Morning safety meeting

Today we had volunteers from Cal Poly join about 50 volunteers from the Boy Scouts to work along Lost Ridge Trail and Lake Trail.

And what fun and windy cold it was, too!

Lost Ridge Trail is about one mile long, when tallied all together, going from the upper parking lot at the lake itself generally North up to Deer Flats Group Campground, the lower section of which parallels Lake Road and meets up with Lake Trail.

Lake Trail starts at Crystal Lake Road, the road that one drives up on the way to the United States Forest Service Visitor Center, just about maybe 300 feet or so South of the main Visitor Center parking lot. Once one crosses a short ravine Lake Trail heads generally toward the North West and up against the mountains, crosses Lake Road. Once one crosses Lake Road the trail heads generally South all the way to the lake itself, meeting up with Lost Ridge Trail.

This was a very light work day for the San Gabriel Mountains Trailbuilders. The work consisted of working the tread on both trails, cutting back brush, and working to reduce water-caused erosion by knocking the berm off of the outslope of the trails. Because there were a great many young people working, the Trailbuilders focused on watching the younger volunteers and ensuring that tree limbs overhead were evaluated for safety as the work progressed.

Because it was very light work, I think that maybe the Cal Poly students that came out did not find the effort all that satisfying since they mentioned they were looking for a day where they could get dirty, sweaty, and some heavy exercise which the Trailbuilder volunteer days usually serve up times twelve, more so during Summer months. Still, hopefully the Cal Poly students will return for when we tackle the deadfalls across Big Cienega Trail which will require heavy work.

Working in the cold on Lost Ridge Trail

Every work day begins with checking the Project Activity Level to ensure that we would be complying with the daily rules and regulations posted for the Angeles National Forest, and because of the high wind advisory posted for the day, we could not work with chainsaws -- which we could not have used anyway since we needed every experienced adult to provide safety oversight to add to the adult oversight provided by the Scout Masters and parents who participated.

The Trailbuilders and Cal Poly students met at the Gateway Information Center above Azuza and promptly at 8:00 we packed in to our cars and headed North on Highway 39 to the Rincon Fire Station where a great many Boy Scouts joined us. After checking in with our Los Angeles Dispatch safety overlords we gathered our tools and equipment and headed North again to Crystal Lake where we found more Boy Scouts waiting to join the effort.

As usual every day before work begins we had a safety meeting. Ben covered the tools, equipment, and the flora and fauna that would be encountered today. Mostly the work needed McLeods and shovels with occasional loppers to cut back brush. Tree limbs were easily removed from the trail and one downed tree along Lake Road was shoved out of the way to afford access to our vehicles.

In all it was a very good day out, the kids enjoyed the exercise and both trails got a good clearing and once-over from end to end. Lost Ridge Trail is left with a single downed tree across the trail that needs a chainsaw to buck it up eventually, but with the effort today I think we can claim that both trails are fully awesome.

The next volunteer day is the 17th of December and we could expect to see snow at Crystal Lake by then which would make working on the trails a bit more difficult than seems reasonable to try, yet even without snow the Trailbuilders may start working on the lower altitude hiking trails, perhaps along Upper Bear Creek Trail past Smith Mountain Saddle which needs a lot of work.

Working in the cold on Lost Ridge Trail

I think we need more of this, we need to have more children come to the mountains to spend a day working on hiking and nature trails, working with the soil and plants and enjoying the outing while getting outdoor exercise like this. There is always a great deal of work that can be done in the San Gabriel Mountains such that an easy day like today and be picked, or a gruelingly difficult, work-past-exhaustion day can be picked, all depending upon what the volunteers want to do.

It has been seen that many kids often don't know exactly what they're capable of, and over the years the Trailbuilders have taken young volunteers up mountain ridges in blistering heat, across flowing rivers that kids didn't know they could handle until making it across, through dust-filled days slinging literally tons of dirt and rock, moving huge boulders with equipment and tools that they believed they couldn't budge leave alone build bridges and walls with.

Volunteering with the Trailbuilders allows younger kids to stretch themselves and while they may return home sunburned, maybe breaking out in poison oak, covered in dirt and exhausted, at the end of the day they always enjoyed the effort and seem to have enough energy to run around and throw things and push and shove each other while tools are being packed back in to storage while the adults are about dead on their feet.

It was a good day, and any effort that gets kids out of the house, away from the television, game boxes, and Internet for a while is more so a good day.

* Group picture at the end of the day
* Posing for a photo with Trailbuilder Ben
* Ruggedly handsome mountain man with his new hat and Trailbuilder Bryuan
* Ruggedly handsome mountain man with his new hat and Trailbuilder Bryuan
* Ben and the notorious Crystal Lake Axe Murderer pause for a photo
* Freshly painted Visitor Center
* Ben gives the morning's safety meeting
* Ben covers the tools we will be using for the day's effort
* The volunteers pay attention to the safety instructions
* Bryan unwraps a saw before handing it to Ben
* Since it was cold, most of the volunteers had jackets
* Ben describes the curved saw and how it's best used
* Working along Lost Ridge Trail
* Hats is also a very good idea when working in the mountains
* Mostly tread work all along Lost Ridge Trail
* Some places along the trail have erosion issues
* Working along the trail in the cold
* The McLeod tools getting used on the tread
* One tree that still needs to be bucked up and get removed with a saw
* A lone volunteer far off in the distance along Lost Ridge Trail
* Looks like the lone volunteer is heading South
* Much of the tread clings to the hillside
* Toward the end of the Lost Ridge Trail effort
* Some volunteers get covered in ash while others put it on like war paint
* Ben pauses to have his photograph taken with other volunteers
* A group photograph toward the end of the Lost Ridge Trail effort
* Bundled up at the end of the first effort
* At the end of the first effort
* At the end of the first effort
* At the end of the first effort
* At the end of the first effort
* At the end of the first effort
* At the end of the first effort
* At the end of the first effort
* At the end of the first effort
* At the end of the first effort
* At the end of the first effort
* The tools are packed in to the vehicles before we take lunch break
* While waiting for tools to be packed away
* While waiting for tools to be packed away
* While waiting for tools to be packed away

Site map is at: Crystal Lake site map

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.

E-Mail Crystal Lake Camp Ground