Project Leader: Heidi Brill Project Dates: February 2011-May 2011 Phone: 208.860.8728 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org 96 Brentwood Drive Tehachapi, CA 93561
27 March-3 April 2011
Oak Creek Canyon & Hwy 58, near Tehachapi CA
This hitch started out under unusual circumstances following a freak, early spring snowstorm. Originally, the crew was slated to spend ten days camped out in Oak Creek Canyon, but four feet of snow prevented this from happening and resulted in a two day delay of the hitch. Because of the two day delay, the crew was forced to work grueling ten hour days to make up for lost time. As it turned out, the road leading into Oak Creek Canyon, a primitive and rutted gravel path in the best conditions, proved impassable; leader Heidi Brill decided it would be in the best interest of the crew to rest in the relative safety of the crew house and commute to the work site daily.
Another unexpected aspect of this hitch was the injury of valued crew member Andrew Vitale. Engaged in strenuous lifting and rock-work in the crew’s previous hitch, Vitale suffered a severely strained back. Hardworking and tenacious to a fault, Vitale insisted that he participate in the hitch but leader Heidi Brill, suspecting the worst, ordered him to seek medical attention. Doctor’s orders for Vitale were uncompromising: rest, relaxation and physical therapy. Homebound and recovering, Vitale’s mission for the remainder of the hitch shifted to morning pancake preparation and evening dinner-duty. Regardless of the severe pain of his injury, Vitale did his best to keep up the spirits of the crew and day by day made successful steps toward recovery.
For the rest of the crew, this hitch was a true test of physical toughness and technical-trailworking skill. The first two days were based in a particularly un-scenic stretch of the Pacific Crest Trail running along a bustling freeway; clearing brush and removing garbage were top priorities. Other trail crews may have been discouraged by such unsavory work, but the remaining members of PCT I treated the job with uncommon professionalism and successfully performed their duty.
Following this brief stint on the freeway, the lion’s share of work the crew performed turned out to be exhausting, strenuous and again, unexpected. The same storm that delayed the hitch blew down dozens of trees along the trail. Following this development, other projects were pushed to the back burner and the crew began full scale log removal.
All in all, over one-hundred trees were removed from the trail- no light task considering their precarious positions and the treacherous terrain on which they rested. Leader Heidi Brill, the only officially certified chainsaw operator of the crew, served as main sawyer. The remaining members worked under Brill assisting in tree removal.
Even mechanical difficulties could not stop the drive and determination of the crew. On the second day of log removal a faulty sparkplug preventing the chainsaw from firing left the crew with only one option- removing trees the old fashioned way with axes and pulaskis. For an entire ten-hour day, the crew battled gargantuan pines and oaks like lumberjacks of old, proving that this trail crew could overcome any setback or obstacle thrust upon it.
Fortunately, a new sparkplug was installed the next day and the chainsaw ran strongly for the remainder of the hitch. After this the crew set a brisk pace, eventually clearing a four and a half mile stretch of trail for another season of annual through-hikers.
Though multiple unexpected developments necessitated old plans be scrapped and new ones drawn up, this hitch highlighted the qualities that separate exceptional trail crews from the common. Enthusiasm for rigorous work, unrelenting drive and positive attitudes were constantly on display among the members and leader of PCT I. With any luck, subsequent hitches may go by with fewer hang ups and difficulties, but if any do occur there should be no doubts that this crew will tackle them head on.
Until next time,
Danny & Corey
Signs Installed and Created: 17
Trail Brushed: 10892 feet
Trash picked up: 55 pounds
Blowdowns removed: 137
Check dams Installed: 6
Desert tortoise trainings attended: 1
Total trail maintained: 34811 feet