JAN 2015 - Sunset and Middleridge

Happy New Year.  2015 started out with a great turn out of 13 members and that allowed for us to split up into 2 crews.  Dale P. took one to cover the fire roads and trails around HQ.  The first crew headed out to Middleridge clearing a couple of spots near the junction of Meteor Trail.  Dale headed back to North Escape Road were he met a few of the crew that checked out Meteor but they didn't find the tree that was supposed to be down.  Then over to the Sequoia Trail and they removed an 14” Tan Oak from the trail between the Blooms Campground link trail and the cutoff to the Bob Kirsch Bridge, and cleared a couple of Tan Oaks that were hanging across the Sequoia Trail.

The 2nd crew was talked into doing a death march, which is the inner loop of Sunset, Timm's Creek, and back STS.  This is about a 6 mile loop and it's difficult without the tools and chainsaw in tow.  We hiked down Sunset and came across fresh cuts after the Sunset STS Connector.  We had visions of an easy day with the trail having been cleared already.  We did run into some small hand saw work and then .  .  .
 That was easy

 A little more effort

 Another easy one

 Now we needed the saw with a 65" circumference Fir (ok 21" diameter)

Next step up was another 95" circumference Fir that took much more effort for the 24" Husky we had to work with.

 Then we ran into this.  A 122" circumference (39" diameter) Redwood took out 5 other smaller trees and with the saw not starting we thought that was sign that it was time for lunch.  After lunch the saw still wouldn't start so I opened up that fuel tanks to make sure it wasn't empty, which it wasn't, closed it up and it start right up: vacuum lock.  Half of my 8 crew wanted to push ahead as the rest worked on the Redwood.

  We took a guess on how long it would take to make the first cut and David was close: 7 minutes

It took 5 cuts and the hardest part was moving the last 2 sections off the trail.  The job took 95 minutes with the cutting and stopping for the numerous hikers we let pass.  Since it took so long we headed back to the trucks to lighten the load and search for the other half of the team.  We head back down Sunset to the connector and STS heading to the falls.  Since we didn't get any hikers remembering yellowed shirt trail crew recruiters but headed back to wait at the trucks.  At the intersection of the Sunset-Middleridge-Gazos we met some hikers who had one of their party injured and slowly making his way back.  We flagged down park personnel for help and they head back to HQ to get the rangers; however, the hiker showed up before the rangers returned.  Dale was driving the hiker back when the ranger showed up but continued on after checking with the rangers.  We got many thanks for our work from the rangers and shortly after the rest of the crew showed up.  They reported numerous less than 20" mostly branches down on the rest of the loop, which would be another days work.  Long day and  I'm still feeling it as I write this.

Thanks to Norm, Dale P., Dale S., Janie, Jan, Fran, David P., David B., Herman, Michelle, Janette, Chris, and new member Ryan.  We put in 128 hours, a good start for the year, in what did turn into a long day but not as much of a death march I was expecting.

See you on the trails


Birds of the Day
Varied Thrush
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker