalLake.Name/ web site. Also this web site is not connected in any way with any of the volunteer organizations that are mentioned in various web pages, including the San Gabriel Mountains Trailbuilders (SGMTBs) or the Angeles Volunteers Association (AVA.) This web site is privately owned and operated. Please note that information on this web page may be inaccurate.

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