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The junction of Islip, Windy Gap, Big Cienega

Today the San Gabriel Mountains Trailbuilders worked along Big Cienega Trail, repairing erosion, cutting back brush, removing plants from the trail (mostly Yerba Santa) and removing dead trees that were laying across the trail.

We had volunteers from Mount San Antonio College to assist in the day's effort.

The overall plan seems to be:

Something like that, any way!

Today was the day of the big AmGen race which makes my knees buckle in exhaustion just thinking about it.

Today while we worked along Big Cienega and Islip Ridge we could hear over the radio a volunteer calling in smoke and fire on the far side of the lake, generally South West about 4 miles from where we were.

The first water-drop came in by helicopter about 10 minutes after the first report, and then there were a number of helicopter and fixed-wing water droppers cooling off the fire and ground crews working the soil such that after about an hour the fire was almost totally extinguished.

In all it was maybe one and a half acres and though it looked like it was actually at the lake, it turns out that it was between Highway 39 and the lake, apparently along Winnona Cutoff. Google Earth shows pretty much nothing in the area except for the Winnona Cutoff trail; which the Trailbuilders completed back in 2001, so I don't know what else it could have been along other than the trail.

Because of the fire we decided to evacuate an hour or so early despite the crews having things pretty much completed down below on the burn.

Here is a bit of video that shows what we could see of the effort from high above:

In all a whole lot of work was completed. In total there were 14 deadfalls across the trail that got bucked up and removed, and at the junction of Islip, Windy Gap, and Winnona the trail definition was greatly improved which was important because the definition was a bit obscured. The Mount SAC volunteers did a wonderful job laying out tree limbs along the path to Mount Islip and Winnona, and orange and blue flagging was set down to make sure people could find the trail.

On the hike back down the mountain the chainsaw crews were able to see the work that the other volunteers did on repairing erosion and improving water flow off of the trail.

As it is, Big Cienega looks to be in pretty good shape! And we had a lot of fun.

* The morning's safety and Job Hazard Analysis meeting, South Mount Hawkins Road
* Carrying up heavy tools and equipment is tiring work :)
* Looking at one of the recently bucked deadfalls and back along the trail
* One obstruction removed, some additional work is needed here
* At the Islip Ridge, Windy Gap, Big Cienega junction
* At the Islip Ridge, Windy Gap, Big Cienega junction
* Mount SAC laid out trail definition from saddle to Islip Ridge
* Mount SAC laid out trail definition from saddle to Islip Ridge
* We start heading back down the mountain
* We start heading back down the mountain
* The fire from about 3 miles away

Site map is at: Crystal Lake site map
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