JUL 2019: Reconstruction of STS near Hollow Tree Trail

A GREAT summer turnout of 17 on our July work day, which included two newcomers. We worked the Sky-line to the Sea (STS) Trail just beyond Creeping Forest with the State Crew. The July workday really began back in February when we worked on clearing a 4-ft Doug fir from the Skyline-to-Sea Trail just north of Creeping Forest.

It was a big tree requiring the use of the Big Bertha chainsaw and physically draining work, so we left five large rounds on the edge of the trail hoping the State Crew would take care of them later. Fast forward to our July workday and the adage 'payback is hell' (work day from the 50’s).

With 17 for the workday and working with the State Crew on trail improvements to the Skyline-to-Sea Trail in the general vicinity of Creeping Forest, we split into three groups with the first one cutting, carrying and installing, sections of logs to act as abutments for a footbridge landing while the third group dug a trench and began installing the initial section of a small retaining wall that would secure the edge of a trail reroute around a low lying area that often flooded in the winter.

In between the first and third work areas was the 4-ft Doug fir from February and the large rounds we had left next to the trail. The State Crew had not been back and since the trail improvements were in the same area, they wanted us to break apart the rounds and hide them in the nearby brush.

We ended the day kind of early, but it was a lot of grunt labor - digging trenches, cutting and carrying log sections, splitting and hiding large Doug fir rounds. A satisfying and exhausting day. Whether it was digging trenches, carrying logs, moving gravel or splitting Doug fir rounds, it was demanding but in the end satisfying work.

The BBVTC put in 124 hours and thanks to Herman Aster, David Bryan, John Collins, Michele and Peter Gelblum, Glenn Joy, Shyamal Kapadia, Janie Liefhelm, John Martin, Jordan McDaniel, Mike Peasland, David Philleo, Aaron Poulos, Devdutt Sheth, Chris Young, and newcomers Elena Kelareva and Steve Nagayama plus from the State Crew Jose and Eamon for a total of 19.

by Mike

photos by Mike, Chris, and Steve

JUN 2019: Eagle Rock

JUN 2019: Eagle Rock

We met as usual at HQ and 6 crew members showed up and 4 new members. We drove up to Eagle Rock trailhead to address 7 trees reported by Kurt Leal that were in various states of blocking the path.  We left Dale S car at the bottom of Little Basin Road and then we all piled into two trucks with Dale P and new guy Mike S. driving to the trailhead.

MAY 2019: Logging Demo then Work on Middle Ridge and No. Escape

MAY 2019: Logging Demo then Work on Middle Ridge and No. Escape

Working with the Trail Crew often provides new opportunities like hiking a seldom used trail like Last Chance, driving the fire roads to work in the backcountry, and learning about different aspects of the park's history. Logging has played a large role in the history of the Santa Cruz Mountains and during our May workday we had the opportunity to see a logging demonstration on Redtrees property just north of China Grade.

APR 2019: 3 Crews Worked on Creeping Forest, Campfire Area, and East Ridge

APR 2019: 3 Crews Worked on Creeping Forest, Campfire Area, and East Ridge

The initial plan for the April workday was to have two crews, but with an excellent turnout of 17 we decided to make it three crews with one group removing a tan oak jumble near the campfire center, the second tackling a redwood blocking the East Ridge Trail behind the Blooms Creek Campground and the third following up on a Kurt Leal trail report of numerous trees on Creeping Forest Trail.

MAR 2019: 3 Crews Worked on Falls Area, Hollow Tree, and Dool Trails

MAR 2019:  3 Crews Worked on Falls Area, Hollow Tree, and Dool Trails

March may bring the official beginning of Spring, but the the Trail Crew workday still felt very much like winter with rain, mud, and temps never getting above the mid-40's but we still had a great turnout of 12 people for a long workday. We were able to split into three crews, with one removing a large Doug fir on Creeping Forest at Dool, one making the long drive to the Berry Creek Falls area and the final crew driving out Johansen to the upper Hollow Tree area.

FEB 2019: 3 Crews Worked on STS and Fire Roads to Sandy Point

FEB 2019: 3 Crews Worked on STS and Fire Roads to Sandy Point

A couple of days before BBVTC work day, Kurt was surveying the trail for us and encountered a rare snow storm. Three crews work on clearing fire roads and 2 worked on STS. Dale P and David P. drove out Johansen Fire Rd from Lane Trail Camp to the Sandy Point area to deal with many issues along the road, Chris, John C. and Janie, worked on clearing a large 48” Doug Fir on STS just beyond Creeping Forest, and the remainder handled problems further along STS and hopefully the upper Hollow Tree and Meteor Trails.

