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Photographs are provided at the bottom of this web page. A video of some of this is also provided.

Pine Tree

Last Saturday the call went out for volunteers who might be able to assist in closing the major hiking trails in the forest that has been closed due to CRITICAL fire danger across all of the Angeles National Forest. I had been asking about how I might be able to assist with fire mitigation and this seemed like a good possibility so I checked in to what was needed and volunteered.

Sunday morning Christopher and I drove up Highway 39 past the forest closure signs up to the Valley of the Moon where the Forest Service has their closed gate just a quarter of a mile South of Coldbrook Campground.

From 8 in the morning until 13 in the afternoon I answered people's questions, assured them that the sign blocking access to the Upper Bear Creek Trail did in fact indicate that hiking into the back country in all of the Angeles National Forest had been suspended for the duration of the danger, and generally did my best to apologize to disappointed people.

It was a perfect day even though it was a bit hot standing in the sun for five hours. Lots of people drove up, looked at the trail closure signs, then came over to ask me about the closure and when the restrictions might be lifted. I was VERY HAPPY to see so many people out and about looking for healthy exercise, more so since this trail has had nearly four miles of superb restoration done to it.

Basically I reiterated the information that the USFS had posted on their notice board, that the closure would be lifted once the critical fire danger was alleviated.

At the same time I was able to inform people about other hiking trails in the area (such as the lower Bear Creek off of West Fork Road which few know about) that they might try once the restriction is lifted, handing out business cards for this web site so that they could look the trail information up for themselves.

Pointing people to other trails they didn't know about turned some of their disappointment around a bit and instead had people saying they were looking forward to trying out new trails they didn't know about once the place opens up again.

Pine Tree

Christopher drove down the mountain somewhere during that five hours leaving me alone up there with an increasingly hot Sun. When 13:00 came around, I looked at the hot Sun, hid my bicycle and back pack, then went down to Coldbrook, removed every last stitch of clothes, and I washed up in the creek after removing the rock dam someone had placed across it, sucking up about a gallon of untreated water to replace what I'd lost over the past hours.

Rock dams like that one, by the way, cause problems in that such dams allow shallow water to back up and warm up to the point where microscopic growth accumulates and the oxygen content of the water drops, snuffing out higher life, among other problems.

Before leaving the Valley of the Moon and my posted job for the day, I did a survey of the growth in the stand of burned up pine trees across the Valley of the Moon parking lot, happy to see that a great many new pine trees have come up, many of which were over seven feet tall.

At the same time I investigated the saplings that volunteers have planted in the area over the past three years to get an idea on survival rates. It looks like 80% of the saplings that volunteers planted have survived to this point, a phenomena and unusual percentage that's further underscored by the fact that some of the saplings that they planted were over 2 feet tall.

While bicycling down I sang Dylan's "Hey Mr. Tambourine Man" about as loudly as I could, generally disturbing the peace, totally hyped up on the new life I photographed and rubbed up against. "Yes to dance beneath the diamond sky with one hand waving free..." Young plants turn me on like nothing else!

Along the way a fire crew was climbing into his vehicle (parked behind an SUV) with an annoyed expression so I slammed on my breaks (that is, I dragged my shoe along the ground) and pulled over. He said that he had been searching for someone who walked into the brush from the SUV and couldn't find him or her.

I offered to walk another search pattern in the brush along the river so he could stay with his vehicle and its radio. After about 15 minutes of crossing back and forth up and down the dense brush, I didn't see anyone.

While doing that the fire crew called on his public address system and honked his horn trying to get the owner of the vehicle to climb out and eventually the owner did, asking what he had down wrong. I told him that it's nothing serious, just that the fireman was going to tell him that the forest is closed, even to fishermen like him, until the fire danger drops some.

Pine Tree

The fire crew was polite and professional and I'm happy to be able to say that everyone who drove up and either talked with me or talked with this fire crewman understood the need to close the forest until things get safer. The public understand the need and while people were disappointed, they knew it was right to close the place ad many asked why it hadn't been closed months ago.

