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Propping up the trunk so that it can be bucked

Way back in November of 2008 the San Gabriel Mountains Trailbuilders had a whole lot of fun removing a very large tree trunk from the rock-and-concrete drainage culvert along the stairs leading down to Crystal Lake (see http://www.crystallake.name/twork/01nov08/01nov08.php for that fun.)

Though we got that puppy lifted out enough to cut it up in to sections and remove it from the culvert, the corrugated metal drainage sluice at the far end was heavily damaged and we didn't have the tools needed to bend that thing back in to shape.

Until today! Since November that bent metal has haunted my dreams -- a job left undone. Yeah, there are thousands of things that need to be done all over the Angeles National Forest but a blocked drainage culvert during heavy rains can cause problems that take a week to fix.

This particular stone-and-concrete drainage culvert had been blocked previously about four years ago and a mud slide during heavy rains filled up the culvert entirely, overflowing down the stairs so that six inches of mud accumulated on the two large landings of the stairs swamping the bench seating.

The paid contractors tasked with restoring the infrastructure came in with shovels and a lot of hard work and got it all cleared out though it must have taken them a lot of time and hard work.

Ben seems to be having a lot of fun

So keeping the culverts cleared is a very good thing to do! Five hours of preventative volunteer work compared with three or four days of aftermath contract work ends up being a win for the beleaguered tax payer and keeps us volunteers in good shape!

Today there were eight of us, enough people to dig out, cut up, and haul away the heavy tree trunk sections laying along side of the bent corrugated metal sluice and to shovel off the accumulated dirt, rock, and leaves from the stairs. Once the broken trunk was bucked up and the sections hauled down below for eventual removal, the bent metal could be addressed.

Several thousand pounds had dropped on the sluice and trying to pry the pinched-off end apart was very difficult. Heavy rock bars and sledge hammers only pulled the ends apart for a time until the pressure was released and then the ends would spring back together.

Eventually we were able to work a floor jack in to the gap, spreading the metal apart wide enough to jam some wood boards in to the gap so that we could reposition the jack and widen the gap up some more. A hack saw was used to relieve some of the bind pressure along the top and then a very large pipe wrench was used to bend the horizontal corrugation waves apart.

Success! Now the gap that was about three inches wide is about seven inches which should be wide enough to pass tree bark and small rocks enough that during the rains to come things won't back up. From time to time from now on we will check the culvert to make sure that it's kept clear.

We cram a floor jack in to the gap

And what fun it was, too!

The old foot bridge that crosses a stream where Pinyon Ridge Trail and Soldier Creek Trail meet was examined today as well since the bridge should really be replaced with something better. A Boy Scout Eagle candidate will be replacing the bridge and hopefully it will look better than the old one and not have two inch wide gaps in the tread!

After examining that foot bridge we returned to the new stone bridge that Boy Scouts and Trailbuilders assembled at the Lake Trail trailhead and looked it over to see how it held up to the mild rains and snow that we had so far.

Finally we returned to the Environmental Education Center bridge that the Trailbuilders had built and a wooden board was installed on the tread to close up a small gap of our own -- then we were done for the day!

Photographs! We have them!

* The lower parking lot and the start of the drainage culvert on top
* From the parking lot we look generally North East and a patch of snow
* Rock bars lift the tree trunk while rocks and logs are used to prop it up
* The bent drainage culvert and you can tell how much fun us volunteers have!
* We get a floor jack crammed in to the culvert and we start spreading it apart
* Meanwhile the tree trunks continue to get bucked up and removed
* The Crystal Lake snack bar across from the USFS Visitor Center
* The Crystal Lake snack bar across from the USFS Visitor Center
* A California Black Bear welcomes visitors to Crystal Lake
* The USFS Visitor Center -- we need to do some work inside before it opens
* Black-on-black kitty! Camera shy, doesn't talk much
* Back at the work site we take a break for lunch
* Look at the excellent work volunteers did cleaning off the stairs!
* All of the stairs all the way down to the lake were cleaned off
* With the metal gap spread open, a pipe wrench is used to spread waves apart
* Cutting with a hack saw and prying with a jack handle also works!
* Everyone seems to be wearing jackets
* The very tall pine tree in the center of this photographs is dead, alas
* The old dance studio just above the open air ampitheature
* The old dance studio just above the open air ampitheature
* The old dance studio just above the open air ampitheature
* The old dance studio just above the open air ampitheature
* The old dance studio just above the open air ampitheature
* The open air amiptheature as seen from the hillside above
* The foot bridge at Pinyon Ridge gets examined
* The foot bridge at Pinyon Ridge gets examined
* The foot bridge at Pinyon Ridge gets examined
* The foot bridge at Pinyon Ridge gets examined
* The gully bridge steps -- This is on Lake Trail
* Lake Trail gully rock bridge
* Lake Trail gully rock bridge
* A view from where the Caltrans gate is located around mile post 30
* The Rincon Fire Station sign -- just because
* Flowers at the Education Center
* Flowers at the Education Center
* California Lilac growing heavilly in the stream behind the Center
* Lots of poison oak in the stream! Yikes!
* Close-up of California Lilac

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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