2012 Trail Crew Reports & Photos
Every year, hundreds of dedicated volunteers take time out of their busy schedules to take a volunteer vacation with The Colorado Trail Foundation. Trail Crew volunteers enjoy weekend and/or weeklong crews with lots of fun, rewarding work, fresh air, and new friends!
Weeklong Crew 0112 – Lost Park
June 30 – July 7
Work Accomplished: On Sunday after visiting the work area for the upcoming week and doing our safety meeting, 9 of us drove to the Long Gulch trailhead and hiked East from mile 16.6 to about mile 14.5 cutting fallen trees with pocket chain saws and by ax (ax work was done by Andrew Walters and Jessica Condon, who are chainsaw certified and are both ax crew leaders for Coconwo Rural Environmental Corps.). I knew we had one large tree down from last fall, but we ended up cutting 12 fallen trees from the trail ranging from 6" in diameter to more than 30". There were still 3 trees east of mile 14.5, which Jessica and Andrew hiked to on Monday and cut.
From Monday-Friday we worked approximately between mile 10 and mile 11 of the segment, doing two projects:
1) We restored about 90 yards of trail that is traditionally boggy, but which has been torn up even more by cattle the last two years. We worked that area from Monday morning through midafternoon Thursday. We installed one 8' culvert and four 4' culverts (we cut two 8-foot culverts in half), built three French drains (each averaging more than 10 yards long), channeled the run-off streams into the culverts, trenched seepage areas between the culverts so the seep will run into the culverts, covered the drains and culverts with 100 or so wheelbarrows of soil from two borrow pits (one at each end of the area), rehabbed the entrance and exit into the area, and installed a very large grade dip in the middle of the area.
2) From midafternoon Thursday through the end of the day Friday we rehabbed about 600 yards of trail including digging out many dozen bushes, installing 8 rolling dips and 8 grade dips, widening the trail and filling in deep erosion areas.
July 7 – 14
Work Accomplished: Trail Crew 0212 was formed to replace the failing bridge across Guller Creek on Segment 8 at about mile point 5.2. Led by John Lipe and Steve Stadler, the 24-member crew camped at the T-Rex Grill high on Copper Mountain. The crew had to carry in or find on site all new bridge materials. The crew moved half the lumber for the bridge decking while Leslie Miller of Chinook Winds Outfitters who operates the Copper Mountain stables, volunteered her mule to help and moved the other half. An eight-man crew (Rick Larned, Roy Senyard, Diana Bristol Ron Dudek, Tom Croke, Bob Hunter, Michael Larned, and Dick Hackman) carried two 23 foot long trees 700 feet to the bridge site to be used as stringers. While the trees were coming to the site, Ken Stagner led a large team gathering rock to be used to support the bridge sills. The crew Mark Seklemian, James Einolf and others) demolished the failing bridge and the "stream team" totally reconstructed the stream under the bridge while armoring the banks. Sue Larned and Norma Senyard helped construct gabions on site and then, with Kathy Phelan, went after even more rock to fill them. Jimmy Turner and others built 70 feet of trail connecting the current tread with the Guller Creek equestrian crossing that the "stream team" had rebuilt. The stream team, with the help of Tom Brucia and others, also rebuilt the equestrian crossing on nearby Jacque Creek. All hands participated in nailing down the bridge decking, including our excellent cooks, Elayna Lipe and Val Vickarelli. While the effort on the bridge progressed, another part of the crew (Bob Seklemian, Laura Farmer, Brian Fagan and others) were hard at work doing trail maintenance on a mile of tread leading to the bridge site. It was a great week as there is now a new 22-foot bridge across Guller Creek, new trail for equestrians, two rebuilt equestrian crossings and a mile of well-maintained trail leading to the bridge.
July 14 – 21
Work Accomplished: This self-supported backpack crew hiked in around 6 miles to camp atop Snow Mesa for the work project. We restored 2 slide areas on the trail, 525 feet and 1300 feet in length. We also widened 3,125 feet of trail mostly on steep side slopes and added 22 water drainage features. There was considerable rain and hail 4 out of 7 days, but that didn't hamper our efforts.
July 21 – 28
Work Accomplished: Built two 26' log bridges. Subsequent deconstructed material was removed. Also refurbished/enhanced the horse crossings downstream of each bridge.
Comments from the crew…
Mel is cooking Monday; rice is on the menu. Bill assured us he purchased the white rice. No mortar on this trip. Joel is headed to Salida to eat, he is fearful of more rice like last year.
Jim observed the bridge crew and made the comment it looked more like a CDOT crew: 2 working, 4 watching.
