Backcountry Trail Crew, August 26 - 31, 2003 (12:42 PM 1/14/2022)

California Outfitters, Volunteer Trail Crew

August 26 - 31, 2003, Four day hike

Crown Valley

This is a picture log of the California Outfitters August 2003 Back Country Trail Clean-up Hike. All pictures display in full size if the lower right hand corner is clicked. The hike consisted of a several day campout/hike sponsored by California Outfitters in Crown Valley.

Two of us took pictures on this trip. To see only my pictures or Karl's pictures click back there. To see all pictures continue on. The following links are based on primarily the order that I took them in. I have usually added in Karl's according to the date and time when they were taken. However there are several places where I moved them around so that the subject matter "matched" the order that I took mine in.

Both Karl and Eric used digital cameras. Both of these cameras put time/date information on each picture. However both cameras were not synchronized with each other. Karl's camera's time is about one hour behind Eric's camera's time. (Karl's might still be on standard time while Eric's is on Daylight Savings time.)

Karl's trip log is here. It makes it look as though we did some actual work.

  1. Day 0, Tuesday, August 26: Clyde Outfitters (their web page is "" and there is an interesting article about them here and an area map is here) was scheduled to pack us in to the Crown Valley Station (currently unused, it seems to have been last used in 1966). They asked that we arrive at their pack station on the night before we were scheduled to be packed in. Four of us arrived before 5:00 pm and had to wait until about 6:30 pm for the station to be opened. We later found out that they tell all their customers to arrive between 6:00 and 10:00 pm the day before being packed in. After dark, the other two of our group arrived and we sat around the fire awhile before going to sleep at the Clyde Outfitters' tent cabin. The six us were: (in the order of arrival)

    1. Karl, team leader and provider of photographs.
    2. Marty, retired PacBell employee, who makes a HOT chili sauce.
    3. Tony, a state employee, got bit by one of the Clyde's dogs.
    4. Eric, a fantastic person who did most of the write up and part of the photography.
    5. Lea, part time volunteer ranger and runner.
    6. Sherri, a tattooed lady.

  2. Day 1, Wednesday, August 27: We got up early and packed our sleeping bags, etc. Deb Clyde had coffee and hot water for oatmeal or hot chocolate ready for us. We also had some bagels for breakfast.

    While eating breakfast and talking with Deb we found that the Clydes expected that there were going to be five us, not the six that showed up. We also discovered that they planned to give us rides in.

    While the horses and mules were being packed with our equipment, I watched and took several pictures. The packers were surprised at the amount of Stuff that we had and decided that they could not give us all rides in. Four of our team decided that they could hike in with their day packs and Marty and I decided to ride in. (The last time that I was on a horse was in 1954 and I thought that I should try ridding once again.)

    When all the pack animals were loaded, the horses were loaded onto horse trailers and we all went to the Rancharia Trailhead to go on in.

    Among our gear we had:

    1. A crosscut saw named Buckminster, a seven foot cross cut buck saw that was heavy and sharp. (A similar two man crosscut saw.)
    2. A double bit axe. (A similar double bit axe.)
    3. Eric's four foot "little saw" which was "Dolly sharp". (A similar one man crosscut saw.)
    4. Three shovels. The yellow tape on one of them marks one foot lengths. (A normal round point shovel.)
    5. Three pulaskis. (A Pulaski.)
    6. A rock bar. (Which weighed about 30 lbs.)
    7. A broom.
    8. A single jack. (Also known as a hand sledge. This one weighed 3 lbs. A single jack.)
    9. Several wedges. (Our wedges were yellow and similar to the one in the center.)
    10. Two cargo slings. (A description of a cargo sling in russian. The one on the left is what we had the next two pictures show how it is usually used.)

    On the way in we noticed that the trail was heavily over grown with "Mountain White Thorn". At one point the packers pointed out a freshly fallen tree that had fallen across the trail in the last week or so. We decided to clear it on our way out.

    When we got to the cabin (36-56-44N, 118-52-02W, 8231 ft) we were very pleasantly surprised by where we were to stay. We had no accurate information about the cabin before hand and didn't know if it would be a smashed structure that had had a large tree fall on it, a building that had been vandalized or a four star woods motel. (As it turned out it was close to a two star woods motel).

    To pack us in required eleven horses and two wranglers. They said that when we came out that we could only have four pack horses and so we would have to carry most of our equipment out ourselves.

    After we arrived at the cabin we spent the rest of the day cleaning the building up. The first thing that we did was open up the heavy steel shutters and let some light and air in. Then I set off a bug bomb to kill any living insects and we waited about an hour or so before going in. The floor had what we thought were Marmot dropping all over it, so we put on the face masks (to help prevent catching Hanta Virus), that I brought and swept the place out. The broom that was there was in worse condition than the one that we brought so we usually used ours. Tony and I did the first sweeping, then Sherri put on her latex gloves and started cleaning the counter and sink area with a Clorox and water solution.

  3. Day 2, Thursday, August 28: After breakfast, we headed out to start clearing the trails. There was some confusion as to the correct trail to clear, but we eventually found the trail going over a small creek and started to work on clearing it.

    Part of the problem with finding the correct trail was that the shortest connection from the cabin to the trail, joined the trail in the middle. About 30 feet to the right of the junction on the other side of a tree there was a very clear sign that pointed the correct direction of the trail. We, of course, didn't see or pay any attention to it and continued on straight ahead following an old trail to some abandoned corrals.