Speaking of the fire crews, Engine 22 had people -- no, I mean HEROS! -- stationed at Rincon Fire Station when I stopped in to see if I could steal a hat full of ice since I was about to die. I grabbed a hat full and parked my ass on the bench where Engine 22 was having lunch and I started cramming chunks of ice into my plastic bottle, an old bottle of tea that I've been carting around to drink from for the past year or so.

The fire crews were trying to pretty much ignore me since -- have to admit -- they've probably never seen anything quite like me before. I sat and made much noise laying ice on my bottle and smashing it into small chunks so it would fit my bottle. One crew laying on the bench covertly pointed at me and raised his eye brows, silently asking another crewman, "Wha da fuh?" The other fire fighter shrugged his shoulders and I had to laugh a bit out loud -- which probably only made their impressions me of worse.

It took two and a half hours to get to my front door where I drank another gallon of water before passing out and sleeping until morning.

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* A view of the smoke coming in from the East over Rancho Cucamonga
* A view of the smoke coming in from the East over Rancho Cucamonga
* A view of the smoke coming in from the East over Rancho Cucamonga
* A view of the smoke coming in from the East over Rancho Cucamonga
* A view of the smoke coming in from the East over Rancho Cucamonga
* From Cuca all the way to Burbank the dark sky was smoke and falling ash
* Sapling planted by volunteers at the Valley of the Moon
* Sapling planted by volunteers at the Valley of the Moon
* Sapling planted by volunteers at the Valley of the Moon
* Sapling planted by volunteers at the Valley of the Moon
* Sapling planted by volunteers at the Valley of the Moon
* Sapling planted by volunteers at the Valley of the Moon
* Sapling planted by volunteers at the Valley of the Moon
* Sapling planted by volunteers at the Valley of the Moon
* Sapling planted by volunteers at the Valley of the Moon
* Sapling planted by volunteers at the Valley of the Moon
* Sapling planted by volunteers at the Valley of the Moon
* Sapling planted by volunteers at the Valley of the Moon
* Sapling planted by volunteers at the Valley of the Moon
* Sapling planted by volunteers at the Valley of the Moon
* Sapling planted by volunteers at the Valley of the Moon
* The stand of burned pine trees, burned during the Curve Fire
* Lots of new trees growing in the stand of burned pine trees
* Lots of new trees growing in the stand of burned pine trees
* Lots of new trees growing in the stand of burned pine trees
* Lots of new trees growing in the stand of burned pine trees
* Lots of new trees growing in the stand of burned pine trees
* Lots of new trees growing in the stand of burned pine trees
* Lots of new trees growing in the stand of burned pine trees
* Lots of new trees growing in the stand of burned pine trees
* Lots of new trees growing in the stand of burned pine trees
* Lots of new trees growing in the stand of burned pine trees
* Lots of new trees growing in the stand of burned pine trees
* Lots of new trees growing in the stand of burned pine trees
* Lots of new trees growing in the stand of burned pine trees
* Lots of new trees growing in the stand of burned pine trees
* Lots of new trees growing in the stand of burned pine trees
* Lots of new trees growing in the stand of burned pine trees
* Lots of new trees growing in the stand of burned pine trees
* Lots of new trees growing in the stand of burned pine trees
* Lots of new trees growing in the stand of burned pine trees
* An old rock water gate that's no longer carrying much water
* Another look at the water gate along with my pack and hat
* A look at the Valley of the Moon. Notice that most people can read signs
* A look at the birned pine trees from a distance
* Highway 39 and the bridge. I can spot motorcycle problems before they arive
* About 40 motorcycles came racing up at high rates of speed, then raced down
* Two people in this vechicle who turned their radio volume all the way up
* Saplings planted by volunteers along the ridge across from parking lot
* Another look at the highway and bridge that still needs repair work done
* The highway to the North that leads up to Crystal Lake
* Another volunteer-planted pine that is doing EXTREMLY well
* A general look at the field of volunteer-planted saplings
* Another sapling planted by a volunteer
* Another sapling planted by a volunteer
* Another set of saplings planted by volunteers doing very well
* Another sapling planted by a volunteer
* Another sapling planted by a volunteer
* Another sapling planted by a volunteer
* Another sapling planted by a volunteer
* Another sapling planted by a volunteer

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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