JAN 2019 - Skyline to the Sea Trail

JAN 2019 - Skyline to the Sea Trail

The New Year got off to a good start with 12 regular Trail Crew members, 2 newcomers, and 3 people from the California Conservation Corp working on their community service hours. Since we are just getting into the busy chainsaw season, John Collins held a brief review of chainsaw safety along with how to properly take care of hand tools (essentially clean the dirt off them at the end of the day).

DEC 2018 - Sequoia/Shadowbrook and Blooms Creek

It was a cool morning but that didn’t stop 17 BBVTC members from showing up. With a strong showing, we split into 2 crews one heading to Sequoia trail then Shadowbrook and the other crew headed to Blooms Creek area. We collected tools at the shed and we were off.

Gathering the tools

Gathering the tools

Mike’s Crew on Blooms Creek Area

After splitting into two crews after the morning gathering, the Blooms Creek Crew set off to prove that sometimes even a wrong turn can provide useful information. Our destination was a Tan Oak that we first spotted during the November workday when we took a wrong turn and discovered the tree blocking the Blooms Creek Trail behind the campground, but didn't have time to remove it.


Upon arrival, Chris climbed to the top of a bench created by the large root ball of an adjacent Doug Fir and started removing the top section of the Tan Oak in order to make it easier to cut and remove the lower portion that actually blocked the trial. After the top cuts were completed, Dale S. made the initial cut on the lower portion of the tree when we received the surprise of the day. Dale got the bar wedged in the cut and as he rocked it back and forth to release the trunk suddenly lurched forward and dropped to the ground. What we were not aware of was the tree was rotted on the inside, so it may have been fortunate the saw wedged itself to slow things down.

After the initial cuts, things proceeded quickly with the hardest part being finding places to hide the debris since the creek was immediately below the work area. 

As the tree was being removed, part of the crew headed off to brush the entire length of the trail behind the campground as it required a lot of ducking and weaving to navigate. After everything was completed, we split into two smaller crews with one group heading out to check on a reported problem on Dool Trail just above Skyline-to -Sea while the others replanted a 'You Are Here' trail map signpost at the juncture of Buzzards Roost Trail and Eastridge Trail. 

Jeff’s Crew on Sequoia and Shadowbrook

We hit the road and headed up Lodge Road and parked across from the Kirsch Trail. There was a report of a mess on the trail between the Schultz Bridge and Sempervirens Campground. We did pass a Tan Oak with about 10 branches having been cut a foot or so from the edge of the trail. We continued on passing the campground and then onto the Shadowbrook Tail. We came across 2 tan oaks one having been up rooted. It took about an hour and we were able to push the root ball off the trail.

The next tan oak was at the end of the Shadowbrook near the Eastridge trail. A couple of cuts later the trail was cleared.

The next report was along the upper section of Shadowbrook Trail above the Sempervirens Falls. We parked along Lodge Road where the trail crosses the road and it was a short hike to a messy fir. This took longer than the other downed trees but what a difference after we were done.

We all got back to the tool shed with perfect timing to head to Boulder Creek for our annual Holiday Party.  The crew put in 124 hours and we ended the year with 1245 hours and a big thanks to Norm Beeson, Jeff Bleam, David Bryan, John Collins, Alicia Clark, Michele Gelblum, Peter Gelblum, Jan Hill, Shyamal Kapadia, Janie Leifhelm, John Martin, Mike Peasland, David Philleo, Aaron Poulos, Dale Stadelman, Devdutt Sheth, and Chris Young.

Cheers to the close of BBVTC 49th year working on the Big Basin SP trails

Cheers to the close of BBVTC 49th year working on the Big Basin SP trails

by Mike and Jeff

photos by Aaron, Janie, Jan, Mike, and Jeff

Birds of the Day

Band-tailed Pigeon (Patagioenas fasciata)

Acorn Woodpecker (Melanerpes formicivorus)

Pileated Woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus)

Steller's Jay (Cyanocitta stelleri)

American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos)

Common Raven (Corvus corax)

Brown Creeper (Certhia americana)

Pacific Wren (Troglodytes pacificus)

Ruby-crowned Kinglet (Regulus calendula)

Varied Thrush (Ixoreus naevius)

Hermit Thrush (Catharus guttatus)

Cedar Waxwing (Bombycilla cedrorum)

Purple Finch (Haemorhous purpureus)

Dark-eyed Junco (Junco hyemalis)

Spotted Towhee (Pipilo maculatus)

OCT 2018 - STS to Timm's Creek and Filling Wood Shed

OCT 2018 - STS to Timm's Creek and Filling Wood Shed

After several months of project work with the State Trail Crew, it was back to a more normal summer-fall workday  which means a little of this and a little of that.  With 12 crew members out, we split into 2 crews with one heading out to clear a tree on the Skyline-to-Sea Trail near the Joe Metty Bypass and what would be a 5+ mile day while the other crew followed up on several miscellaneous things that had been pending for a couple of months.