Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Hitch #2: Walker Pass

My crew and I worked on our second and third hitches without returning home in between which explains why I haven't posted in so long. Our second hitch lasted 8 days. It was our first backpacking trip. Luckily we had mule packers haul in water, food and other tools. We still had to pack in some tools as you can see in the picture below.

Here we unleashed our war cry as we began our 5 mile hike up to base camp. The rock bar I'm brandishing like King Leonidas of Sparta weighed over 10 lbs.

We set up a base camp where we were given special permission to have a fire. This was very nice because the nights were cold, windy and dark by 6pm or so. The fire gave us the ability to stay up till 8pm or later instead heading to the tent early. One night we even made S'mores for Kevin's birthday.

A lady named Suzanne (green hat) who volunteers on the PCT came and helped us for a few days.

Our project was to repair sections of the Pacific Crest Trail. Many volunteers help repair and maintain the trail during the year, but we were given this particular section because of the terrain. It is simply a cliff in many parts and difficult to work on. Many parts of the trail were eroding and collapsing and needed a rock wall for support.

To build a rock retaining wall we first dug out the trail until we had a solid platform to lay a foundation of large rocks. The ideal situation is when the platform is solid stone, but half the time we had to just make a platform out of the soil and hope that it would stand up to erosion.

All the stones we used were gathered from the immediate area along the trail, uphill or even downhill. As you can imagine it wasn't easy to find many large, rectangular shaped stones and then move them to the site. Each stone we laid had to fit snugly with no wobbling next to or on top of other stones since we were not using any kind of mortar.

After building up a wall we filled the trail side in with smaller crushed rocks. Then we piled the dirt back on the trail to finish it off.

Rosy, Miz and I worked on two projects. The before and after pictures are shown below.

This project took the three of us five days to complete. It is a 7 meter stretch of trail. What a relief it was to finish that sucka!

One of the best parts of the day for me was lunch time. We were privileged to have a beautiful view the whole time we were working, but during lunch I had time to relax and enjoy it.

In the valley in the distance is the town of Ridgecrest where two other crews are stationed.


Freefall said...

Great work on the PCT. The before and after pics were awesome. On behalf of the hiking community, I just want to say, "Thanks" for maintaining the trail.

PCT 2003

Sassmouth said...

Thanks and you're welcome. It was tough but enjoyable work.

fooiemcgoo said...

your crew looks like a lively bunch. that is cool.

good work, mike. we are proud of you and glad you are doing what you love.

hey, it snowed last night. rememeber snow? it is white and cold.