Monday morning we are in route to Chino Valley to meet Crew 2, we have to finish brushing the trail we started on Friday. When we reach Chino we fuel up our Dolmar (small container filled with fuel and oil for our chainsaws). We prep our equipment and get in the mindset to work. When Crew 2 is ready to leave so are we. We follow the green truck out to the site. First is a hike up from the road to the trail where we stopped Friday. Brushing projects begin on the trail and sawyers and swampers are hard at work. Work does not take long to finish and we break for lunch. After lunch we will hike back to the trucks and head back to Chino Valley. At the trucks we perform an AAR (After Action Review) to recap the trail maintenance project including both days. We review what was supposed to happen and any bumps we came to along the way. When the day is over we perform tool maintenance.
On Tuesday we are to meet Crew 2 again at 0800 and perform more trail maintenance and brushing operations. On the AZ-89N about 2 miles from the Chino Valley office we see three green trucks pass us, trucks we know to belong to Crew 2. Over the radio they announce to the Dispatch that they are in route to the “Lookout Fire.” Unsure of what to do next we call our agency contact, Assistant FMO for the East Zone of Prescott National Forest, Jason Clauson. Mr. Clauson has us contact the FMO of the East Zone to find out where they need us. We head to the Prescott Fire Center to see him. We have not received our “Red Cards” yet so we cannot help with the wildfire. Today will be the day we catch up on our team needs, vehicle maintenance, and tool inspection/repair. At 1300 we are told to head to the White Spar Campground area and find trail 396. This trail, we learn, is a trail that is a part of the Prescott Circle Trail Project. We clean up and perform maintenance on 396 until end of day.
Wednesday we meet with a gentleman by the name of Evan, he is based out of the Downtown Prescott Forest Service Office. Evan is a “Trail Guy.” We learn more about the Circle Trail Project; it is a connection of trails that form a circle around the Prescott Basin. We are to construct trail in a new area to connect two existing trails. Today we learn the basics of constructing a new trail. Along the side of the mountain someone has flagged an area where the trail will be. We gather our hand tools and get to work. Between today and tomorrow we have to construct 800 yards of new trail. We complete a little more than half.
Thursday we meet Evan at the Downtown Prescott office and head back out to the Circle Trail. Today is a little different; we are working with a group of trail volunteers. The rest of the trail is completed by lunch time. The next area we drive to has not been brushed yet. We have three saws running, and four swampers. We prep the trail for a trail crew to lay in the trail at a later time. At the end of the day we perform an AAR and Evan informs us that Friday we will be working with his trail crew and doing trail maintenance on Mingus Mountain.
Friday morning we meet Erin, Lauren and Cricket (Evan’s team) at the hardware store down the street from out headquarters in Prescott at 0730. It is a forty-five minute drive to the Mingus Mountain trail we will work on. We go over a safety brief at the trucks and Erin lets us know the plan for the day. We will hike in about 2 miles in then begin the trail maintenance. The trail is in the desert of the mountain with no shade cover. It is a hard day’s work maintaining this trail and when 1230 rolls around we search for a shaded area to eat our lunch. After lunch we work our way back the way we came finishing up some of the work we missed. At 1430 we head back to the trucks and back to our HQ in Prescott. Another successful week for the VFC.