There were 12 members out on a cool morning at HQ. After saying he would not be able to make the December workday and Holiday Party, longtime Trail Crew lead Jeff made a surprise appearance so we knew it would be a good day! We split up into 2 crews with one heading up to the back side of Howard King Trail and the other headed to Timm's Creek Trail. We started at the shed to collect our tools and the shed looks great.
Timm's Creek Crew: Lead Mike
The December workday typically focuses on passing several leisurely hours before heading into Boulder Creek for the annual Holiday Party, but this year was a little different as we had reports of problems on the Howard King and Timms Creek Trails so we would need to move quickly if we were to make the party.
The Timms Creek group got off to a less than inspiring start as coming out of the Old Lodge parking area I became engrossed in a conversation about Subaru's and instead of heading toward Gazos Creek Fire Rd made a wrong turn and headed us towards China Grade. (Don't ask my wife about my inability to do two things at the same time!) After realizing the error of my ways and finding an area to turn around, we finally made our way to Middle Ridge Fire Rd and started the hike down Sunset towards Timms Creek where we found the Trail closed.
There were no major issues on Sunset, so most of the group moved quickly towards Timms Creek while Janette and Janie held back and did routine maintenance on what would turn out to be 12 foot bridges along the trail. Although removing debris from bridge decking and between the planks can be on the same level as brushing, decaying debris is the leading cause of failure for these bridges so the work is vitally important.
After reaching the Sunset-Timms Creek we could see the first tree laying across the trail, a 6-inch Tan Oak. Being on a tight schedule, we decided to use the chainsaw and David B. offered to do the cutting. After donning the all protective gear David approached the tree, stopped briefly and then bent over, picked up the tree from the rotted and broken end and tossed it off to the side. Not wanting to waste a running chain saw, he made a couple of quick cuts to make things a little neater on the side of the trail and was finished.
Fortunately their was another tree about a third of a mile down Timms Creek, a 14-inch Tan Oak that needed a like more work and actual chainsaw work to complete the clearing.
By the time the second tree was removed, it was getting late and we needed to make a quick hike back to the cars if we were to make the party!
Howard King Crew: Lead Chris and Dale S.
There were reports of 4 trees across Howard King Trail so we started by driving up Hihn Hammond Fire Road. The crew was made up by Chris, Dale S., Peter, Michelle, and me. All of the trees were on the back side after the Mt. McAbee Overlook.
The first downed tree was a tan oak where Peter went to work on limbing the tree as Chris got the saw ready.
The next encounter was a Ghost Tree, which the photo doesn't do any justice to the size and the shape of the Redwood.
Next was a Madrone that took a few cuts to clear the trail. What did we find in the middle of the tree acorns: now how did they get there?
Don't ever mess with motivation. Peter attacks the tan oak but what is that orange thing within an arms reach?
After we finished on Howard King Trail, we headed to East Ridge behind Bloom's Creek Campground in search of a 3ft tree across the fire road. On the way down from Howard King Trail to East Ridge the temperature dropped 32 degrees from the 60's to the 40's. This was a difficult clearing since the tree was of a gravel road and there was a risk of hitting rocks with the chainsaw and in need of a rock bar. We ran out of time but was able to clear a pass through until next month where will clear it. This ran us behind our time where we met the other crew at the Pizza place about an hour late.
It was nice to see the old timers and also the new members that I have met only a couple of times. The pizza hit the spot but the beer was nice too.
It was a great day and I would like to thank David B, Michele, Peter, Shyamal, Janie, John, Jordan, Janette, Mike, DaleS, Chris, and those who joined the gathering David P. and Shelly. The crew put in 89 hours and ended the the with a record 1312 hour for 2017. Great job all for keeping Big Basin SP as on of the best maintained park in State Park System.
by Mike and Jeff
Birds of the Day
2 Anna's Hummingbird Calypte anna
1 Acorn Woodpecker Melanerpes formicivorus
1 Hairy Woodpecker Picoides villosus
1 Steller's Jay Cyanocitta stelleri
2 California Scrub-Jay Aphelocoma californica
1 Bewick's Wren Thryomanes bewickii
4 Wrentit Chamaea fasciata
4 Dark-eyed Junco (Oregon) Junco hyemalis [oreganus Group]