Spotlight: Estes Crew Two

Due to some money raised during an emergency appeal after the flooding last year, Rocky Mountain Conservancy is able to sponsor two crews in Rocky Mountain National Park during the 2014 summer. These crews have been working hard to maintain trails heavily damaged by the floods, both by cleaning drainages and clearing the trail. Please see Bryce’s reflection on the last week of work below:

The Estes Crews were back at it again, making sure that the trails are of the best quality for park visitors.

After a daily ritual of cleaning up the horse and mule stomping grounds, Monday took the crews to dig drains on the trail to Dream Lake in the morning. While that was the goal, this trail is higher in elevation and a large part of the trail is still covered in snow. The snow laden trail was cleared or made into steps so that it is easily hiked and visitors stay on the correct trails. After completing this work we made our way to Bierstadt Lake trail, where we maintained the drains on the trail, and cut 8 fallen trees with the cross-cut saw. Lunch at Bierstadt was very scenic and relaxing.

Lunch at Bierstadt Lake

Lunch at Bierstadt Lake

On Tuesday, after helping the horses out, The Estes Crews went over some safety evaluations of their first two weeks of work, and we are doing great! After these self evaluations, there was a park orientation that lasted a couple hours, as speakers talked about what events are happening in the park, upcoming the centennial celebration, as well as other aspects of the park all employees should be aware of. Concluding the meeting, we made their way to Deer Mountain trail head, where we maintained drains on a trail to West Horseshoe Park. Concluding this trail around 2:00pm, the crew made their way to the Upper Beaver Meadows trail head, and finished drains on the 1.5 mile trail. Tuesday it was Tom’s crew’s turn to make dinner for everyone! We made Tom’s Trail Tacos. With 3 pounds of chicken, 8 avocados for guacamole, and other typical taco ingredients in bulk, 13 people were stuffed with some great food. (Half of the guac was consumed while the meal was being prepared, oops.)

Wednesday brought the crew back to the Deer Mountain Trail Head. Instead of heading west, the crews headed East, around Deer Mountain, where the met up with their Supervisor, Dave Patrick at the East-most side of the mountain for lunch. Concluding lunch, there was serious weather starting to roll in, and head right towards us. Instead of chance continuing to finish the trail, the crew decided to make the safe decision and head down the mountain. Once they made it back to their cars, the weather had passed, and we made our way to the Moraine Park Visitor/Discovery Center, where they maintained the heavy trafficked discovery trail. Drainage dips were dug, as well as endstones were placed next to log checks to aid in directing traffic. At 3:30, The Estes crew made an appearance at the all park employee welcome Ice Cream Social, where they visited with other groups in the park, from all different types of crews. Tom had 4 servings of ice cream and justified it because he runs..  Concluding the ice cream indulgence, they went back out and worked on a tail to conclude the day, near the Beaver Meadows Park Entrance.

After a night of heavy rain, the crews made their way southward to the Wild Basin area, and began work at the Finch Lake Trailhead. This trail was different than any we had worked on so far, as the trail strolled through very dense trees and Aspen groves. The Cross Cut crew, of three people, was busy all day, as around 20 trees were cut that were blocking the trail. The crew made their way in a loop and was fortunate to see Calypso Cascades water fall and put in a hard day of work to get the whole trail completed.

Dan at the top of Thursday's Hike

Dan at the top of Thursday’s Hike

Crew surveying flood damage on thursday.

Crew surveying flood damage on Thursday.

A few members of the crews went to hang out with their families while others relaxed this weekend. Friday night Jackson was playing his Mandolin, and Bryce decided to try and play the musical spoons with him. While it sounded pretty rough, at least he “learned how to play”. Saturday, Emily led a final surge to finish the puzzle, and put all the pieces in that she could! 1 Piece was missing. Others relaxed and slept some, and a few of us, Margaret, Jackson, and Bryce hiked two 12‘ers, Flat top Mountain and Hallet’s Peak.

Jackson, Bryce, and Margaret at the summit of Hallet's Peak

Jackson, Bryce, and Margaret at the summit of Hallet’s Peak

– Bryce Goldade, Estes Crew

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