FEB 2015 - 2 Crews: Timm's and Middleridge

It was much cooler at HQ than at my home just over the east ridge but it seemed that the warm more summer like weather would greet us as the sun continued to rise.  There were 11 crew members out so to keep everyone busy we split up into 2 crews.  Dale S. lead one to Middleridge Road and I lead one back to complete the work on the Sunset-Timm's-STS loop.

Dale Petersen's group of Norm Beeson, Bill Drulias, Jan Hill, and Mike Peasland, headed out to work another familiar area along Middle Ridge Fire Road.  The first stop was on Skyline-to-the-Sea between Middle Ridge and the connector with Sunset where we found a down tan oak suspended above the trail about forehead height. It was only about 12-inches in diameter, so it didn't take long to remove this hazard to inattentive hikers.  After we passed Jeff's group of vehicles parked at the fire road-Sunset trailhead, we continued up Middle Ridge north of Gazos Creek. About a quarter mile above Gazos we stopped as the road disappeared into a jumble of branches and foliage. As we got out of the vehicle we weren't even sure what we were looking at. Just a lot of branches blocking the road? Was there a tree in there somewhere? And what happened to the fire road??

We eventually discovered there was a 3.5-4 ft diameter redwood, 90 feet in length and laying parallel in the middle of the road, buried in the mess. Since we had a small crew and only Dale's 14-inch chainsaw we decided to limb the tree and clean up the area so everything would be ready for the State Crew that would have to come out and clear the road. It was still a big task and took about an hour to remove all the debris.
Since we couldn't get the vehicle past the down tree, we headed back to the park office after lunch to take a look another look at the big board for more trail problems. As we stared at the wall map, Susan Blake walked in with a hot off the press report of a tree down on Creeping Forest, so we headed out there. What we found was a 14-inch Doug Fir blocking the trail. It had obviously been dead for a long time as most of the bark was gone or peeling off and when we completed the cuts we discovered it was hollow inside. After a couple of quick cuts and rolling the rounds off the trail, we were done for the day!

As for my crew we were ready for another long day covering the Sunset-Timm's Creek-Skyline to the Sea loop.  We were hoping to be able to hike right out to blockage on Timm's Creek trail but in less than a 1/4 mile about half way to the Sunset-STS connector we found an 18" Fir.  So that's how the day began and as we found out would be how it would end.

The second more motley crew, unluckily decided to go with me back to the Sunset-Timms-STS loop to finish what we started last month.  We thought it would be an easy hike to Timm's Creek Trail but less than 1/4 mile and before the STS-Sunset Connector we ran into this 18" oak.
A little farther down the trail we found the 10" fir.  We looked at it and made our predictions but all it did was gently slide down the tree it was resting on.

Spring Sorrel Blooming

And another on Sunset taking us all morning to reach Timm's

Horn of Plenty (Craterellus cornucopioides)

Finally we reached the 30m long blockage of about 3 Oaks and a Redwood but not before  lunch.
Happy Valentine's Day
  The day crew being very satisfied with a job well done
After a total of 12 trees from 3" to 18" and when we thought we were done, we ran into this about 1/2 mile from the connector.  There was some grumbling but it only took about 10 minutes to clear.  I had a weird feeling with the remembrance of clearing an oak from the very spot a few years ago in an adventure like today.  Total 13 trees cleared.

It was a great work day and I think we all felt satisfied with the accomplishments.  Another great turn out and I would like to thank Dale S., Dale P., Janie, Bill, Jan, Bill, David, Shelly, Norm, Mike, and Michelle.  We put 97 hours and another great summer I mean winter day.  That's California.

See you on the trails

Jeff and Mike

Birds of the Day
1 Dark-eyed Junco
1 Pygmy Owl
9 Pacific Wren
4 Chestnut-backed Chickadee
1 Hutton's Vireo
1 Golden-Crowned Kinglet