Photographs are provided at the bottom of this web page. A short video of the photographs is also provided at the end of this page.

Before we start

Today was a cold, wet, foggy day so there were only three of us working at the lower bridge going in at the Environmental Education Center at Rincon Fire Station in the Angeles National Forest within the San Gabriel River Ranger District of the USFS. Despite the rain and everything being somewhat wet, we got a great deal of work done!

We inspected the upper bridge to see how it was taking care of the large volume of water that the new concrete we put in was shipping and everything was working the way the San Gabriel Mountains Trailbuilders' engineers designed it.

While working today we noticed that some time in the previous week during the rains the water level along the creek had been much higher than it was today but despite the heavy surge of water, the upper bridge was in fine shape and handled it all perfectly, as expected.


Down below at the lower footing we found the new footing that is going in was flooded. We also found the gate to the Environmental Center to be improperly locked so we had to hand carry all of our tools an additional 300 feet or so -- just more work for us and just a minor annoyance.

Patrick (USFS) stopped by in a new Rubicon vehicle that maybe the USFS is looking at utilizing in the area. The new vehicle looks like it's a perfect, extremely safe vehicle for safety patrolling and Patrick really looked high-core, rugged, and extreme in the new vehicle.

To say that I was jealous is an understatement! The rugged, solid vehicle is perfect for Patrick, it seems to me, and perfect for safely working in these canyons. But truth be told, I always prefer ancient, broken down but reliable motorized dinosaurs from the 1960's and 1970's Ford Vehicles era, and at final reflection I will also love ancient, single-speed bicycles the best.

The first thing that was done was Tom cleared out the blockage of the temporary dogbone foot bridge so that the heavy volume of water wasn't shipping over the top of the temporary bridge. That drained the lower footing that we needed to excavate so we were not having to work in a flood.

The existing dogbones were peeled off of the stack and set aside so that we could dig into the near hillside. We needed to establish a secondary stacked cube of 60 pound dogbones locked into the first stack and also set into the hillside itself for additional anchorage.

To be sure this doubles the work, doubles the materials, but the SGMTBs design things to last through time and through heavy flooding and heavy foot use and the time and effort spent now reduces the maintenance needed in the future.

Tom and Mike utilized the LASER leveler to ensure that the excavation for the secondary tie-in stack of dogbones was going in reasonably level and that it matched the height of the footing assembly on the far side of the creek.

We are finished

Careful measurements, marking points along the stack, and constant re-measurements ensured that the near footing was as close to equal to the footing on the far embankment as we could make it. It may be that a quarter-inch shim will need to be placed into the new stacking eventually.

Because three very large boulders had to be removed while rebuilding the dogbone footing stacks, tying the new one into the embankment and then filling it all in again, we were short a fairly large volume of dirt -- so we carried gravel, rock, and sand in from various other points around the surrounding forest in buckets until the new footing was completely filled in.

In all it looks really great! Some additional measurements and adjustments will have to be made and eventually the very large boulders that have been moved around will be placed at the face of the base of the footing to slow down the creek water before the water impacts the footing, and then the actual bridge itself will be built and assembled on the footings.

The amount of work that we got done was impressive, more so since I spent a lot of time standing around while the engineers did their measurements and adjustments. We could have used a Boy Scout or two to do some hauling but we got the work done early so we actually completed the work and left something like two hours earlier than usual.

And it was fun, as usual!


* The lower bridge footing before we begin work for the day
* The temporary dogbone bridge is flooded
* And the bridge footing that we'll be working on is also flooded
* A high volume of water is coming down the creek
* Tom inspects the upper bridge to see how it's handleing the water
* A closer look at the upper bridge
* This is the amount of water currently going through the creek
* The new concrete is all in place and working perfectly
* Looking down stream at the flowing water
* Mike comes up to also inspect the upper bridge
* And Mike moves some boulders around where the upper bridge railing is
* Mike examines the water flow through the upper bridge
* Back down at the lower footin before work begins
* We start excavating the near enbankment
* The existing dogbone footing is removed and we dig, dig, dig
* We start laying in the new dogbones after everything is level
* I stacked up dogbones and then we did some more measurements
* During lunch I walked to the San Gabriel River to see how much water
* The rain came and went and along with it the fog came and went
* A new sign instructs Elmers where to cross the river
* The river has a large volume of water filling up the basins below
* Morris and San Gabriel basins are starting to fill up very slowly
* The footing is completed after a short lunch break
* A final look at the entire lower bridge area as it currently exists

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.

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