Sunday, January 20, 2013

Trail Work and Mt El Sombroso Climb

I wish I could say something eloquent or important about doing trail maintenance, but really, I am doing this because it is mandatory "volunteer" work.  TRT 100 requires eight hours, our club requires some time, etc.  It is not that I am against it, actually I like the work and I do think it is important, so I bite the bullet.

Our running club, Quicksilver, has "adopted" the New Almaden Trail at Quicksilver County Park.  That means that our club is responsible for the upkeep of that trail.  We have a volunteer named Paul Fick who has dedicated himself to coordinating the various club volunteers who want to (are required to) do trail work (oh, and he does a heck of a lot of the manual work).  

Saturday was a "Trail work day", so if you happened to be venturing along the New Almaden Trail in Quicksilver County Park, and saw a bunch of skinny, weak lookin people with shovels- that was us.  I find it mildly amusing that someone thought that people who are completely optimized for covering a hundred miles of mountainous terrain within a single day would be good candidates for "moving dirt".  Anyways, persistence is sometimes as good as brute force, so it seems that we were able to do some pretty good work.
There is Morgan (with the shorts) oblivious to what Poison Oak can do...

Gettin to work! (Before Pic)
The above is a classic picture.  Jim Magill (to the left) is a 65 yr old guy who still runs 100 milers, Jean Pommier is basically a rockstar in the 40 year old age group -  nearing on 50, and way faster than me, and Amy Burton who completed the Western States 100 run last year.  And it doesn't matter, they are all gettin down and dirty!

(After Pic)
At first look it might seem like we made the trail a muddy mess (which we did), but actually, the trail is now contoured to guide the rain off the hill instead of creating ruts and mini ponds within the trail itself.

Creating a "Berm" to redirect rain water away from the trail...
 So we were hiking along the trail, looking for our next project, and Paul Fick, with sledgehammer in hand, is staring at this big rock that was jutting out into the trail.  I asked him, what's up?  He said he was going to break the rock.  I said, wha...?  And then I said:  Can I help?  So we both took turns hammering away at this thing.  Eventually we emerged victorious and the rock submitted to our will...

There use to be a rock here
That is where it went.
I did some trail maintenance last month (during my time off) and one of our projects was to "destroy" an old trail, so that hikers would be forced to take the alternate.  Below is a picture of our attempt.  After we were done with our work this month (around 1 p.m.) I decided to get in a quick summit of Mount El Sombroso.  On the way I got to run over our new trail work and do some recon of last months work as seen below:
Recon of trail work from last month.
I think it is working for the most part.  I still see some tracks of various sorts of things that tried to use the old trail, but the real evidence will come when we get new growth in the spring and if the grass and shrubs are able to take over.

We are basically creating the best trail there is.
 Above you can see some of the trail widening and cleaning we were doing.

Even at 1:30 p.m. you can find ice in the bay area...
 I found ice in various spots (sun shaded of course) on my way up the mountain.  Out of the shade it was nearing in on mid 60s, but the ice was still getting by in the shade.

I am going to the peak to the right.
 In the picture above there are two peaks.  The one on the left is Mount Umunhum, where there lives the "box", or the General Electric AN/FPS-24 long range search radar antenna (long out of commission).  That peak is off limits, but could be reached with enough courage and skill...  The peak to the right is Mount El Sombroso.  Woods road goes past the peak and turns into the Kennedy trail in Sierra Azul County Park (next door to Quicksilver).  It is a fun and challenging climb and was about a 20 milish round trip from my car through Quicksilver.

Views as I am getting closer to the summit.

Views from Sombroso.  See the "box"?
More Views from Sombroso.

Sun is setting as I am heading back to the car.
It ended up taking me about 4.5 hrs to do the trip, which is way longer than usual, but reminded me of the fact that I am still getting back into shape.  Also, because of my overzealousness with trying to get back into shape, I have incurred some achilles tendonitis issues that I have been managing.  The achilles held up relatively well on this trip, so I was encouraged...

1 comment:

  1. Oh good, glad to hear the achilles was alright! And I LOLed on the sentence describing your amusement about the 100 milers being good people for moving dirt. I am appreciative of the people who do trail work so that the trails can be enjoyed by all!