The math scholars worked on finding centers on logs. Now what is half of 57/8ths? Annie, what is your answer? Betsy – "Ok, that looks okay." Answer: 2 ½ and 3/16 and a smitchie.
Bill Carpenter gave Brooks a great send off after breaking his finger & bruising his ribs. JJ commented, "Bill, where is his purple heart?" Brooks' colleagues lashed a rustic cross to hold his unused hat. When asked of Brooks what he observed today worthy of being recorded; he looked at me, just chuckled and said, "You wouldn't want me to say."
The beauty of the day was working in the stream and how the water reacted to the shore line. How a moderate flow can move a small boulder. ~JJ Kleckner
Bases covered for Wed. evening dinner. Jim brings burger flipping experience from McDonalds. Bruce brings bean experience from his midnight silent emissions. Mel brings choppin' experience because she has a sharp Buck knife. Dinner will be a masterpiece.
Bob wears green boxers with a zipper in the back to dinner (he tries to pass off as swim wear) saying I thought there were different rules out here in the country.
Harold doesn't do bingo. Betsy said there is bingo in Salida on Friday and Saturday night. Harold prefers Farkel as a favorite pastime.
Wednesday – Betsy went into Salida and took a shower at the hostel. Wednesday night Max asked, "Betsy, you took a shower at the Hospice?" Yes - Betsy works 2 days on the trail and has to check in to hospice.
Jacque is in love with the forest service guys. So cute!
Bill Bloomquist assures us he is not a party animal but after his shower he is attired in a Mardi Gras and Hawaiian shirt with pink flowers, so out of character for an optical lens designer. He is a rocket scientist.
Camp rule is not 3 second rule but 3 hour rule according to Richard C. Max still lives by the 3 second rule. Joel took the last shower; we want to know what you were doing to break this fine structure. By the way, someone has advised the crew to watch for a flasher returning from his orange tent.
Gary, the motorcycle dentist from Texas and new to CT trail crews, has worked like the leader of the chain gang, plodding to perfection. Now our concern for Gary is whether he can ride home on his Honda Valkyrie without falling asleep.
Don makes the best sandwich ever and he will be happy to make one for each of you. Ham, cheese, jelly, onion and peanut butter. Doesn't it sound not only healthy but delicious?
Tim gets inspired every time he comes out to the work site.
This one tiny potato is bad, I wonder why the breakfast cooks didn't take it out?
A hearty thank you to Larry and the gang for always having hot coffee ready at 6am and a meal that got us down the trail. And for waking everyone up when he would take out the pots and pans.
July 28 – August 4
Work Accomplished: Camped near the old Lienhart Mine. Worked to improve the CT north toward Morrison Creek and Pine Creek.
August 1 – 5
Work Accomplished: Worked on extending the CDT approximately 190 yards. Dug and Hauled approximately 9 cubic yards of fill and tread material. Removed numerous stumps, peeled four large logs and built approximately 65 feet of log cribbing. Dug out and disposed of a LOT of organic matter on new trail.
USFS Support was wonderful! District Ranger, Bill Tucker, spent Friday with us along with Brett Beasley. Steve Reese and crew were magnificent.
August 4 – 11
Work Accomplished: Our crew removed 16 trees from the trail, cleared ¾ mile of corridor, built/refurbished 10 water diversions, removed 35 feet of berm, built 1 rock bridge over Morrison Creek, replaced 45 feet of washed out tread and deepened 60 feet of channel to prevent future washout.
Comments from the crew…
8/5/12 – After the safety meeting, we went our different ways. Four went on a 13 mi. hike; during the hike we saw 3 grouse. One was flushed out by us. It was a few feet from the trail. We think it was a male because it had white on its tail and wings. Others went hiking and running. Some went to Buena Vista. Time for dinner. ~Robert Sorenson
8/7/12 – Bill Carpenter the breakfast cook yells out (at 5:30am) "Where's the GD salt!"
8/8/12 – Day 4 in The Colorado Trail camp. Rest day. What to do? French toast with fried ham, cantaloupe and banana for breakfast courtesy of breakfast chefs Bill and Loren. Bill's coffee is also amazing, a great way to start the day. Yesterday we built a few rock culverts on Segment 12. Feels good to see your work and know it will help people walk the trail in the future. Unfortunately my shoulders don't see it that way and were declaring their displeasure at the pain I put them through last night. Definitely worth it though! I think my body has finally acclimated, both to the altitude and the time difference. The air is so clear and dry, but there just isn't enough of it! The meals Loren has planned have been great and expertly cooked by the crew members. All in all, loving my time on the crew and very glad I decided to come over from Europe. Hopefully the rest of the crew will feel the same after I cook dinner tonight! ~Colin Byrne
8/9/12 – Kyle asked if there were any practical jokes that could be played on the Trail Boss. Bill told him that it had been done before and the penalty was dire consequences.
