Posted by Scott Crellin on Sunday, May 4, 2014
Another trail work day, another bunch of dead ceanothus..... Yes, spring has sprung and apparently immediately transitioned to the dead of summer. So, here is the latest news:
On April 23, Ken McIntyre, Phil Anthony and I hiked up the West Mesa trail and on to Burnt Pine in order to remove a very large oak that had fallen and blocked the trail. Mac did some masterful work with the chainsaw to remove the oak. We also did some trimming back of ceanothus in the area so that trail should be quite delightful to run (unless more trees have fallen down).
On April 29, I went for a nice loop hike up Milk Ranch Road to Black Oak west and down Sugar Pine to scout out conditions and do a bit of spraying on new sprouts of ceanothus. Depsite the high winds, there was only 1 downed tree on that entire stretch of trail. Alas, as detailed below, more trees were soon to fall....
On a very windy 30th, Mac and I drove up the Middle Peak fire road, intending to intersect the Sugar Pine trail at the top of Middle Peak. But first, we had to remove 4 downed trees from the road. Once at Sugar Pine, we hiked down to remove a large fir. As we were cutting it, another one fell about 30 feet away! Fortunately, we heard some warning cracks and were safely out of its way. So, another tree to remove. Then, some additional spraying of ceanothus sprouts and it was time to drive back down the fire road. But, not so fast: 2 more trees had fallen across the road since our drive up earlier that morning.
Meanwhile, Dave Capron, Howard Wiggins and Kit Sturdevant was also up in the Cuyamacas working on a project over on the Kelly Ditch trail, where it crosses Engineer Road. I don't really know exactly what they have planned but it apparently involves taking lots of very, very big rocks and turning them into little bitty rocks.
On May 3, we got another crew of ultra runners to work on the finishing touches for Sugar Pine: Jeri Ginsberg, Mike Thomas, Julie Santillan, Karl Whealton, Greg Gayman and Sean Nakamura. I humped in a brush cutter and we cleared a couple of remaining sections on that trail so that runners will have a nice clear path. We did have to work around some poison oak, but that's now been sprayed and hopefully will be nice and dead by the start of SD100. Extra kudos to Mike Thomas for sawing thru a very large fir tree with just a 20 inch hand saw. Check out the triumphant photo.
Post-work lunch was back at the picnic area at Paso Picacho. Everyone had a nice lunch on a summer-like day (it was about 85 per my car temperature thingy). Thanks to Sean for being our squirrel watchdog; the little buggers know no fear and will quickly jump up onto the table to steal your food.
So, thanks to everyone for helping out. Our trails just keep getting better and better. ARGGGHHH. Sorry, Don't know why a couple of the pics came out upside down.