Rock Cribbing 23ft
Rock Water Bars 1
Rock Crush Created for Filling Tread 50cubic feet
Drainage Ditches 48ft
Hitch 3 started off with a relatively light hike in, as we were planning on doing a short but brutal set of four 10hr days. After a setting up camp and taking lunch we got right to work on the second set of cribbing which was started on hitch 2. Despite the fact that we were working 10hr days moral was greatly improved as Mitch was back on the job after being on light duty most of last hitch due to a back injury. The whole crew worked dedicatedly through the long days, and we accomplished our goal of finishing all of the rock setting for the second set of cribbing. Although we did not entirely finish filling the cribbing in with crush, we put down a solid base layer, finished the water bars at the top and bottom, and completed the drains so we left for the 4th of July weekend with a fully functional hardened section of trail.
At the close of our strenuous 4 day hitch we were ready for a much needed break.
Rock Cribbing 25ft
Rock Water Bars 2
Rock Crush Created for Filling Tread 100cubic feet
Drainage ditches 50ft
Hitch 2 brought our crew back into the swing of things after a much needed break. We spent the entirety of the first two days making crush for the section of cribbing we completed on hitch 1. We had discovered that while we were gone the combination of rain and horses necessitated another layer of crush on the tread. We had originally built the tread with a layer of crush, then a layer of mineral soil, another layer of finer crush, and then a top layer of mineral soil, as per our forest service contacts recommendation. With the additional crush added to the surface we found it to be a much more durable surface that should be able to handle years of abuse from equestrian usage with little maintenance.
After we were through making the majority of the crush, we refocused our efforts on our second set of cribbing. Our most experienced rock setter was unfortunately on light duty for the entire hitch due to a back injury, but this created an opportunity for the rest of the crew to alternate through taking the lead on setting rocks. It was a bit slower going, but everyone on the crew has increased their rock setting skills. Teamwork improvements also showed in our ability to move unwieldy boulders for the wall that in our earlier days in the field would have been exceedingly difficult with all six of us.
On the last day of our hitch we got hit with an unusually strong afternoon thunderstorm and got to really see our work function. Within 20 minutes a formidable stream of water was flowing down the trail and off of it where we had installed drainage structures. The tread we hardened with crush stayed solid and easy to walk on and the areas protected by our drainage features became muddy from the shear volume of water coming straight down, but it drained the way we wanted it to and stayed perfectly usable, while the rest of the trail quickly turned into a swamp that entirely swallowed boots and, at best, left its victims with soaking wet muddy feet. Experiencing this down pour was a great moral boost for the crew, as we saw firsthand that our work was functional.
The crew finished up their second hitch in the San Pedro Parks Wilderness last Wednesday. Combined with the efforts of Forest Service employees and independent volunteers we logged out and cleared about 9 miles of corridor. Because this area is under wilderness designation our main tool was the graceful crosscut saw.
The San Pedro Parks Wilderness area is a small area of high altitude forest and meadows in Northwestern New Mexico. Other than the resident summer cattle herd, the San Pedro Parks gets very few visitors.
Upon completion of training with our Agency Partners in Wayne National Forest including topics such as: Local Fire Ecology, Local Field Sampling, Cultural Awareness, and USFS Radio Use Protocols, the team took time to get organized prior to hitting the field.
As fieldwork is in the begining stretches, it has been important to work through the first several plots slowly to insure quality data collection. Sarah and Heidi have done an amazing job identifying plants as Andrew and Anna embrace tree identification and measurements.
The team completed remeaurements on 3 FIREMON plots -- 2 in the Buckhorn burn area, Ironton District and 1 in the Big Baily burn area, Athens Distict. The next several months will keep the team occupied primarily in the Athens District. With temperatures rising and the bugs out in full-force, spirits remain high as we delve into the task at hand.
Cultural days have included visits to Hocking Hills State Park and the Hopewell Culture National Historical Park:
Highlights for July include FFT2 Red Card training! Keep tracking our progress here, or stop by for a site visit and help us count some trees.
These past couples of days were long and exhausting. Our mornings started at 4:30am and by 6:30am we were digging new tread. We started on a couple of rock walls this week and we look forward to seeing the end result. With there being no rain these few days the heat became physically draining and pushed us to our limit. On this hitch we have gained 274ft of finished tread and have 190ft of new tread.
We are all here for a purpose
We are here to serve
We are conservationist
And our goal is to preserve
We are strong workers
We work far and in-between
With rock walls and 24inch tread
We have become a trail team
There is so much to learn
New places to discover
What we might find
And soon will uncover
We grow stronger and wiser
As days go by
Time will seem short
And soon we’ll be saying goodbyes
But for now we have time
So we will do our best
For our work skills
Will be put to the test
This land has more to offer
Than the average person can see
Take a short walk with us
And soon you will see
We are conservationist
And it’s what we do
The trails we build
Are made especially for YOU!