I’ve got to admit I don’t hike the trails in the summertime much anymore. Part of it’s that my knees don’t work like they used to anymore, but I also find it a lot more fun to get out and play when the flies aren’t out, the sun isn’t burning hot, and the water is flowing. Good trail friend I am.
But I also put a lot of time into working the trails last winter and spring, and it seemed like a good time to take a few months off. Thanks to the generosity of the Forest Service which provided the funding and a handful of hard core friends who didn’t mind the hard work we put into rebuilding the lower part of the Cold Springs Trail from Mountain Drive up to the Power Lines, the trail is much safer. Two years ago a horse by the name of Rocket died on the trail on one of those sections that offers almost no room for error.
There, the trail is wider now and rock walls have been added to provide additional space to pass on several of the places with especially serious dropoffs. We’ve also added lots of dips to force the water off the trail and best of all, cleaned up some of the worst damage left over from the winter 2005 storms that devastated all of the Cold Springs trails. Otis, Paul, Rik, Simon - it was a great spring wasn’t it?
Summer’s also not a particularly good time to do serious trail work either. Part of it is the heat but mostly it’s because you can’t work the dirt. It’s too dry and dusty and you can’t compact it or shape the trail the way you’d want to if the soil were wet.
The short of it is that right about now is the perfect time to start getting serious about trail work. This winter, the plan is to rehabilitate the Jesusita Trail from the creek crossing in Mission Canyon up to Inspiration Point and if we have enough time, to begin working the top three miles of the Cold Springs Trail from the Power Lines to the crest - in all a challenging task.
The difference this year is that this will be an all-volunteer task. We’ll look for funds to help hire a few good workers for the weekday efforts. For reference, it costs about $50 an hour to hire a two-person crew to work the trails. That adds up to about $400 a day and $2,000 a week but you’d be amazed how much work gets done.
Mostly we’ll be looking for volunteers to help get the work done. Over the next few weeks look for a series of ongoing stories that will tell a little bit more about what we’ll be doing out on the trails and how you can get involved.