Posted by Scott Crellin on Wednesday, April 8, 2015
Yes, it was on April 1 when us two fools (me and Ken McIntyre) hit the road early to drive up to the San Mateo Wilderness west of Lake Elsinore. We'd been asked by the Forest Service to remove a large downed oak on the Bear Canyon trail. We had a lovely hike in, and began sawing away on the oak using a a 4 foot crosscut saw and a 5 foot two-man saw. Everything was going swell and we should have foreseen that we would be the recipient of an April fools hoax......
The hoax, in this case, was our discovery that the rootball of this big oak was NOT firmly attached to ground on the uphill side of the trail. Alas, we could not have known this until we made our second cut, a few hours into the morning (cutting oaks with hand saws takes a long, long time). At this point, we had 90% of the tree cut and ready to be removed but the tremendous weight and downhill pressure from the rootball prevented us from finishing the job. We worked on that sucker for 5 hours but just couldn't get the last little bit sawed through. Sigh. We informed the ranger on what needed to be done (a bit of axe work and the job would be finished off) and headed back to San Diego and directly to Blind Lady Alehouse to refresh our sagging spirits.
On Saturday, I met up with Octavio Almas, Dan Curly, Shinji Ito, Jeff Miller and Sean Nakamura to continue removing brush on the Conejos trail. It was a lovely spring morning in the Cuyamacas and we got a lot accomplished under difficult conditions. We also enjoyed seeing a pack of ultra runners coming down Conejos as part of a training run for Lost Boys. Post-work, it was back to Paso Picacho for a picnic lunch, topped off by introducing Shinji to the joys of a Peeps sugar bomb.
Check out the pics and check out how fine the Conejos trail is looking. Many thanks to our hard working volunteers and a special shout-out to Ken McIntyre for working with me so tirelessly on that #%$&! oak tree! Happy Easter!