Partly for fun, but of course for work too, we closed up the office and went up to the trail. The goal was check out one of our major projects: the re-alignment of the Pacific Crest Trail north of the Sierra Buttes.
On Thursday, we day hiked and a few of us jumped in a lake. In the afternoon, we joined the ACE corps crew at their base camp. They cooked up dinner of pork, potatoes and carrots. We played ring toss, set up tents, chatted, and enjoyed the evening.
Yesterday, we picked up tools and joined the crew for a day of trail building. It’s a many-year project. I worked on clearing brush along the flag line. It’s the step before cutting new trail tread (which another team was doing).
It’s really neat to build new Pacific Crest Trail. It’s done with so much intention, planning and very high standards. Laying out the trail and constructing it in a way that will make it long-lasting with little maintenance is the basic goal. When it’s open in a few years, the PCT will be further away from roads, pass by more water, mountain views and a nice campground.
After being on the volunteer email list for far too long, I finally committed to showing up. Luck would have it that we’d be “finishing” the Pope to Putah Creek trail near Lake Berryessa.
Led by Bam Bam, the crew was a bunch of pros. It was great to meet the people that maintain the greater Bay Area’s trails. Out of the ten volunteers this weekend, at least half of them seemed to volunteer every other weekend. They’re the ones showing up, weekend after weekend, to retread, brush and log-out.
I sometimes complain about the condition of trails in places like Ventana. These were the people that work to fix it.
The Pope Creek to Putah Creek project has been ongoing for at least a few years. Yesterday, we extended the tread all the way to it’s destination. And then, at Putah Creek (flooded by Lake Berryessa), we drank champagne (8 ounces between 10 people) and went for a swim.
It’s an interesting trail. Brand new. Remote. Scenic. Backpackable.
Not yet really ready. I learned a fair amount about what it takes for volunteers to build new trail. At this point, there’s still quite a bit to do. Widen and re-bench it. Rebuild steep sections. Brush. Sign. In it’s current shape, it’s almost as if it’s disappearing. Some sections are definitely a first hash. Get something on the ground. Break through the brush. Make it to the creek.
We made it.
Props to all who regularly show up to build our trails. It’s an incredible, and important hobby. I had a good time meeting all of you on this stint.