Today we marshaled a six-man sawyers team to attempt to clear the snow and ice damage to the ten miles of trail from Crystal Springs Road to Brady Mountain. Road. We departed Crystal Springs at 9:00 am and emerged nine hours later at Brady Mountain Road.
The snow and ice had caused significant damage to this section. We removed 35-40 trees that had fallen across the trail, taken down by a combination of the ice, snow and wind. We had to tackle five large trees that had collapsed with their root balls completely obliterating the trail tread, leaving gapping holes where trail once had been found. We spent hours hauling rocks and dirt to fill these holes to create a passable tread again.
We also spent a great deal of time removing innumerable branches and bushes brought down on the trail by snow and ice. We trimmed all the overhanging limbs and removed hundreds of rock and boulders from the tread to improve footing for hikers, bikers and next week’s Run LOViT 100K runners.
The Day started gray and cool, and by the time we reached Little Bear Creek at the base of Big Bear Mountain, it was raining lightly. After we finally reached the summit of Bear Mountain, the sun broke out, and it warmed up nicely until about 2:00 pm, when the wind abruptly changed from a light southernly breeze to a very strong wind directly from the north. Giant old growth hardwoods swayed and creaked in the wind and at one point a large tree crashed down across the Trail about ten yards in front of our team. We kept a sharp lookout after that event for any possible widow-maker limbs and trees falling from the wind.
The views of the lake today were breathtaking. Bright sun highlighting the deep blue waters white capping in the wind was eye candy for the team. This time of year is the prime time for hiking or biking this section that offers seven miles of unobstructed views of the lake with its emerald green islands surrounded by their pearly white shores. We had lunch at the western-most trail bench, enjoying the view and the great brownies that our famous Traildog cook, Linda Berger, had baked and sent to the the Alpha Dog to share with the team, who fell on them like, well … a pack of starving dogs.
It was a great day to be on the trail, but at the end of the day we were Traildog tired but very satisfied we had won the battle of Bear Mountain.
We also had another two-man team continuing the the finish work on the new Section 8 now under construction, which we really appreciated. We will be back on the new construction next week on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.
We took notice of the newly installed mile permanent markers being installed the entire length of the trail by the US Corps of Engineers.
When we returned to our vehicles at the end of the day, the good folks sponsoring the 100K race had left our team a very tasty batch of homemade cookies. What a nice surprise. Thanks, Dustin and Rachel.