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The start

Saturday morning kind of snuck up on me, and when I found that the Sun was threatening to climb up over the horizon, I decided it was finally time to climb off of the Internetz and get ready for another fun-packed volunteer day in the forest with my fuzzy little forest friends!

After saying "good /b/ye" to all my 4Chan.Org friends, I used a screw driver to extract my iPod earbuds from my bleeding ears (Pearl Jam and Donovan) I stumbled to the kitchen (tripping over Mostly Black-and-White Kitty who asked me "Murr?") to see if any coffee has miraculously manifest since the last three times I'd come to check -- but no, no coffee. No sleep, no coffee. No cheezeburger. No problem!

Ah, well, I crammed my old water bottle, fraying dead-cow-skin gloves, bottle of green olives, and radio (also wrapped in dead cow skin) in to my ratty old day pack, slung it over my aging shoulders, screwed my equally old ratty dead-cow-skin hat on top of my head, saddled my ass crack square centered on my borrowed bicycle's seat, then headed generally West toward the meeting place.

A typical Saturday morning bicycle through back alleys, people's back yards, sidewalks, dodging Friday night drunks along city streets is an exercise in survival of the fittest, and after a long night of no sleep and several pots of coffee, I wasn't exactly fit -- But I survived the dogs chasing after me, the screaming lady pushing the street-crossing button with much anger, the broken glass from beer bottles under my tires, and everything else the morning unleashed and I made the meeting place with time to spare!

We continue work

Jeanette, Ben, Wayne, Bernie, Bron, Alan, and myself collected at the Azusa King's Ranch Market and when 8:00 a.m. came we tossed my bike in to the back of a pickup truck, climbed in to various vehicles, and headed Northward up to the Environmental Education Center to continue building the lower bridge along the nature trail.

The first thing I did when we got there was take a look at the work that had been accomplished two weeks ago and I found that a whole lot of work had been done on the West approach.

The next thing I checked was the water level passing under the upper bridge along the nature trail since I use the water to cool off with during these adventures. Alas, no water was flowing and the ground was completely dry.

We cut wood, cut dogbone concrete, cut rebar, cut my middle finger all to mush by dropping a huge boulder on it, and carried a whole lot of rocks and sand to build up the West approach to the bridge.

Jeanette worked on leveling out and raking off the nature trail along half of its densely forested (and poison oaked) regions (photographs offered below) so that the whole trail from the Environmental Center's gate, across the upper bridge, all the way down to the lower bridge is all perfect for the young feet of all the many children who use this nature trail.

We continue work

Before we broke for lunch members of the Los Angeles Conservation Corps came and assisted with gathering rocks and gravel and, eventually, with the drilling and screwing together wood shims for the kickboards along the bridge.

It was funny. No less than three of us searched every bucket, every bag, every box looking for a drill bit for the screws we needed to put in and none of us could find one. Ben came along, walked to a bucket, and picked out a drill bit the exact size we needed -- some of us claimed heatstroke, some stupidity, but Ben, I think, has magic.

(You know, maybe next time we can ask the LACC kids to paint the bridge with wood sealant and help up get the Trailbuilder's tool bin straightened out -- they're young and strong and we should use their volunteer hours more, I think, letting us old timers rest a bit during the heat of the day!)

One more day should complete the approach, then we can finish off the railing and get it painted with sealant, then we can clean up the general surrounding area and we're done!

It was hot, sweaty, hot work -- but fun! After lunch, Jeanette gathered up the remaining cold water bottles and got them passed out, giving all the volunteers enough energy to complete another half hour of effort before I had enough and refused to work any more. LOL! Unpaid volunteers can quit working any time we want.

The finished day

After work we assembled all our tools and Ben drove me home in the pickup truck, avoiding the dogs, screaming women, broken glass, and other typical hazards along the way. After a quick shower, after wrapping my crushed and bleeding fingers, and after setting the coffee pot on to cook, I climbed back on to the Internetz, dialed up 4Can.ORG, and tuned out the real world once again.

* Before work started for the day. Those dogbones have to be pulled out first
* The dogbone matrix is built up to make a small step on to the bridge
* The other approach. You can see that the mounting is massively heavy
* The railing on the far approach has not been installed so that needs doing
* We have dragged huge boulders to slow down the water before it impacts bridge
* An overall look at the bridge so far
* The engineers in the team look at how the railing will be mounted
* Bron and I cut, insert, and screw together the wood to fill in a gap
* The dogbone matrix gets new concrete cut, installed, drilled, and pinned
* Members of the Los Angeles Conservation Corps -- High School kids
* There wasn't that much work for younger volunteers to do most of the time
* Wayne cuts a concrete-and-rebar dogbone (some of us have safety gear)
* Since no water is running under the creek, I fill my hat with cold water here
* A member of the LACC works with Bron to complete the wood shims
* Other members of the LACC
* Most of the wood shims have been installed on both sides of the bridge
* Bernie examines the work that still needs to be done
* A wide look at the bridge so far
* It's lunch time and I eat some green olives. That's my borrowed bicycle
* Lower left corner you can just make out the rattle snake
* Work is done for the day and we have made a lot of progress
* Compare this photograph with the first. Maybe one more day of work to do
* Long view of the bridge at the end of the work day -- looks great!
* Jeanette and I take a last minute tour of the nature trail
* The upper bridge was also built by the Trailbuilders years ago
* Notice the shade and sunlight along the trail -- it's great for children
* The trail looks great for city kids to safely walk within micro environments
* The nature trail is clean and usually flat
* Along the trail you can see various rock retaining walls holding back soil
* I still don't know what this area was marked out with rocks for
* Jeanette got all this trail section leveled off and cleaned up
* Ferns grow heavilly among the oak trees
* Poison oak has been marked in various places where children might step
* Some areas of the nature trail and entirely covered in oak trees
* An old part of the trail no longer used was blocked by this downed tree
* A tunnel of shade opens up in to bright Sunlight
* An old rock wall that had been built something like 50 years ago or so
* More of the old rock wall that holds back soil off of the trail
* And we are back down to the lowert bridge

Site map is at: Crystal Lake site map
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