In the Field: Week 2

This week proved to be a productive week for the Boulder Crew both on and off the trail.  After enjoying a four-day weekend, the crew got right into trail work on Tuesday morning at the heavily-used Ceran St. Vrain Trail.   The entirety of the Ceran St. Vrain Trail follows the river, providing the crew with a beautiful work environment.  Tuesday involved adding numerous new drainage structures to the first few miles of trail.  Beyond honing our skills in the art of digging effective and sustainable drains, we also were able to practice some new skills, such as the removal and rehabilitation of illegal fire pits.  On Wednesday, we returned to Ceran St. Vrain to once again go over the drainage structures dug on Tuesday to critique and improve upon them.  Beyond the standard focus on drainage, Wednesday’s work on the trail also included rehabilitation of illegal fire rings and brushing and limbing vegetation along the trail.

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On Thursday, the crew began their day with a trip down the canyon to the Boulder Ranger District Office to participate in the monthly district meeting.  The meeting afforded the crew the opportunity to learn more about the organizational structure of the US Forest Service and the current concerns and goals of the district.  After spending the morning in the meeting, the crew drove  back and began work for the afternoon on the Buchanan Pass Trail, where we had worked on extensively last week.  Given the abbreviated day in the field, the crew focused only on digging drainage structures on the next mile and a half of trail for the afternoon.

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The week closed out on a high note as we undertook work on the Forsythe Canyon Trail. Much like the Ceran St. Vrain Trail, this trail follows water and provides a very peaceful atmosphere.  The trail required the installation of many new dips and drains, as well as some extensive brushing and rehabilitation of large illegal fire rings.  After finishing up work on the trail a little early, the crew returned to the work center to do a little cleaning of the work trucks and public areas at the work center.

Off the trail, the crew has been enjoying our space at Kelly Dahl Campground more and more. Our spacious alcove now feels like home as we add new touches to our space for our enjoyment like hammocks, solar showers, and stumps around the fire.  We’ve established a meal and dishes routine as well for our nightly group dinners.  On Wednesday, we cooked brats over the fire—a tasty meal with minimal dishes! All in all, the Boulder crew enjoyed another week of work and recreation in the beautiful natural areas of the Boulder region!

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– Tom Enright, Boulder Crew Leader

 

It’s the second week of trail work for the Estes Crew, and we’ve begun covering a lot of miles in the park. On Monday and Tuesday, we worked on the Deer Mountain Trail, clearing brush and digging drains on 3 miles of trail. On Wednesday, we worked along the extremely popular Fern Lake trail, clearing 2 miles. This allowed us to talk to many hikers, including Conservancy members, about the trail work we were doing in the park. Working on popular trails can make the work crowded, but it’s so rewarding when people are interested in what we’re doing and thank us for our work. Finally, we ended the week with an amazing trail run up the North Longs Peak trail. The trail had a lot of uphill and it was a hot day, but we all kept good attitudes as we adjusted to altitude and hiking with heavy packs and tools. I am a firm believer that every hike is worth it when the destination offers a view. The North Longs trail did not disappoint in this manner and our lunch spot on the tundra offered a panorama view of Longs Peak, the Mummy Range, and many other peaks in the park.

We’re becoming more and more comfortable going on trail maintenance runs, but there is still so much to learn. We’ve been learning new skills daily. A trail maintenance run consists of digging drains to prevent water from eroding the trail, cutting back vegetation to open up the trail corridor, and using a crosscut saw to remove large fallen trees.

As always, a hard week at work calls for a fun and adventurous weekend. Crew members got out on the trails this weekend and hiked to Blue Lake in the Never Summer Wilderness and Sky Pond in RMNP. It’s impossible to be bored out here and we can’t get enough of these mountains.

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Our lunch spot from the North Longs trail.

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Our group that hiked to Sky Pond

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Glissading down from Sky Pond

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Lunch from the summit of Deer Mountain

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Jesse and Jessa with brushing tools on the Deer Mountain Trail

– Miranda Thompson,  Estes Crew Leader

 

This week the Kawuneechee Crew started off on a high note: we finished the roof at the Timbercreek Campground by the end of the day on Monday. This allowed for us to move onto other projects within the comfort station. We removed all of the windows, framed the inside walls, and put in a new support where the inside concrete wall needed to be removed. These many small jobs took us through the rest of the week until Thursday when we started painting the outside. We were able to complete two coats on one side of the building. It looks like we will be painting the rest of it throughout next week.

