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Photographs are offered in the links at the bottom of this page.

Trail Work Before Trail Work After

Today the San Gabriel Mountains Trailbuilders continued working on the North Fork access trail from the main highway down to the San Gabriel River below. At the same time a second crew of volunteers resumed work on the new bridge going in next to the Environmental Education Center across from the Rincon Station.

The new access trail is located at:

North 34 degrees 14.982 by West 117 degrees, 51.773 at 1754 feet.

Three or four first-time volunteers joined the effort, all of whom were able to work well with the rising heat of the day and also with the at-times strenuous effort of the job at hand: Two guys who do a lot of lengthy bicycle trips up and down these canyons, a guy named Aggie (spelling?) who works just as hard in real life, and another first-timer who worked hard on the first leg of the new trail.

This particular trail building in the Angeles National Forest is part of a larger effort to reduce pollution, improve safety, and increase the water quality in and along the San Gabriel River. (Traditionally the San Gabriel Mountains Trailbuilders work on nature and hiking trails but these access trails are an important aspect of improving conditions in the canyons.)

The morning started on time though there was some paper work to attend to and there was a dead Forest Service radio that needed to be evaluated and sent in for repairs (the PTT switch was intermittent and I suspect there were other problems. These radios are extremely rugged and (I'm convinced, any way) will work under mud, water, and rock slides but occasionally something breaks when a pickax is driven through one.)

The mountain bikers, the other guy (sorry I didn't get your name) and Jannet (will I ever be able to spell her name correctly?) worked on legs one and two of the trail with particular attention to the rock retaining wall along the first switchback. While I didn't get photographs of the work they did, it looks great.

Aggie and I used pick mattox tools on the second leg of the trail, working around the boulders in the path to get them to the point where the rock drilling could be done. Mike, Ben and Bron did the boulder busting using the drill, wedges, and hammers. Tom and Lou did the bridge foundation building South of us at the Environmental Education Center. Bernie worked on the tred of the trail and also worked on busting up rocks with the drill.

This is the first time I've volunteered for this work while wearing earphones connected to an MP3 player. Usually playing music (actually I wasn't playing music, I had Aerosmith loaded in my player instead) might not be exactly a safe idea since usually one wants to be able to hear boulders, rocks, mud slides, flying shovels wicking through the air, and avalanches coming down on you, but I got into the groove, chopping into the embankment in time with Aerosmith, pausing in the middle of "Living on the Edge" when the music stops, then resuming when it did.

Lunch was four cans of tea, drunk while standing shoeless and shirtless in the river (in the Summer I'd be down to a loin cloth if not for the loud objections of the more civilized members of our team.) Getting into the shade and cooling off was good. Climbing back up to the road and sleeping in the shade of an ancient oak tree for about 15 minutes was also good -- while drivers in cars slowed down to stare at my possibly unsightly remains. Once they saw that forestry work was taking place, they assumed I wasn't some dead homeless guy in the road and sped back up again.

All of the boulders on legs one and two that needed to be removed or shifted got moved. As you can see from the photographs, long sections of the trail were worked to the point where they are three and four feet wide. With the boulders out of the way the trail widening effort sweeping up and down the trail will be a bit easier.

It may be that this access trail will be completed in time for the large numbers of visitors expected this Summer.

On the way back down the mountain, we drove past the dead skunk that someone had peeled off of the highway and piled along the side of the road. I asked Ben to pull over and stop so I could add it to my collection but he wouldn't stop.

* Horses staging up at the Rincon Station to do 'volunteer' work
* Work crew gathering tools to use at both work locations
* This is a tractor at Rincon I wish to borrow for a short while
* This is the section of the highway we're working on today
* A first look at leg one of the access trail before work begins
* Oak tree at first switchback before we begin work for the day
* A look at leg two at switchback one before we begin work
* More of leg two of the trail before we begin today's work
* The final section of leg two, boulders are still in the path
* One of the boulder fields that we must chop up and remove today
* The other boulder field on leg two that must be removed
* A look at leg three of the trail before we begin work today
* A sample of a split rock is shown here. Probably split decades ago
* Jannet and others heading up to the first switchback
* Rock drill getting moved into position after rocks are dug out
* The boulder at the start of the access trail gets chopped up
* One of today's crews working hard on leg two of the trail
* Bicycle riders on the right, rock busters center -- what fun!
* Mike and Bron continue to work on leg one's boulders
* Bernie and Aggie digging up boulders on leg two, clearing tred
* Ben and Bernie using feathers, wedges, and hammers to split boulders
* Watch your fingers! When all else fails, use your brains <laugh>
* Still on leg one's rocks. That one took a lot of work
* My camera some times goes off all on its own for some reason
* Get close and friendly with the rocks you're busting up
* More of the same. Note the use of protective safety gear
* A look at leg two which hasn't gotten too much attention just yet
* And a part of section two which has been getting a lot of attention
* Take a look at how much hard work Aggie has done so far. Wow!
* The trees and brush have been growing out early this year
* And work on the first leg's boulders continues
* Another look at the trees growing out -- even with little rain so far
* Offering suggestions on the tred with Jannet
* Probably should have just used detcord on these boulders, guys
* The guy in the background collects the rocks for the wall building
* A gathering of sorts at one of the remaining boulders to move
* Some boulders will stay and be used to retain the dirt trail
* Tred number two as seen from switchback under the ancient oak
* Boulder group one is done! Looks like it exploded when it was done
* A crew pauses work to have a photograph taken
* Hey Mike! Are you tired yet? Try lugging this heavy camera around
* Rock me gently on leg two. There's still more boulders to chop up
* A closer look at the drilling and hammering
* And another look at the trees growing along the San Gabriel River
* Here's one of the problems we must fix: Water pollution. Disgusting
* The Trailbuilders always collect this garbage when we're working a trail
* A look at a cleaner section of the river -- good enough to wash in
* We're pretty much done, packing up our tools for the day
* Meanwhile, bridge footing done by Lou and Tom looks great!
* Our hard-won hole has been filled in with dog bones and gravel
* The footing on the other bank has been built up as well

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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