8/10/12 – Last night to camp at trail side. :( This has been a great week: fresh air, good work and interesting people! Once again, I have learned a lot from the crew leaders and am looking forward to the next time I can get out on The Colorado Trail! Thanks for the opportunity! ~Blanche Deren
8/10/12 – Couldn't have asked for a better more successful week than we did this weekend. I am a true believer in The Colorado Trail, from its beauty to its unpredictable nature. I never knew how much work goes into conserving this place just beyond our backyards. The future of the trail and the Foundation hold no bounds from Durango to Denver. The greatest trail in the nation in my mind. Special thanks to everyone, especially Loren. A wonderful experience I will never forget! Sincerely, Kyle Welsing P.S. "Where's the damn salt!"
8/10/12 – Thoughts on the food: Superb! Please express appreciation to Loren's wife for the hours of prep work she did… So that we had less to do and ate well! Also appreciated very much Bill's good, hot, breakfasts; A great way to fuel each day! Anonymous
August 11 - 18
Monday – 600 ft completed, a couple little stream crossings, one deep duff area and 500 ft on a flat old road bed.
Tuesday – 142 ft completed, thru heavy duff, lots of rocks, started a rock lined raised turnpike. Huge borrow pit. Stream crossing with reinforced ramps, temporary log crossing so we can get wheelbarrows across thanks to Clint's engineering mind. Awesome.
Thursday-125 ft completed, continuation of Tuesdays turnpike, finished it. Did another shorter one thru a talus field. 200ft total of turnpike completed and hundreds of wheelbarrow loads. Closed borrow pit.
Comments from the crew…
What a fulfilling feeling to start with raw forest and see a beautiful, groomed, finished trail at the end of the day. Great teamwork from everyone! ~Jean Mortensen P.S. Deer have been wandering through our campsite daily—a nice treat.
This was my first trail crew ever. I had no idea what was in store. This experience has been wonderful. From the people I met to the trail work we completed; no complaints here. This crew and experience has made an awesome first impression. In the future I hope to return, see the old crew and continue to help out the CTF. The crew leader was wonderful and did a fantastic job. ~Max Boecher "Punky Pup"
My name is Nathan, I am 20 years old and when I signed up for the trail crew I had no idea what to expect. Looking back on my week, I can safely say it was an awesome experience. Everyone was nice, the food was amazing, and it is very rewarding to see the trail turn out so nice. Our hard work paid off and I made a lot of friends. I will remember the trip for years to come and I hope to return again for another adventurous week.
Working among the peaks that touch the sky with people who share the same values and creating trail for others to enjoy is an amazing experience. We will be back. ~Annie Horner & Don French
As the trail crew week draws to a close, my body is happy to know a good rest is coming soon, but I am sad to leave this community of very special people who have chosen to volunteer for the CTF. Thank you Cindy and CTF for another memorable week in beautiful Colorado. ~Suzanne Reed
Great crew, great crew leader. Wonderful time was had by all. Not a hiker, but love the fellowship. Enjoy the journey, rather than the destination. ~Nancy Stevens
What an awesome experience! Great crew, wonderful area. Cindy, thank you for being you. You are a natural wonder with the perfect personality to lead a group of this size through the week. It was an absolute pleasure. Thank you, peace. ~Jim Smith
Friday night after a week of hard work. This is my second time on a trail crew. I've always heard about Cindy's crews and finally got to be on one. She's a great leader and inspiration. I've met some fun people and I'm surprised how far we built the trail. ~Anonymous
August 18 - 25
Work Accomplished: 597 feet of new trail constructed; includes one sizeable (5' wide by 4' of tread) French drain and approximately 60 feet of raised tread with rock foundation. It rained Monday cutting the work day short by an hour. It also rained Thursday night and some Friday morning. So on Friday, most of the crew went out to collect tools and we hiked the flagged portion to where Clear Creek comes out of Silver Basin to determine a suitable crossing.
August 18 - 25
Work Accomplished: 600 feet of new trail was built in Buffalo Peaks Wilderness area. 24 lodge pole stumps removed. 1 rock crossing across 4 Mile Creek with steps and armor were built. 5 reverse grade dips were built. Area worked was from re-route around boreal toad habitat.
Comments from the crew…
Jennifer: "Never answer 'yes' to the question: "Do you want to smell this?" Asked by Bill C. regarding his kimchee.
Martha knows what a Rhino is.
