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Photographs are provided at the bottom of this web page. A video of these photographs will be added to the end of this page later today. Better photographs will be posted later as well so keep checking this web page for updates!

Before work begins

Windy Gap Trail Wall Building, Boy Scout Troop 636 and Others

North 34 degrees, 20.379 by West 117 degrees, 49.701 at 6811 feet

"Energetic!" That's the best word to describe yesterday's trail restoration project at Windy Gap Trail in the Crystal Lake Recreation Area of the Angeles National Forest. Another good term to describe yesterday is "Leadership."

The San Gabriel Mountain Trailbuilders and a number of other first time and occasional volunteers met with Boy Scout Troop 636 to build a rock retaining wall along a section of Windy Gap Trail which has been repeatedly inundated with a rock slide that has made the trail unacceptably dangerous to use.

Bron and Scout

The new rock wall will hold back the hillside enough that only regular, less difficult trail maintenance will be needed over the years rather than more strenuous efforts to repeatedly re-open the trail after every rock slide.

From the start I could see that the day's project was going to be one of the better organized and successful large efforts thanks to the direction of the Boy Scout who had the task of ensuring that the project was done and done safely.

For the first part of the day the Scout in charge sat atop a boulder and directed the effort to select, collect, and move large boulders from where they could be found up to the new wall site. Every one of the volunteers, adults and Scouts included, exhibited a level of energy and initiative that was phenomenal!

Time for lunch

I was very impressed, not only with the leadership but the ENERGY that the adults and Scouts displayed yesterday. It wasn't easy work -- good grief, no! -- but everyone without exception met the challenge and kept going, even when very tired, and even when the water started to run out.

Parents took direction and orders from the Scout in charge as much as the Boy Scout volunteers did, and one parent mentioned to me that the best way to let their kids get on with the job at hand is for parents to shut up, stand back, and LET them get on with the job, and that's what I saw during this project (with a few exceptions.)

Tell kids what needs to be done and let them do it rather than tell them HOW to do it, and I think things go very smoothly. The true mark of leadership is making sure things get done, that they get done safely, and knowing WHEN to assist but even more importantly when NOT to. And this Scout lead this project very well.

Boy Scout in charge

Large boulders had to be levered out of a rock gully down to the trail below using long metal bars and a lot of hard work and sweat! Then the boulders had to be carried up to the wall site, usually using heavy dollies which themselves weighed over 100 pounds. The boulders were placed near the wall going up and other volunteer crews worked the boulders up in to place.

The wall is completed

Breakfast and lunch was provided, and even guys like me who don't eat animals was able to have something during our lunch break. I had a gallon and a half of water and drank most of it however many volunteers started running out of water -- which was unfortunate since many bottles of water had been left down below which really should have been brought up -- Scouts and adults were told to bring more water with them but maybe they misjudged how much they would be needing.

There were a few scrapes, crushed toes and fingers, maybe some sunburn, but I think everyone had a lot of fun.

