Photographs are available on the links provided at the bottom of this web page.

16/Jun/07 Golden Cup Trail at Crystal Lake Recreation Area

Golden Cup

Today was another exciting, fun-packed day in the Angeles National Forest! Exercise! Sweat! Blisters! Sunburn! Sunstroke! But at least I got an opportunity to see the results of the Golden Cup Nature Trail's bridge-building effort from two weeks ago (see photographs listed toward the bottom of this web page.)

A small band of intrepid trailbuilders gathered at the Rincon Fire Station, collected some tools, then headed North into the Crystal Lake Recreation Area (which is still closed) to spend some time working on restoring the Golden Cup Nature Trail which had seen a considerable amount of flood damage since fires had closed the campgrounds some time back in 2002.

The first thing was to examine the work that had been done on 02/Jun/07 and it looks good! When the next heavy rains come (assuming they ever do) we will have to see whether the central channel of the rock bridge stays in place, and it may be that after water settles things, some maintenance will need to be done on and around the foot bridge.

Still, the bridge looks great! A lot of Boy Scouts and such spent a lot of time and effort to fill in the gap left by previous flooding and when the campgrounds open (assuming it ever will) the Golden Cup Nature Trail will be a complete loop.

Much of the lower sections of the trail are gullies -- water has dug deep channels right down the center of the trail and not only do the channels need to be filled in and the topped off with gravel, rock bars to divert water have to be built and side channels must be dug to divert water to reduce what washes along the trail.

Two things needed to be done today... No, three things: Check out the new rock bridge, do some work on Golden Cup, then examine the condition if Islip Trail.


After about two and a half hours of work on Golden Cup (which got us about 20 feet of perfectly reworked trail, a new rock wall along an information sign, and a new water diverting trench) we packed up the tools, had lunch, and then hiked over to the Islip trailhead.

Much of Islip had burned during the Curve Fire of 2002 -- or was it 2003? Any way at least half of the moderately long hiking trail (which informally circles the lake) had burned out completely. While the brush, Sugar Pine, and Oak had all been massacred down to the last sapling, we found that a great deal of brush had recovered very well over the past five years.

Mike noticed that there were "exactly none" new pine tree saplings growing anywhere within sight of the trail in the burned out sections. Tom, I think it was, or maybe it was Ben -- they noticed only one new pine tree sapling growing.

This area might actually be a good area for a tree planting effort provided volunteers are scheduled over the following year to periodically water the new trees. Islip Trail used to be a trail that hikers could count on to provide a considerable amount of shade and the only way to restore that would be for volunteers to replant the area.

The trail itself is in GREAT shape! There's not that much actual tread work that needs to be done however there are a great many burned up trees that have fallen across the trail, some of which contain dense knots of roots and captive rock which will require heavy equipment (packed in on people's backs) to drag off of the trail.


Maybe once the burned trees are sectioned up or dragged off of the trail, some Boy Scout or other motivated individual will get with the U. S. Forest Service and organize a tree planting and a year of follow-up tree watering to start the restoration process.

I sure hope so! I hate seeing dead trees since I always think about my furry forest friends who now have no place to live -- those who don't starve to death, that is. Fire is a natural process and a healthy forest is one that burns from time to time, I know. The Curve Fire was started by humans holding a Christianized African ritual, though, which makes this destruction seem an un-natural, criminal act.

Over the next couple of decades we will continue to have new deadfalls blocking the Islip Trail as the Oak trees that had burned to death start giving way and falling. This is a bit of a danger to the visiting hikers, bikers, and campers who will use the trail however volunteers with the proper equipment (that is, with the proper safety gear) will work the area to bring down potentially dangerous limbs and trees. It will take many years but eventually the trail will be fully restored and reasonably safe again.

On the way back down the mountain, Tom and I paused a moment to examine some of the pine tree saplings that had been planted across from Coldbrook Campground about two or three years ago. They are all doing fine and it turns out that at least one person is still watering them from time to time.

Back down into the stinking City of Azusa, Tom noticed a street sign that someone had modified which read, "No Left Turn on Ed." I puzzled over its meaning for a few minutes then told Tom, "How DARE they tell me what I may or may not do with my friends!"


* Note to self: Proper safety bots are required for this type of work
* A look at the foot bridge that was done two weeks ago. Looks good
* Rock bridge from another point of view
* Rock bridge from another point of view
* Rock bridge from another point of view
* First photograph of general area, panning left (toward the West)
* Next in series panning left
* Next in series panning left, taking a look at the Golden Cup area
* And a final look at the rock bridge
* The trail itself shows considerable water damage
* The area we will work on near one of the information signs
* This lower section of the trail is generally rocky with little shade
* Much of the trail down here is a gully that will be filled in eventually
* A trench is dug to divert flood water off of the nature trail
* The fill for the trail gillies is carted from the trench in buckets
* Some of the trail doesn't look like a trail any more
* Section of rock wall is in and about 20 feet of trail gets filled in
* The lower sections of the trail will need to all look like this eventually
* More trenches like this one to divert water will be needed as well
* From the upper Crystal Lake parking area a view West
* Islip Trailhead from the upper Crystal Lake parking lot
* Maim and then inprison all damned spray painting bastards for life
* The start of Islip Trail looks to be untouched by the fires
* Fire damage. Note that lower growth has come back very well
* Another view of brush making it back. My dog Sam eats purple flowers
* Looking out across the Recreation Area generally South East
* Long view of devestation, part of Highway 39 visible from here
* Smith Mountain has the Bear Creek hiking trail, visible from here
* Bayonet Yucca continues to thrive in the burned area
* Some burned trees will have to be pulled down manual for safety
* Looking generally South East
* A difficult root knot -- we may divert the trail around this one
* Patches of trees were untouched by the fires
* A look across the Recreation Area, looking generally East
* A final look and then we turn around and head back down the mountain

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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