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
8 April-16 April 2011
Owen’s Peak Wilderness near Walker Pass, CA
The crew’s fourth hitch began with a bit of chaos, but at this point we can handle the chaos like pros. Our plan for the hitch was put on hold due to waiting on governmental budget decisions that determined whether or not we were allowed to work on public lands. While we were waiting in limbo we were stationed at Walker Pass, where we scouted several miles of trail with PCTA regional rep Brendan Taylor and BLM employee Shane Neal. After one night at Walker Pass we hit the road back to Tehachapi anticipating the hitch to be on hold. Three miles down the road and back in phone service, the crew was happy to hear a decision was reached late the previous evening among the big wigs which meant that we were in the clear to proceed with our hitch as planned. We turned the rig around and spread the news to the packers who helped us transport food, tools, water and gear to our campsite. Many thanks to Bill Carter, George Boone, Brianne Chamney, Jan Hofstettler and Lonnie Langdon.
In addition to the budget issues making our plans topsy-turvy, the crew also had to adjust to the absence of our dear crew member Andrew Vitale. Unfortunately the progress Andrew was making with his back injury took a turn for the worse before the hitch began, making him unable to join us in the field. In order to seek proper medical attention and not cause further damage to his back, Andrew has left the crew for the remainder of the season. He is thoroughly missed by everyone on the crew. We all support him and hope that he can heal up soon.
The site for this hitch, Owen’s Peak Wilderness, led us further into the backcountry than any of our previous hitches. The “True Sierras” begin to show themselves in this area so it was easier to get out of our tents in the morning knowing it meant seeing the sunrise over the mountains. Our work load was heavy with repairing stone retention structures that have seen better days. The crew re-built retention structures in their collapsed sections of the existing stone cribs along the trail. We also removed large rocks from the trail that could pose a problem for equestrians and hikers by making the corridor too narrow to pass safely. In between the larger projects we did treadwork; mostly re-benching the tread to widen the trail. Brushing was necessary in certain areas along the trail as well. We learned how stubborn yuccas can be--removing the plants encroaching on the trail took many powerful swings of the Pulaski. Volunteer Chris Ryerson joined the crew for the second half of the hitch and worked alongside the crew on various projects we undertook.
During this hitch the crew was confronted with many desert critters. We decided to move our camp kitchen after discovering we were potentially invading a family of scorpions on their turf. We will be returning to the same site for our final hitch later this week. The crew will be glad to return to the area to continue our work along this stretch of the PCT. Hopefully we will run into more sunshine and increasingly nice weather and less scorpions on our second run in the area.
Until next time,
Trail Maintained (ft): 10, 891
Stone Retention (sq ft): 340
Number of volunteers we worked with: 6
Stock used in packing: 12