30 December 2017

Lower Manzana 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 today, but I am in a group that will hike down a few more miles and clean up some tread. Better luck next time. We get to see a lot of the trail, but might miss big trees coming down. We collect some tools and head off for it.

line on the side of the wide canyon
Getting on down the trail. There are five workers across the way on the trail.

dead trees around a picnic table
A little over a mile down is Potrero Camp, which is currently made dangerous by standing dead pine trees. Some gather to make it safe.

We leave most the volunteers at Potrero Camp and keep on going down the creek for a few more miles. There is one other group heading up Potrero Canyon to clear a tree off the trail. I know at least one in it was also really wanting to get in on the tree felling, too. He will definitely get a chance eventually.

Horseshoe sign
We head down about four miles to Horseshoe Bend Camp and check out this mildly hidden spot before going off to work. The sign is somewhat down the trail.

flimsy table
The fire ring is nice and strong, but the tables seem a little flimsy compared to the usual ones.

The camp is huge, but there are only a couple tables and they look a little rickety. At the far end, Manzana Creek is flowing slowly and there is a large swimming hole. It looks a little gooey today and too chilly anyway.

swimming hole between cliffs
A bit of a pool between rocky cliffs on the creek.

Then it is back up to the main trail and getting the tread work done as well as cleaning up what we can with our loppers.

trail smith work on the trail
Kicking into a narrow section of trail the horses were avoiding to try to get them to stop developing new trails.

widened trail
Nice wide tread and the slopes around it that should allow it to stay that way. We hope.

Then we head back, cleaning the trail as we go, with a stop at Coldwater Camp.

trail through meadow and a few trees
Not much work along the flat meadow, but there is a little in other spots.

We are back to Potrero Camp in time for the largest of the danger trees, which means we stop a bit short of it. We want to give the tree a lot of room to fall and do whatever else it might do. The other group that went up Potrero Canyon is already back, too.

big saw at the bottom of a tree
A notch is cut in one side of the tree already which allows the fall to be "aimed", as it were. Now they are just about done cutting in from the back until it breaks.

big tree coming down
And break it does. Those with the saw get clear as it starts to fall. This one somehow has a couple false starts first.

clearer camp area
Evaluating the result. The tree came down along the edge of camp exactly where desired. A large oak branch was reluctantly cut off first to prevent the falling tree from damaging the oak even worse. The stump in front was cut earlier.

The other felled trees were cut up into smaller pieces to clear from the camp area, but the big one will sit as is, so good thing it came down where it was supposed to. There are a couple more small trees leaning out over the creek and not over a camping area. Otherwise, the camp has been made, as best as possible, safe. Unfortunately, a few other trees do not look all that healthy. We all pack up and head out again.

©2017, 2018 Valerie Norton
Posted 4 Jan 2018

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