4/17/13

Posted by Scott Crellin on Thursday, April 18, 2013

Early on Wednesday the 17th, Howard Wiggins, Dave Capron, Ken McIntyre and myself met up with John Sproule at Paso Picacho toolyard (after Mac and I had, even earlier that day, stashed a vehicle at the junction of Fern Flat fire road and the West Mesa trail).  We drove up to Cuyamaca Peak where we discovered that the wet cloud conditions and high winds overnight had left the trees covered in exotic ice drapery.  See attached photos.  In some places, the ice was feathered on branches in thin sheets 3-4 inches long. 



But, our mission was not our collective esthetic improvement, it was to remove downed trees on the Burnt Pine and West Mesa trails.  Armed with two chain saws, a couple of hand saws and a brush cutter, we headed off.  Howard, Dave and Mac took out trees on the Conejos connector trail between Lookout Road and Burnt Pine, while John and I worked on the ones on the upper section of Burnt Pine.  Eventually, our paths merged on Burnt Pine and we continued downhill, taking out trees ranging from small branches to a large 36 inch plus pine.  We think the total was about 15.

We stopped for lunch and I've attached a nice photo of the crew, together with their implements of destruction.  Finally, after humping the brush cutter about 4 miles, Mac got a chance to put it to work on our mortal enemy, the ceanothus bush.  We'll be returning to the lower portion of Burnt Pine/upper West Mesa, to further widen out the trail corridor.  

About 50 yards before we got down the hill and back to our exit vehicle, we discovered another large (36 inch plus) pine across the trail.  Time did not permit us to remove it.  But, it will be a fun project for someone in the next week or two! 
It was a pretty long day as we covered about 5 miles of trail, making it back to Paso around 3:00 p.m.  Mac and Howard had to rush back to town, but Dave and I hung around for tool clean up, etc.  Once that was done, we mosied over to the picnic area to share a bottle of Freudian Sip porter from Rough Draft brewing.  As we were chatting, I was looking over Dave's shoulder and noticed a squirrel making a mad dash over the ground and into its hole.  A few seconds later, a bobcat trotted up and was only about 10 feet away!  It had been fixated on the squirrel and then looked up to see Dave and I and I swear you could hear it thinking to itself:  "oh shit!"  It headed out across the parking lot and I managed to snap a quick picture with my cell phone.  It was a fun ending to a busy day of trail work.



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