DEC 2015 - Holiday Party

I was in the kitchen with J finishing off the chowder and other stuff.  Here's more from Mike.

Hope everyone had an enjoyable Holidays! It seems like it was just New Year's Eve, but the second Saturday of the month is this weekend and the Trail Crew will be out at Big Basin regardless of the weather. We already have reports of more trees down on the Creeping Forest Trail (deja vu for those out last month) and this week's rains will no doubt create more work. 

After four years of drought and quiet winters for the Trail Crew, it looks like we will have lots to do. Hope you can make it out Saturday.

December has become a month of traditions for the Trail Crew whether it's the Holiday Party in afternoon or hauling firewood in the morning. Last month we started the workday portion by splitting and hauling firewood for use in the Sempervirens Room fireplace on those cold wet days. While most of the Crew headed up to load firewood into a park truck, Peter and Mike stayed in the VC area and cut and split several logs that had been laying around. By time everything was finished we had moved and split enough wood to last the winter.

With still time to kill before the party we decided to follow up on a report of a tree blocking the Creeping Forest Trail near the top of the initial uphill climb. As most of the group drudged up the hill, David Bryan shot ahead and found what we were looking for - a Tan Oak and so much debris sprawled across the trail that we initially couldn't tell where the trail continued beyond the blockage. After cutting and removing all the small stuff it was fairly easy to chainsaw the trunk portion from the trail (even with my dull chain!).

Welcome Party: Kodi and Kaja

The afternoon was dedicated to what has become the traditional Trail Crew Holiday Party and Jeff and Jeannine were gracious enough to host the gathering and cook most of the meal. Jeff had promised a 'gourmet feast' and he was dead on as always. There was a whole lot of outstanding food (it was a food coma evening), but probably the highlight was Jeff's seafood chowder. He had started it two days before and even Jeff said it was one of his better efforts.

Good Friends and Good Food

Thanks to Norm Beeson, David Bryan, Bill Drulias, Peter and Michele Gelblum, Jan Hill, Janette Mello, Mike Peasland, David Philleo and Dale Stadelman, for their help in the park and Gene Nelson, Jack and Barbara Schultz, and Shelly Graham, for joining us for the party afterwards. And of course Jeff and Jeannie for making everything come together in the afternoon.

Even though it looks to be a wet winter ahead, the redwood forests have endured four years of drought and there have been several studies to track the impact of dry winters on redwoods. One study has been looking at ferns,another moisture loving plant, as an indicator of problems redwoods themselves may face as the result of climate change and the Save the Redwoods League is sponsoring a presentation on just this at Henry Cowell on Wed. Jan. 20th at 7pm, Details are below if you're interested.
Where: Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park Visitor Center
When: Wednesday, January 20, 7:00-9:00 pm
What Ferns Tell Us About Drought in the Redwoods
The height of the most common plant in the coast redwood forest is affected by how much rain and fog fall among the coast redwoods. Western sword fern, grows tall fronds in wet redwood forests of Humboldt and Del Norte Counties and much shorter fronds in the dry forests of Santa Cruz and Monterey Counties. In dry years, sword ferns lose many of their fronds and show signs of stress before other species — like the redwoods themselves — do. For this reason, sword fern is an important indicator of climate change. Since 2012, Fern Watch volunteers have tracked the health of Western sword fern every year in more than 100 plots scattered across 11 coast redwood forests in Northern California.

Big Basin is all about history being the oldest California State Park and the Trail Crew has some history itself having been around for over 40 years. There is also the warning you often hear about not putting things out on the Internet as they never truly go away. I'll end this month's note with a little piece of Trail Crew history in the photo below which I found on the Internet recently. I forget who the responsible party is for the sign in the photo, but it proves that not all Trail Crew work is serious!
Happy New Year to everyone, hope you can make it out this Saturday and many times during the year.