The November 12th workday was a typical fall in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Cold enough to gather in the office in the morning, but warming up later in the day. We had nine people out and because of a report from Kurt Leal of a big mess on the Creeping Forest Trail just off Gazos Creek Fire Rd we decided to stay together until we could take a look at the area. Good call!
Kurt's report said there were two 36-inch Doug Firs that had fallen parallel to the trail and were blocking approximately a 30 yard stretch of the footpath. I was a little skeptical going out, but after after driving the fire road and making the short hike to the site I was quickly convinced as the destroyed section looked more like 35-40 yards in length!
Any evidence of the trail was totally gone and the debris seemed to go on and on. We have come across areas like this in the past, but this definitely goes down as one of the biggest we have dealt with. It took effort just to make our way from one end of the blockage to the other as we climbed through and over the debris to make sure we knew where the trail was actually located.
Once we had our bearings, Dale Stadelman started on the chainsaw on one end and Chris Young cut from the other end while the remainder of the Crew was busy removing the large amount of debris in between. The only break came when Janie called a well timed lunch break at high noon.
Dale at work
Chris at the other end
Despite the mess, we got lucky because of the way the two trees had fallen. One tree was on the edge of the trail where it could be left in place while the other lay kind of diagonally across the trail so we could cut a passageway to allow hikers to pass without removing the entire length of tree.
It was 1:30 by the time the area looked presentable again and we began discussing what other areas we should look at.
Since we were already halfway up Gazos Creek Fire Rd we decided to continue up to Middle Ridge to check on a couple of reports of small trees down in the Sunset/STS Connector area. One was quickly taken care of by a chainsaw while the other was a small tan oak and related debris that was handled with handsaws.
The crew put in 65 hours with a 2016 total of 942 hours with only 58 hours needed to break 1000. Thanks to Norm Beeson, Jan Hill, Janie Liefhelm, Jordan McDaniel, Mike Peasland, David Philleo, Dale Stadelman, Chris Young, and newcomer Ann McCormick for their efforts on a busy day.
See you on the trails.
By Mike Peasland
Photos by Mike
Editor Jeff Bleam