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Moving the rocks around

Today the San Gabriel Mountains Trailbuilders had another special day out, this time splitting up in to two teams, one to head to the Rincon Environmental Education Center to work on the nature trail, and the other team to head further up the canyon to Coldbrook Campground to work on the drinking water infrastructure there.

And what great fun it was, too! Since I wanted to sample the drinking water at Coldbrook that's the team I joined, so I don't have anything to report on the Rincon Ed Center other than that the trail was worked end to end which should make the 20,000+ school kids happy to find a clean, well-defined trail.

Normally I drink water from streams, creeks, brooks, rivers, muddy seeps, and when I'm in the Mojave Desert I've been known to suck the moisture out of lichens, and on hiking and biking up the mountain on Highway 39 I usually stop by Falling Springs to fill my drinking containers, but now with Coldbrook having water, at highway survey marker 32.5 I and everyone else who exercise in the canyons during the Summer months have a better source of water to drink now!

The Trailbuilder volunteers gathered at the Gateway Information Center at the base of the San Gabriel Mountains, right above the city of Azusa where the Forest Service maintains a small, neat Visitor Center. Promptly at 8:00 we packed up our stuff, and headed up the mountain.

At Coldbrook the volunteers dismounted and formed up for the daily Job Hazard Analysis review where the various plants and animals that we should avoid were discussed, the safe use of the tools we would be using were discussed, and the Project Activity Level for the day was discussed (the PAL suggested that we stop utilizing any gasoline powered tools today at 13:00 which was no problem, there were only a few dead trees in today's effort down on the ground that needed to be bucked and moved.)

The main task for the day was to establish an access route from the upper loop of the campgrounds up to the water storage tank so that access to the tank could be accomplished for maintenance and repairs, otherwise getting to the tank is a somewhat difficult effort consisting of bush-whacking and climbing around dead trees on the ground, and climbing around boulders on the way up.

Drinking water!

A simple narrow path would have been acceptable but for the first half of the access route I think we made it wide enough to drive a Jeep on, though as the path turns sharply left and up the mountain we brought the width down to a more reasonable 2 feet wide.

Along the way dead tree trunks and limbs were bucked up with the very nice Stihl chainsaw, the volunteers wearing enough safety clothes and equipment to ensure that they would bake in the sunlight heat twice as much as the (smarter) volunteers like me relaxing in the shade with my McLeod trail-working tool!

Soon enough the whole path was completed and we found ourselves with free time to relax! That's a first since normally trail work continues all day, but considering how hot it was, re laid ourselves out along the creek in the shade and had ourselves a nice nap.

While we were working fire crews patrolled through the campgrounds twice, and law enforcement came through and threatened to give one of our unpaid volunteers a parking ticket for not showing an approved parking sticker. Oh you bastards!

I went walkabout to check the water faucets in the campgrounds and noticed that there were 2 camp sites still open, leaving 23 camp sites in use. All of the water faucets were in good order through I found that the water up near the tank was cold, the water out near the highway warm. Since I had my McLeod with me I did some repairs to the grounds were people had dug deep trenches with the wheels of their vehicles, picked up trash, and kept an eye out for fires on the ground.

Working through the brush

While walking back to the other volunteers I heard someone call out, "That looks like Fred Rice!" so I went over to meet my adoring public, let them see that the man is every bit as much as the myth -- and then some. Jason and hid daughter forgot to bring me jalapeno peppers or an avocado but it was nice to stand in the campgrounds and just chat and relax for a while, watching the campers preparing lunch, kids running around, all of that happy exercise.

The volunteers working at Rincon joined us to see if we needed a hand at Coldbrook, and since it seemed we were finished for the day, we left!

* Boulders are excavated from the path and used for soil retention
* You can see rocks being excavated and moved to form retaining walls
* Ben stands ready with the pick to leverage out the next set of rocks
* Jonathan points out where soil should be brought down to fill in the path
* After boulders removed and lined, the tread gets cleaned up
* More tread clean-up
* The section of path is looking excellent
* The section of path is looking excellent
* Looking toward the water source from the start of the access route
* Water! Drinking water! The yucca plant here needs to be relocated, though
* The start of the path is wide enbough to drive a Jeep on, it seems
* A look in to the cool shadow of the creek
* Volunteers working on establishing the path on the up-slope
* More of the access path. Spray paint needs to be cleaned off, yes
* More of the path. Some paths we leave straw to discourage growth
* Trailbuilder off in the shimmering distance
* A look up-slope from where I'm currently working on the lower path
* Some times it is difficult locate all the volunteers in the heavy brush
* More finished path down to the dirt
* Heading up-slope it starts to get rocky
* First glimpse of the water tank
* The creek as it exist from a culvert
* A better look at the path on the up-slope
* An even better look at the path heading up the hillside
* Some of the yucca still needs to be trimmed back
* Trailbuilder Bryan examines the finished path
* The volunteers doing final clean-up of the tread
* The volunteers doing final clean-up of the tread
* About finished so everything gets packed up and we head down
* What the view looks like from standing on top of the water tank
* Bryan also take a photograph
* Hot and tired Trailbuilders volunteers relax along the creek
* Dumping cold water over myself to cool off

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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