"What would you rather do, build the trail by yourself or eat Bill's kimchee?" Roy: "Build the trail. Jennifer: "Eat kimchee because you'll be done in 24-48 hours."
Hunger is the best seasoning.
"Is it volunteers who mow the tundra?" Sample tourist question.
Mike: "This plate doesn't look dirty enough to clean."
Storme: "Normal people don't eat peanut butter sandwiches."
Rules to "99" the Colorado Trail Signature Card game according to Jim F.
Magic Cards: 4=Reverse, 9=Stays the same, 10=-10, K=99
Deal 3 cards to each player. Player to the left of dealer starts by playing one card. Draw each turn. Card is face value with exception of four magic cards. Object of the game is to reach 99; you cannot go over. 99 can be played over and over (i.e. King can be played on 99 and 9 can be played on 99). Round ends when someone cannot play. When round is over, reshuffle and deal out cards to remaining players. Game is over when 1 player remains.
Martha: "What is a Sicilian Frittata?" Bill C. "Eggs."
Fred won the first game of 99! We'll see if he's so lucky next time.
Mike D: "It smells nice even if it is Martha's." No explanation given.
Bill: "We caught 5- mice in one evening in Clear Creek." Leo: "So let me get this right, you enticed mice into a dirty camp and then slaughtered them?"
Forest Service: "Mini-golf is a pretty creative way to use timber tongs."
Aimée "Shoot. I put cinnamon into the tortilla soup instead of cumin." It was fabulous.
Jim: "Is my underwear fusing to my butt?" ?: "That's the portable propane heater working."
USFS Matt: "The rain last night was a real toad soaker."
The correct pronunciation of Buena Vista is [byoo-nuh vis-tuh] according to Fred B.
"My first trail crew, awesome experience. Our weeklong crew lived and worked symbiotically from day one. I am grateful for the opportunity to have met such wonderful people. Thank you!" ~Jennifer
"This week went too fast! Wonderful food, a great group of people, a beautiful setting-and think of all the toads we saved!" ~Storme
"Fun from everyone on this trail crew. Bill C. was a trooper and much fun to work with. Integration with the forest service was interesting and gave things a different twist… Enjoyed." ~Anonymous
June 16 – 23
Work Accomplished: Our crew improved 4,424 ft. of tread; rehabbed and built drainage features, removed fallen trees and cleared trail corridor.
July 12 - 15
Work Accomplished: Removed bridge that had deteriorated and restored site to original state. Improved 1.5 miles of trial from base of Camp Hale back north. Removed loose rock and added or refurbished 40 water diversions. Restored section where cupping and braiding had occurred.
Comments from the crew…
"This is a great way to spend my birthday – Very nice, hardworking, and friendly women." ~Margaret Jacot
"My first time on the Colorado Trail so this was 2x's the fun. Great work crew and damn fine women. Thanks to Cindy for taking lead and bringing us here to come together for such a worthy cause!" ~Lisa Robison
"Happy Bastille Day (for anyone interested in French history). This is my 4th women's crew, my 5th crew under Cindy's guidance, and my 6th overall crew with The Colorado Trail. It's great to be able to continue the work that we started in 2009 women's crew. This is always a wonderful time, with days of hard work and evenings of laughter. I'll keep coming back!" ~Jean Mortensen
"Assume area… beautiful views, waterfalls, trails that lead to high mountain passes – all maintained by the CTF crew! We were complimented by MANY through hikers (3 from CDT) & mountain views. The CDT hikers said the CTF trail portion is by far the best maintained. Anyway, having another great time with a wonderful crew!" ~Rachael Bray
"My first trail crew! After thru-hiking in 2010 I'm so thankful to be able to give back the beauty of the CT! When an amazing diverse group of women, hard work and laughter. Far too many bugs – but if my legs get dirty enough, they stop biting… sort of. So thankful for The Colorado Trail Foundation – this won't be my last trail crew! Even dragged my mom along – so proud of her! With all my heart," ~ Angela "Edward Screech" Bakas
"My inaugural women's only trail crew – what a wonderful group of women with inspiring stories and endless energy and conversation! Great to give back to a spectacular trail and experience our beautiful state, despite the plentiful bugs. What do we expect being camped next to some wetlands! Fun experience and enjoyed Cindy's leadership and help from returning crew. Peace & love," ~Marcia Weeks
"Thank you for your warm hospitality and thank you for your effort maintaining the trail! It's been such a treat to happen upon you. I look forward to joining you somewhere down the road! Peace & blessings," ~Laura
"What a great weekend! I'm so happy I was able to join this crew last minute. This was my 4th crew, first women's and weekend and I enjoyed every minute. Thanks for everything. I'll be back next year! Thanks," ~ Sarah Woods