29 December 2017

Lost Valley trail work

Los Padres National Forest

Click for map.

The Los Padres Forest Association has a double header of trail work with camping at NIRA in between and I decided to join in on the fun. There is even tree felling promised for the second day, which I have not yet witnessed. Today is just ordinary sawyer work on downed trees in Lost Valley. Safety gear, safety talk, a gathering of equipment and tools, and we set off up the Manzana to Lost Valley. Everyone here today has done this before and it does not take very long to start.

morning sun and trail
Heading up the Manzana in the morning sun.

along the Manzana
And up along the Manzana Creek, but high enough above to generally not see it.

The junction is still hidden up a hill and probably will continue to be for the foreseeable future. Still, someone did manage to accidentally find it once. I wonder how that happened. Maybe got into camp, which is practically on the trail, and decided that was the wrong way then looked around for where it did go. It seems a plausible scenario. I suppose paying close attention at the junctions and knowing what other clues besides a sign might exist to indicate one is at them is sometimes necessary. It is just hard to remember to do when it represents a turn one does not mean to take. We pause a moment until everyone is in sight of the junction and then meaningfully take the turn to climb a little more steeply, at least for a brief time. The old trail is noticeably old road (only ever partly built) through here.

trail along old road bed
The old road bed the trail follows is often quite obvious along Lost Valley Trail.

Manzana Creek and surrounding mountains
The Manzana Creek and surrounding mountains becomes part of the view for a bit.

Hurricane Deck becomes visible
We lose the Manzana for Hurricane Deck as views as we proceed up Lost Canyon. Few trees out here, but they are big. There is one worker up ahead on the trail for scale.

The trail navigates a few old road washouts getting into the creek from time to time. We follow the footprints easily enough in between road sections. Then there is the first tree. The other groups continue up to the next trees, but my group has arrived at our project for the day. It is actually two trees that have fallen across the trail and a third that has slide down the canyon side over the trail and they all have multiple trunks as they cross. Time to settle into some work.

tree mess
Arrival at the blockage. The rest continue up.

sawyer cutting through the tree
Sawyer on the first tree while we take off the limbs that might get in our way working or of trail users later on the rest.

The sun breaks over the top of the canyon and brings quite a bit of heat with it. It sure was nice before it got here. Temperature is expected to swing massively today. While not freezing, it was very crisp as we started and could be pushing 75°F at the peak.

on to the next tree
Getting through a pair of trunks on the second tree with the sawyer. Silky Bigboy saws are just big enough to take on the many trunks of the third.

observing the sawyer
There is some pinching, so a few wedges need to be placed to keep on going with the saw.

there goes the trunk
Once separated, off the trunk goes, down the hill. The rest are already taken with the little saws.

moving rocks
Nothing left but to clean up the tread. There is quite a lot of rock that came down with the larger tree that slid in, so this is actually quite a bit of work, too.

We are done a bit earlier than planned. The trees further up are allotted to other groups, so we head down to sort out a couple small things on the way. First is a tree we suspect is sort of holding the trail in, so not much is touched on it. Next, we replant the sign for Lost Valley Trail. Leaning and sometimes moving about, it is not as easy to see as if it stands on its own.

returning down Lost Valley
A stretch of good trail heading down Lost Valley.

southerly looking
A little more of Lost Valley and the old road.

There seems to be a feeling that the sign is not a good one to have, anyway, since it list South Fork as a destination for Lost Valley. Both trails go there, after enough correct turns, but the other way is shorter. Missing signs seem more important, but confusing signs might need some attention too. It is still early, but we head back.

water in the creek
Nice to see there is a little water in the Manzana Creek even if we are still waiting for the first real rain.

©2017, 2018 Valerie Norton
Posted 4 Jan 2018

1 comment:

cahikerchick said...

I saw this blog a few days ago, so decided to head out to Twin Oaks camp for a day hike. I had headed out in May but was deterred by all the the downed trees and loose tread at the 3.5 mile mark. Yesterday's trek was easy going. Thanks for your trail work and thanks for your interesting and inspiring write ups.