* High Resolution: Hauling a boulder up the trail
* High Resolution: A long view at the rock ravine where boulders are removed
* High Resolution: Some volunteers did tread work on the upper trail
* High Resolution: Talking around one of the rock-hauling dollies
* High Resolution: Volunteers working boulders into the wall
* High Resolution: Placing rocks into the wall. I'm in this photo!
* High Resolution: Hauling up another boulder
* High Resolution: Some boulders were extremly heavy, most were just heavy
* High Resolution: Lunch time! Lunch along the rock ravine work area
* High Resolution: Two of the adult volunteers having lunch
* High Resolution: The Scout in charge and other volunteers having lunch
* High Resolution: And pretty much the same. Lunch time!
* High Resolution: Bernie, I think, and Tom and Bron back at work
* High Resolution: The Scout in charge directed boulder gathering
* High Resolution: Boulders were levered out of the field with bars
* High Resolution: A longer look at the general rock collection area
* High Resolution: Hauling more rocks up. Hey! I'm in this photo, also!
* High Resolution: Down at the market, Ben, another volunteer, and Mike
* High Resolution: Collecting boulders from further up the rock ravine
* High Resolution: Seven volunteers work together to haul up a boulder
* High Resolution: Ha! Here I am carrying up a rock by hand
* High Resolution: Another boulder being hauled up
* High Resolution: Most of us had rock helmets, some people didn't
* High Resolution: Bron gets violent with an axe
* High Resolution: The rock slide has been removed and a trench dug
* High Resolution: This young voluteer carried a 50 pound rock bar 1.2 miles
* High Resolution: Gathering down below in Azusa at the market
* High Resolution: Some boulders came down from up the trail
* High Resolution: A look generally South across the campgrounds
* High Resolution: All volunteers also had gloves for safety
* High Resolution: Back at the rock ravine -- while I watch from the left
* High Resolution: Another look generally South across the campgrounds
* High Resolution: Rock ravine again
* High Resolution: Rock ravine again
* High Resolution: Lots of work taking place in the boulder ravine
* High Resolution: Mike, Tom, and Bron before the wall work begins
* High Resolution: Two volunteers down below gathering at the market
* High Resolution: A look at the work effort from a short distance away
* High Resolution: A good look at the heavy metal dollies that were used
* High Resolution: A great look at the rock ravine and the effort there
* High Resolution: We gather breakfast as well as lunch in the morning
* High Resolution: A good tall look at the general trail area
* High Resolution: Ben's safety meeting at the Visitor Center before work
* High Resolution: Waiting for things to get going!
* High Resolution: More waiting for things to get started
* High Resolution: Gathering tools at Rincon Fire Station
* High Resolution: Many tools were already at the work site
* High Resolution: Some additional trail working tools were gathered
* High Resolution: More tool gathering
* High Resolution: Parked at the trail head
* High Resolution: Volunteers start getting the tools hauled up the trail
* High Resolution: More of the same. This area was burned in the Curve Fire
* High Resolution: Up on the rocks
* High Resolution: At the trail head volunteers gathering tools
* High Resolution: Ben goes through safety meeting out in front of kitchen
* High Resolution: More of the same
* High Resolution: More of the same
* High Resolution: Soe kind of framing error so I can see this photograph
* High Resolution: Volunteer gathering plastic buckets
* High Resolution: Still at the tool bin down at Rincon Fire Station
* High Resolution: Down at the market in Azusa
* High Resolution: Back at the tool bin at Rincon
* High Resolution: Down below in the market once again
* High Resolution: In the rock ravine
* High Resolution: Bron down at the market in Azusa
* High Resolution: A good look at the general area of Windy Gap
* High Resolution: Another good look at the area
* High Resolution: The dead forest. Very depressing!
* High Resolution: At the trail head before most volunteers arive
* High Resolution: A group picture when we're done for the day
* High Resolution: A look at the general area again
* High Resolution: Bron and the Scout in charge at the end of the day
* High Resolution: A distant look at the effort on the wall so far
* High Resolution: Volunteers at the end of the day
* High Resolution: Another look generally South
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* We gather down below in Azusa at the market one hour early
* At the Valley of the Moon Tom and I wait for the rest of the volunteers
* The bridge on the way up that still needs repair work done to it
* The rest of the volunteers start to arive at the Valley of the Moon
* This area burned during the Curve Fire but regrowth is taking place
* At Crystal Lake breakfast and lunch is served! I also grabbed my dinner!
* We start to unload our tools at the Windy Gap trailhead
* Volunteer crew start to head up the trail to the work site
* Most volunteers wore protective helmets and other protective equipment
* Dan and another volunteer hike up to the work site
* A first look at the work site.
* The work site from the other side of the hiking trail before work begins
* Bron and the Scout in charge take a look at the boulders to be moved
* Looking over the trail from atop the boulder field
* A wider look at the general area of Windy Gap
* The rock slide gets removed first, then a trench gets dug along the hillside
* Still clearing out the rock slide
* A volunteer with Crystal Lake way off in the distant background
* Clearing the rock slide continues
* Volunteers staging up at the rock gully where we'll get boulders from
* Looking over what materials to move down to the trail
* A closer look at some of the volunteers
* Looks like a virtual dupliacte of the previous photograph
* Work gloves and helmets -- safety is always the number 1 priority
* Dead trees are in this area so we're careful about our surroundings
* The heavy dolly is being packed with a boulder and made ready to move
* The heavy boulder and dolly is shoved up hill to the new rock wall
* You can see the rock wall is starting to take shape
* A view of the general area. New trees are growing, fortunately
* Looking up the rock ravine to boulders being levered down the hill
* Looking toward Windy Gap, other volunteers bring boulders down
* Much work has been done. We take a quick lunch break
* A volunteer sits on a steep slope for lunch
* Lunch time! Most gather for lunch at the rock ravine
* Soe more volunteers during lunch
* Much the same as the previous photograph
* Best photograph, I think: Volunteer perched on boulder having lunch
* Close up of a volunteer
* Close up of Bron during lunch
* When lunch is over, work resumes. We take a look at the wall so far
* If rocks are lost over the edge, they're carefully recovered. Fun!
* A loko at the wall effort from down below just a bit
* Back at the rock ravine, boulders still getting moved up the trail
* Moving boulders up the trail was fairly difficult
* The wall again so far
* It took time to wrestle boulders in to place on the wall going up
* Bringing boulders down from the ravine was hard, difficult work
* The Boy Scout in charge!
* Another good look at the wall as it's being assembled
* Much the same as the previous photograph
* We are about finished for today. We stop for a group photograph or two
* Another group photograph. I took a lot since I wanted to fill up my camera
* Panning left just a bit toward Crystal Lake to our left
* Much the same as the previous photograph
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* Much the same as the previous photograph
* And we're done with the group photographs, pretty much
* Bron and the Scout in charge are left behind for a bit
* Much the same as the previous photograph
* And here is the final rock wall. We will add more to the top later

Site map is at: Crystal Lake site map
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