Project Leader: Patrick Gallo Project Dates: Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thursday July 22nd thru Monday July 26th: Finishing up the month’s projects
On Thursday, we hiked in the northeast corner of the Los Angeles River Ranger District inside the Angeles National Forest. We always worked inside this ranger district. The trail we took was the one to Mt. Islip. The place was really close to the wilderness areas which means we were in pine forest about 6500ft to an summit of 8000ft above the sea level. We hiked to the summit, ate our lunch, and went down for a total length of 7 miles. I was completely exhausted throughout the entire hike since hiking up hills has always been a workout for me. We went grocery shopping afterwards at a nearby mountain town.
On Friday, we did preparation work for the event tomorrow with the Sierra Club at Mill Creek with Andrew and Blake (the National Forest’s Trail Program Manager and Assistant). We’ve constructed a wooden wall made of burnt logs to help stabilize the soil on the edge of the trail to stop the erosion of the trail. We also did a little chainsaw training with a hot shot crew where I’ve cut down limbs from a collapsed burnt tree. All the trees in this area are burnt but still stood erect. And there are probably over a hundred burnt trees in this little picnic area.
On Saturday, the event with the Sierra Club took place. We’ve constructed many wooden walls, a few drainage dips, and some treading. Andrew and Blake where supervising and leading the event, as well as cutting down trees to be used as logs for the wooden walls. Each SCA crew member were in charge of a group of Sierra Club volunteers with the task of fixing up a section of the trail. I was there leading a group to build two wooden walls. I have so much fun with the Sierra Club that it helps distract me from the heat of the sun and lack of shade in the area.
On Sunday, we worked at Mt Gleason removing Spanish Bloom. This time we drove for an extra hour just to get to the site where Spanish bloom exist. I’ve felt that we done a lot to remove most of the Spanish Bloom in that area. Yet, I see Spanish Bloom along the roadsides which signals that there are areas that need to be worked on. Well, anyways, this is the last day for doing this sort of project. It still is very hot working there.
On Monday, we prepared to do the projects in West Fork and Chilao Visitor Center. We went to Vons for a little internet connection to put in our hours and for a little food. We went to Home Depot to buy materials (wood and bolts) for the preparation work at West Fork Trails Camp and the Chilao Visitor Center. We also did a short site assessment at West Fork to plan ahead. Yes, it does take a whole day to do this kind of thing since it takes an hour to get into civilization.
Thursday July 29th thru Monday August 2nd: West Fork Hitch
On Thursday, we worked at the Chilao Visitor Center’s Three Panel Display. We spent most of the day cutting wood, measuring the display, and installing the wood to the display’s fixtures. We had to redo everything since we screwed up. We now have an SUV to make our time more efficient by being able to split the group into two to do two different things at once as well as increase the load capacity of our trips so that we don’t have to waste time doing two or more trips for an hitch. Half of our group was gone for half the day since they went to see the doctor regarding strange rashes that covered their bodies. Two SCA interns (Chris and Ryan) from a nearby ranger district have come over to us in the afternoon and will be with us for the next few days for a hitch.
On Friday, we set up camp at West Fork Trails Camp for the event tomorrow. We had to do two trips with the red truck so that we can move the necessary wood planks to replace the picnic tables in addition to the supplies and tools for tomorrow’s event. West Fork is located in a dense part of a oak forest along a creek at the bottom of a canyon. The place is really remote and the one land dirt road is partially washed out with the electric company working along the same road to do repair work on their power lines. That means the one lane road that switchbacks across a ledge has some traffic and makes it slow and difficult to navigate around other trucks just to get to our site. West Fork is a breeding ground for mosquitoes in the mornings and evenings. Apparently, I am the favorite person to be bitten by those flying insects for some strange reason. We’ve moved the concrete ‘legs’ of the new tables to their respected sites within the campground. Those legs are so heavy that it takes 3 persons to move one of these legs. I think they weigh around 350 lbs. We also installed one table to figure out how to do it. We did this in preparation for tomorrow’s event.
On Saturday, we did the volunteering event at West Fork. Several volunteers shown up for this event. The goal was to replace 4 picnic tables, install 2 fire pits, do hazard reduction for 6 fire pits, and salvage what wooden tables we can get. We’ve spent most of the time sanding and painting the wooden planks that we moved to this site. Stacy was the one in charge for this event and I see that we were pretty efficient in the matter. We’ve replaced 2.5 picnic tables, did hazard reduction for 4 fire pits, and salvaged one table. We’ve created a wood pile at the parking lot so that when John the Ranger comes by with the truck, he can collect the wood and store it at one of those large wood piles around the national forest. After working there, we hiked for a couple of hours along the creek to see the beauty of the creek and surrounding environment. We hiked yesterday to a different part of the creek. The creek was a very beautiful area but full of poison oak and ivy.
On Sunday, we finished up what we started at West Fork and returned back to the Chilao Barracks. We finished constructing 1.5 picnic tables and 2 fire pits and did hazard reduction on those 2 fire pits. We’ve returned back to the Chilao Barracks to clean out the coolers from our food, treated the tools and clothes with “Technu” from poison oak exposure, and returned the tools back to the warehouse. Chris and Ryan left to go back to their home away from home in the nearby ranger district.
On Monday, we worked on the three panel display at Chilao Visitor Center. We’ve put in the missing wood that we were supposed to on Thursday, made borders and cut the plexiglass for the door fixture. That was a whole other carpentry lesson of its own! Jen had to leave this group since she had a family emergency and she’s not coming back to finish up the term. So the SCA crew and a few members from the forest service went to a goodbye dinner for her. I’ll miss her!
Thursday August 5th thru Sunday August 8th: Valley Forge Hitch
On Thursday, we worked on the three panel display at Chilao Visitor Center. We’ve continued working on cutting plexiglass and the wooden borders for the doors. We’ve cut plexiglass with a power sander/grinder to the dimensions of the wooden borders. We’ve broken the corners of one sheet of plexiglass and another sheet was all scratched up. So we now had to get two more sheets of plexiglass from Home Depot. We’ve went to a follow up appointment with the doctor regarding those rashes. I don’t have any rashes but Dan and Stacy did.
On Friday, we did preparation work for my project at Valley Forge Trails Camp. Valley Forge is close to West Fork and is similar to it too. However, Valley Forge had less trees and tall grass covered the area. We’ve set up at Valley Forge and cleared the parking lot since the parking lot was full of small rocks and sand from the washout. It was generally cool due to the shade like West Fork.
Saturday was the day of the volunteering event. Pat went with the SUV to pick up the volunteers as we set up the place for the event. The job was to unbury 3 picnic tables and one fire pit one foot deep in sand, sand and paint 5 tables, repair one table, remove a metal drainage structure, and repair a bridge with a few wood boards. Several volunteers showed up for the event and we completed most of the work except repairing that one table and the bridge. We’ve hiked along the creek in the afternoon to enjoy its beauty.
Sunday was the day to cleanup and finished the remaining projects in Valley Forge and Chilao Visitor Center. We’ve spent a quarter of the day packing up and finishing those remaining projects in Valley Forge and half the day at the Chilao Visitor Center finishing up that three panel display. We’ve got the 2 plexiglass sheets from Home Depot and finished the doors for the three panel display. So now, the three panel display is almost done. We’ve installed two doors for the three panel display and will need to install the last door when we get the chance. Overall, this was a very busy day.
This is the end of my blog entries. I thank you for reading the summer adventures of an SCA Fire Recovery Team and I hope you enjoyed them. Have fun!