August 5 Lost Ridge Hiking Trail work report
August 5'th was a work day for the San Gabriel Mountains Trailbuilders, a group of volunteers I some times participate with to maintain hiking and nature trails in the San Gabriel Mountains (I don't consider myself a "member" of the group, as such. I don't work nearly as hard as everyone else does.)
The group also establishes official hiking trails while closing unofficial trails in an effort to improve safety, try to reduce medical calls that the U. S. Forest Service and fire suppression crews are called on because of unofficial, difficult trails being used, and to reduce pollution and erosion caused by humans.
The volunteers work closely with the U. S. Forest Service, coordinating volunteers for a variety of projects in the Angeles National Forest, acquiring groups of college students, Boy Scouts, and others from time to time.
Saturday more work was performed on Lost Ridge Trail, one of the very nice hiking trails in the Crystal Lake recreation area. One end of the trail begins at Deer Flats with the other end at the lake road providing what I suspect to be approximately a mile of very good exercise in the National Forest. (North 34 degrees 19.610 by West 117 degrees, 50.592 at an altitude of approximately 5718 feet.)
The day was also one where a Basic Law Enforcement Seminar was being offered at the Mt. Baldy Education Center which I'd hoped to attend. Unfortunately since I'm on bicycle and the Center is about 25 or 30 miles away, I was unable to attend. (Also my bright orange bicycle is dead, the victim of too many difficult miles and being some 30 years old.)
One of the issues we run in to from time to time is volunteers having to ask people to put out their fires or to stop other dangerous, potentially deadly behavior in the mountains. Since most of us don't wear uniforms, a civilian making the request can be treated quite differently than a Forest Service safety officer or a Sheriff, and basic law enforcement training would have helped in seeing how to politely and safely handle dangerous situations among the general public.
Next year I'll try to attend that. I usually report fires or drunks shooting from the highway to the U. S. Forest Service who can then contact the Sheriff to take care of the problem. (I can't count the number of times I've hiked up the highway in the middle of the night pushing my bicycle past trash cans people have set on fire.) It's safer that way - for me, any way.
We gathered our tools at the Rincon Fire Station (North 34 degrees, 14.328 by West 117 degrees, 51.753, altitude approximately 1489 feet) then drove up another 12 or 14 miles or so to the lake. (Despite the fact that the barricade on the highway at around mile marker 29.6 has huge signs asking people not to block the gate, the gate was somewhat blocked my motorcycles who gladly moved aside a bit.)
Lost Ridge Trail has been worked on for a number of week ends now and it's nearly done. On August 19'th another pass will be done on the trail which should complete it. Fortunately the weather was perfect: we had been experiencing 100 degree (and higher) weather but last Saturday it was fairly cool up there, coming in some where around 80 degree or so, I would guess.
I had my son with me this time. We were planning on working with the trail builders until 2:00 p.m. or possibly 3:00 p.m. and then jump into Soldier Creek for a shower before checking in with the caretaker at the closed "Trading Post and Grill" about a quarter of a mile from the trail we'd worked on. The idea was to help the caretaker clear some minor remaining brush from around a building that I managed to some how miss from a pervious effort.
Unfortunately I'm not in that great of physical shape lately since my bicycle died and I stopped working around 12:00 and had to lay down and nurse a pounding headache until around 3:00 p.m. when the rest of the volunteers returned to the staging area. That meant I wasn't able to finish the job at the trading post, alas, so I'll have to see about doing that next week end.