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National Park Service staff and crew members complete the roof on Monday.

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The completed roof at the Timbercreek Campground comfort station!

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Another view of the completed roof

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Adam works to paint the comfort station at Timbercreek Campground

Along with the work we did at the comfort station, we also worked on other projects around the park. On Monday, a couple of us went back to Lake Irene to work on the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) Mess hall by continuing to chink logs. On Thursday, we hiked to the little buckaroo barn near the Bowen Gulch Trail and put in new windows. This building is an old historic site from the ranches that used to exist in this area.

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Adam replaces a window at the Little Buckaroo Barn

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Rachel helps replace a window at the Little Buckaroo Barn

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A view of the Little Buckaroo Barn

After another successful week, we look forward to completing more projects. This next week looks like a lot of painting at the comfort station and possibly more progress on the Lake Irene CCC Mess Hall.

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Crew member and leaders enjoy their weekend with a hike in the Never Summers

– Dominic Rickicki, Kawuneeche Crew Leader

 

This week, the Shadow Mountain Crew started out with crosscut saw training led by our district’s Rec Planner, Miles Miller. We spent one day in the classroom learning about saw technique and history, followed by a day in the field on the Knight Ridge Trail. We had hoped to spend most of the day crosscutting, but ran into more trees outside the Indian Peaks Wilderness boundary than we expected, which meant that we spent much of the morning assisting with the removal of those trees with chainsaws.

The Knight Ridge Trail was the focus of a large clearing project in the summer of 2015 that was performed in part by last year’s Shadow Mountain Crew. We knew that this year there would be fewer trees down, but since the trail is in an area exposed to high winds, there were still plenty of trees to clear. As part of the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail, the Knight Ridge is an important section to keep open for the many through hikers that come through the area each summer.

The rest of our week was spent on maintenance runs on the Cascade Creek Trail (a popular trail out of the Monarch Lake Trailhead) and the Strawberry Lake Trail. We also were able to start taking out our pack llama, Jed, out for walks so he will be strong enough to carry equipment for us soon!

After a 5-day week of work, we are enjoying a long weekend of hiking, spending time with visiting family, and road-tripping to Great Sand Dunes National Park. Next week, we look forward to more maintenance runs and preparing for our first backcountry hitch!

Cross Cut.jpgToby looks on while John and Ash get some crosscut saw practice on the Knight Ridge Trail.

Abigail.jpgAbigail looks out over Lake Granby from the Knight Ridge.

Strawberry.jpgShadow Crew members take a relaxing lunch break on Strawberry Lake, looking towards the Indian Peaks.

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– Amy Sullivan, Shadow Mountain Crew Leader

 

This week, Rawah and Red Feather Crew morale was good and a lot was accomplished. It was extremely hot, but 3-6L of fluids were consumed by every crew member daily: an incredible feat! We build 0.2 miles of trail from scratch and fixed, widened, or improved another 0.2 miles of trail in Young Gulch. This was a cool experience for all to see trail from start of flagging to finished product. We also were reminded how to respect nature. We got rattled at and warned by six Western Diamonback Rattlesnakes either on the trail or just to the side near where we were working!

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Using the GPS App ‘Strava’, I mapped what our work looks like now and annotated it. We are 0.4 miles in, with 2.25 miles to go to the halfway point, when one half of the trail will reopen, and work will commence from the other side of the trail until the trails join. USFS employee, Kevin Cannon, has mapped and flagged the proposed trail route using GPS. You can clearly see the drastic route change from the old Young Gulch Trail. Circled in blue are turns that will be constructed next weekend by the ‘turn crew’. In black is a bridge and horse crossing coming in this Fall. In pink is the trail that we built from scratch (removing vegetation, rocks, leveling trail, building 3 retaining walls of rock, 6 check steps, widening previously initiated trail sections, and correctly backsloping).

All-in-all, it was a good week and lots of progress was made.

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Crew members Sam and Kyrie work on outsloping the tread surface on first switchback.

20160615_135552_HDR.jpgRosa Carolina identified on the side of the trail. Spring is a great time in the mountains.

