Project Leader: Drew Foreman Project Dates: May 17,2010 - November 15,2010 Email Address: Aforeman@thesca.org
Coridoor cleared: 3947 ft
Trail restored: 910 ft
Our second to last hitch started out a bit rough. We were two men, or really two women, down for the first day. The boys, who usually are the less prepared of the group, were left in charge of their own and two additional meals and purchasing the group food. With an excess of bean and pasta and a tight budget, three meals nearly identical meals were devised with only a few seasonings and vegetables to spice them up. Both Kitt and Reuben devised original meals, still heavily drawing from the bulk food, and these kept all of us sane in the backcountry. Beyond the dinners, a few key pieces were forgotten while shopping because the boys couldn’t remember all the girls normally purchased at the store, all sorely missed the taste of brown sugar in their oatmeal in the mornings. Despite the minor problems with food, then entire hitch was filled with standard, tasty meals. Additionally, food was quite well proportioned so that the group ended up without the usual excess at the end of the hitch.
Beyond food, the hitch went along quite well. The hike in went as usual with heavy packs all around. We were unable to start on the two sections we had skipped last hitch because we had no camera to take before pictures. It seems trivial, but with the extent of the work to be done, a little documentation is necessary. So we spent the rest of our first hike in day clearing the corridor where we had left off before and crosscutting a few minor logs that lay in the path as we went along. At the end of the day we came to a particularly gnarly section of trail that we were supposed to clear out. There appeared to be two options, to cut far into the hill to fix the trail or reroute the section to the other side of Jerry’s Run. It inspired a grand debate that ended in the decision to leave the decision to Drew. Toward the very end of the work, Shane showed up giving us a final boost and helping us further our debate. That night Caitlin arrived and partook in the grand meal and dessert.
The next day we hiked the rest of the gear in and set up camp as usual. Then we got to work on the first section we skipped last hitch because we finally had the camera to document the initial state. Clearing the corridor of that section went quickly, but the amount of tread work kept us busy for the rest us the day with the exception of one venture to crosscut a log up ahead. During this venture, the ax handle split a piece off rendering it unsuitable for anything but driving wedges. Back at camp we found a tree down in our kitchen and the tarp down with it. We soon had everything back to normal, with a large tree off to the side, and went about our business as usual.
The next day started with the dropping of two large trees that were leaning across the trail. While Kitt, Reuben, and Drew tackled that, the rest of us continued to dig tread. Once the trees were down we split into groups to finish the tread and work on the next section we skipped last hitch. Both ventures were finished up by the end of the work day.
Day two in the backcountry took us to the spot where we had our heated debate over trail placement. Drew decided that the rerouted option was the most sustainable trail so we spend the rest of the day clearing the corridor, crosscutting, and cutting tread in that section. The crosscutting was easy except for one log that had two prongs that acted as a double trunk. Both needed to be removed from the trail, but neither could be cut individually using the two man crosscut. After a long laborious process both logs eventually yielded and our day ended with a new rerouted trail and time to continue up ahead.
Sunday was an average day of clearing corridor with a bit of crosscutting. At the end it did bring us to a crazy section with three trees on top of each other across the trail. Drew came up with an elaborate plan to safely and effectively remove them all. His plan included dropping one of their root balls back down a bit into its original. One tree was out by the end of the day, leaving the other two and the root balls for the next day.
Coming back to the crazy section, the plan continued to be executed perfectly including the root ball falling right back into its original hole. A dose of tread through that section finished out the work there, and it was up to the next section of crosscutting for us. Two trees needed to be cut out because they had root balls that were precariously perched on a hill above the trail. A Kitt West style trick shot was attempted in taking one piece of tree with another. The one tree was cut almost entirely out and the above tree was then slice in the same manner. The hope was that the second higher tree would take out the first. However, a bit of cajoling was necessary to get both down, which negated the trick shot.
On our last day, we split into teams to tackle the last bit of work for the hitch. Caitlin and Piper were sent up ahead with the crosscut saws to take out the necessary logs while the rest of us worked on tread and corridor that still required attention. Both crew worked well all day until we were ready to pack up and hike out. We left the trail 3947 feet clearer than we had found it, and we chalked up an impressive 910 feet of tread work. By all account this was a very successful and productive hitch.