Hazard tree hung up in branches

The previous weekend we had a number of hikers take the Windy Gap Trail in the Crystal Lake Recreation Area of the Angeles National Forest after which they sent in photographs of some dead trees down across the trail. So today the San Gabriel Mountains Trailbuilders returned to lower Windy Gap Trail to take care of these few remaining obstructions.

We met at the Forest Service's Gateway Information Center across from Highway 39 mile marker 17 and promptly at 8:00 a.m. we climbed aboard our vehicles and headed North to the Rincon Fire Station where we collected our tools and equipment for the day, then we headed North another 13 miles to the Crystal Lake basin and the Windy Gap trailhead!

(NOTE: Check out that link to Rincon Fire Station since it offers some background in to the changes currently underway within the canyons along Highway 39.)

Among the volunteers we had students from Mount San Antonio College and some Boy Scouts, bringing up chainsaws, McLeods, shovels, rock bars, and other equipment so that the trail could be worked on and the reported dead tree obstructions could be bucked.

Among one of the other major problems on the trail that was reported was a drainage culvert which had become clogged and then filled by rock and dirt, allowing water to flow over the top of the bridge which was causing serious erosion problems. If left to itself over the coming years, the drain would eventually cause the entire bridge to be undermined so we ensured we had what we would need to fix it.

Upon reaching the trail we also discovered three hazard trees leaning over the trail, each one of which was hung up in the branch network above (see photographs listed below.) Possible hazards are something of a priority with the Trailbuilders when we come across them. Hanging trees usually fall when there is wind however they can fall at any time causing significant injury to hikers, so when they're discovered and we have the resources to bring them to ground safely, we'll give hazard trees first attention.

Foot bridge repaired!

Windy Gap Trail has seen some significant repairs and maintenance this year already, so only the section of trail from the trailhead up to South Mount Hawkins Road needed to be worked today, and the tread itself is in pretty good shape!

By 13:00 the dead trees on the trail had been bucked up and the hazard trees brought to ground and removed, water bars had been installed along the trail to remove water to reduce future erosion, and the foot bridge had been repaired and reworked to keep water from doing further significant damage.

Since we were finished with Windy Gap we packed up our tools and headed for Soldier Creek Trail to do some work on the tread. At the same time other volunteers headed for Pinyon Ridge Trail.

It was a good day out, everything the volunteers wanted to fix today was fixed, and the weather cooperated which was something of a surprise since down in the cities below everything was covered in fog. What fun!

After packing up our tools again at the Rincon Fire Station, we packed in to our vehicles and stopped to observe a Red Tail Hawk with a squirrel dinner, video of which is posted here:

* Trailbuilder Bob gives the morning safety and Job Hazard review
* Damaged foot bridge with drainage filled with debris
* A hazard tree leaning above the trail hung up in the branches
* Trail volunteers walking under the leaning hazard
* A bit further up the trail a dead tree is making hikers climb under
* Volunteers cleaning up after the first hazard tree has been brought to ground
* We take a second look at the trail obstruction further up the trail
* A second hazard tree is hung up in branches over the trail further up
* Looking at the rooting of the second hazard tree
* This problem has not been filled in this time around. We must return to fix it!
* Large obstructions are cleared while the surrounding tread gets reworked
* Another large obstruction that hikers climb over or get turned around by
* Swamper volunteers waiting to set wedge and holding wedge for the sawyer
* Trailbuilder Tom continually evaluates the bucking step by step
* Trail volunteer sets a holding wedge with an axe
* Tom sets a compound cut
* The first section is bucked and removed, not the second section is evaluated
* Tom bucks some 80% of the next cut, the rest will be done in the up-slope
* Campers hike through after finding snow for their skis on the other side
* The tree is successfully removed from the trail
* Taking a look at the cleaned-up trail on the way back down
* Drainage water bar installed by volunteers below
* A second water bar for drainage
* Trailbuilder Lou examines the second water bar
* This is the foot bridge repaired! This looks good!
* Another look at the foot bridge repairs
* Up along Pinyon Ridge we take a look at the new rest bench
* Up along Pinyon Ridge we take a look at the new rest bench
* Trailbuilder Bob gives the new rest bench a test
* The view from the rest bench
* A look at the back of the new rest bench
* A look at the front of the rest bench
* The tread worked along Soldier Creek! Looks great!
* Hawk with squirrel dinner
* Hawk with squirrel dinner

Site map is at: Crystal Lake site map

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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