    An additional problem with identifying the trail was that the packers kept referring to it as the "Finn Dome" trail and we thought that we should be working on the "Geraldine Lakes" trail. The packers carefully told us of the problems with trees in a mess in the creek. But we found two creeks and both of them had a mess of trees in them. When we got back to Wishon, we talked to the packers and they said that the Finn Dome trail and the Geraldine Lakes trail were the same trail!

    The first day we only got to the top of the hill and ran out of time to follow the trail down to Geraldine Lakes. We also ran out of time to cut the large tree that was up there.

    After the trail crossed over the creek we worked our way up the side of a hill clearing a total of 17 trees. Some were larger and some were smaller. Many of them were 40 to 50 feet apart. Sometimes they were lying on top of each other. We eventually got to almost to the top of the hill and looked around at a great vista. (36-56-05N, 118-52-06W, 8726 ft.)

  4. Day 3, Friday, August 29: This morning when Marty woke up he said that we should start "signing" our work. He thought that we should place a small plastic or aluminum label on each trail that we work on saying that:

    1. This trail was cleared of dead fall by the High Sierra Volunteer Trail Crew.
    2. Give a date when the work was done. Probably just the year would be OK.
    3. Give out the Trail Crew's web address.
    4. Mention the Forest Service and any packer, or others, that helped us.

    We again started to work on the trail that we had been working on the day before. However this time we went right at the junction and cleared another 15 trees from it. Following this little bit of work we again went up the hill to the left and got the last pair of trees that we had run out of time to do done yesterday.

    During lunch a group of three hikers came by. They had been in the Geraldine Lakes area for the past several days and thanked us several times for the work that we had done the day before on clearing the trail. They had gone in on the trail before we had removed the 17 trees and noticed what we had done. It's always fun to have "real" people see what we did and to thank us. Also during lunch there was a mention of the book "Lord of the Flys", even with this talk, we all returned safely to Wishon.

    On the outward trip we did some brushing so that the trail we were using from the cabin to the main trail would be easier to walk on.

    Marty and Sherri both had showers (at different times). Marty discovered that the piping to the cabin had many long runs exposed in the sun and so for awhile the water was warm. When the warm water ran out he noticed it immediately. Sherri used all of a plastic hot water bag that had three or four gallons of hot water in it on her hair, and then had to use straight cold water.

  5. Day 4, Saturday, August 30: Just as we were starting to get packed up, Shane called us on the radio and said that there was a change of plans and that he wanted us to not return directly but to join with another group that had unexpectedly heavy work to do. We reminded (probably told him for the first time), that the packers weren't able to take all of our equipment out and that we would be leaving with full packs. This would make it difficult to do much work on the way out. (We had already scheduled the cutting of one eight inch tree and that was going to be an easy one.)

    Shane called back and said that we could return to the original plan and that we didn't need to help the other group. Eventually we got the cabin returned to "storage" condition, which required us to:

    1. Turn off the water and drain the pipes so that they wouldn't freeze in winter.
    2. Nail all the cabinets shut to keep any rodents out.
    3. Lower and tighten the heavy steel window shutters.
    4. Put all the Stuff that we had taken out, back in. We had to remove several things from the cabin as there wasn't enough room for the two 55 gal drums, some very dirty mattresses, many tools and us in the single room at the same time.
    5. Bury the Marmot that we found in the bottom of a 55 gal. drum, with a head stone.
    6. Burn the trash.
    7. Pack up our Stuff for the packer.
    8. Get a last picture or two.
    9. Lock the door and leave.

  6. Day 5, Sunday, August 31: Today all we did was wake up, eat breakfast in a dribbly rain, help breakdown the camp and go home.

In addition to the still pictures there are a small number of movies that I took with my digital camera. These are limited to 16 seconds, or less, in length and there is no sound recorded with them. Pointers to all of them follow this paragraph. They are also inserted in their proper places in the full log.

In the directory FullSize there is a full set of all pictures which in their semi-unmodified form. The only modifications done to these pictures is that those that needed to be rotated, were. The Smaller directory contains the same pictures as the FullSize directory, except that they have been made smaller by over 1,000%. I.e. a picture that started out with a size of about 2 Mb, is reduced to a size of about 45 Kb. Since all of the files in FullSize are "original", if you use Internet Explorer (or equivalent) additional information may be found by "right clicking" on the picture and selecting "properties".


All movies are repeated in the main set of pictures.
  1. Notice the size of the chips coming out. 08/28/2003 11:59 AM P8280001A.MOV, movie by Eric.
  2. Lea and Sherri on the last big tree. 08/29/2003 02:03 PM P8290010.MOV, movie by Eric.
  3. Marty and Tony on the last big tree. 08/29/2003 02:04 PM P8290011.MOV, movie by Eric.
  4. Lea and Sherri with Karl at the end of working on the last big tree 08/29/2003 02:08 PM P8290012.MOV, movie by Eric.
  5. Lea and Sherri with Karl about to pound in a wedge. 08/29/2003 02:08 PM P8290013.MOV, movie by Eric.
  6. Panoramic view of Crown Valley from the top of the hill. Includes Marty. 08/29/2003 02:42 PM P8290014.MOV, movie by Eric, idea from Marty.