AK Corp Team 1: Week Three

Ups and Downs

On to week 3 up here at Mt. Baldy, and our first 10 day work week. We’re working through the weekend this week in order to be off early for the Fourth of July weekend coming up. There were some ups and downs this week, keeping things interesting.
 
The week started off on a gray, cold, rainy note. Two days of work in the rain was tough on us and tougher on the fresh trail. We finished cutting the tundra mats up through all of the second phase of the trail, leaving us with 3 HUGE piles of tundra mats wrapped up in tarp to be used for revegetation of the old section of trail. We also cut the switchback into our trail! With a lot of brainstorming and input from all of us as well as super helpful SCA Alaska friends we figured out just exactly what our switchback should look like (we hope). Switchbacks may seems straightforward, but trust me, they’re not! And are usually done incorrectly, so next time you see a switchback take some time to check it out and appreciate those inslopes and outslopes and grade reversals and retaining walls. Cool stuff.
 
Lunch in the rain…
 
Still feeling hardcore after a muddy day of work.
 
Mid-way through the week we were forced to take some time off of the trial to give the tread some much needed R&R. We used our time off of the mountain to spruce up our camp and to educate ourselves more about Alaska. As seen in the following photo, we constructed a new dining shelter…the rain and windy nights have claimed several of our poor structures already, but this one is built to last. We then went and visited the Alaska Public Lands Information center in Anchorage. Definitely a must see if you make it up to Alaska. We went on walking tour of Anchorage, learning about Captain Cook and the early discoveries of Alaska. We watched a film about Denali that made all of us about 10000X more excited than we already were to be going there. And we talked with a great guy who works with the park service now and has tons of stories about working trails in Alaska in earlier days. Learned about oil, dogsledding, resources, plants, and animals of Alaska. And ended the day with the initiation of a few new junior rangers, congratulations Sammy, Jaynae, and Evan- can’t wait to see all you do with this honor.
 
Jaynae, Evan, and Sammy initiated as new Junior Rangers!
 
New cooking shelter!!
 
Back on the trail by the end of the week, we took advantage of the drier weather to polish up all of phase 2. We smashed a lot of rocks, making crush to spread on the switchback and muddier sections of trail. We worked to get the trail outsloped just right and perfected our backslope. All of our work is rally coming together and starting to look great. Working through the weekend we got to chat with a lot of happy trail users that are excited to have new trail that’s safe and a bit easier to hike on. 100% of the dogs we interviewed were happy with the new trail as well.
 
We met a lot of great new people this week throughout our adventures. Fellow SCA crews and staff, park rangers, and great trail hikers. We finished the switchback and are getting closer to finishing up, feels great to see everything coming together. Through all of the ups and downs this week I think we all came out of it a little dirtier and mud covered than before, but pumped to have accomplished all we have and looking forward to our well-earned 4 day weekend coming up. Happy Fourth of July!!