– Grant Crist, Red Feather Lakes Crew Leader

 

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National Trails Day Photo Gallery

As you may have read in the previous post, the Conservancy hosted its second annual National Trails Day volunteer project and picnic this past weekend to celebrate the trails of RMNP and give back to their ongoing sustainability. With over 50 volunteers, the event helped Rocky Mountain National Park install 30 check steps, resurface 300 feet of trail, and decommission 50 feet of social trails on the heavily used stock trails around Moraine Park Campground. Check out the photos from the day below!

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In the Field: Week 5 (Part One)

After Education Week, the crews are right back in the field, hard at work, preserving and conserving the natural resources of Northern Colorado. Check out the updates below from each crew’s week!

This week, the Estes Crew worked with the National Park Service revegetation crew at Tuxedo Park on Bear Lake road. After the construction of a shuttle us stop, there was a large disturbed area. On Monday, we pulled all of the cheat grass and pennycress, both invasive species, from the area and laid down a layer of good soil. We then planted plants such as rose bushes, shrubby cinqfoils, yarrow and a variety of native grasses. On Tuesday, we worked with a group of volunteers from Costa Rica, who were here because Rocky Mountain National Park and Sana Elana Cloud Forest, where they are from, share many migratory bird species. It was interesting to learn about their culture and how our ecosystems in our respective parts of the world share many similarities and differences.

On Thursday, Geoff came to help us plant for half the day, then attended a Round Table discussion for the Natural Resources division with us. The discussion was about shifting paradigms and seeing things from a different perspective. It was interesting to see the viewpoints on career advancement and conservation from a variety of people with a wide range of experience working in Rocky Mountain National Park. Overall, it was a fantastic week and we aided in planting 4,668 plants at Tuxedo Park.

Andrea giving some young visitors a hands-on lesson in restoration

Andrea giving some young visitors a hands-on lesson in restoration

Jeremy teaching the crew and NPS staff about edible and medicinal plants

Jeremy teaching the crew and NPS staff about edible and medicinal plants

The crew working as a team to plant native plants

The crew working as a team to plant native plants

-Bryce Goldade (Estes Crew Leader)

It was a busy week for the Kawuneeche Crew, we finished the roof of the mess hall at lake Irene, and moved on down the valley to the Little Buckaroo Barn. There is a lot to do there, but we’re starting with laying out tar paper and plywood on the roof, which is installed before placing the asphalt shingles. We also replaced some of the rotten siding boards with new ones and reset the original siding boards we had removed when repairing the rafter tails earlier. With the lower roof’s rafter tails finished, we moved to the upper roof and took off the first layer of sheeting board and upper siding to saw off the rafter tails. We then cut and measured new tails and prepared them to be drilled into the existing rafter base. Joe, Dhante and Margaret got to start using their respirators and super suits at the barn this week as well, spraying a bleach solution over the hay loft and the ground floor to neutralize the hantavirus that could be lurking there. Overall, a few more splinters, a few more mosquito bites, and a lot more work completed this week!

The crew in their PPE for the Little Buckaroo Barn

The crew in their PPE for the Little Buckaroo Barn

Nearly finished with the roof at Lake Irene

Nearly finished with the roof at Lake Irene

– Margaret Johnson (Kawuneeche Crew Leader)

This last week of work was quite the doozy with the Red Feather Crew hiking nearly 40 miles in 4 days. Everyone thought it was a nice change of pace though as we got to stop building turnpikes and start some trail maintainance.
On Monday and Thesday we worked on the North Lone Pine trail doing general maintainance run while also putting in 15 new drains and a few check dams. We also were able to cut some trees out of the trail cause with a single buck saw.
On Wednesday we found ourselves working in the Swamp Creek trail. This is a multi use trail which saw its most action from motorcyclists. On this trail we spent the majority of our time clearing corridor as well as cutting logs that were too close to the trail and lining basically the whole thing. We also put in another 10 drains and did a good job of clearing out several very wet areas that are now dry and will be much easier to hike and ride in.
On Thursday, we went back to Lady Moon. This time not to build a turnpike, but to hike the trail and do some drain clearing. This entailed us to build a large drain system that was around 30 feet long diverting the trail, which had become basically a creek, to a meadow with the help of the long drain and an awesome rock bar. We hiked out to Disappointment Falls and turned around from there and continued to do tread work and make sure there was a defined path at necessary points through the meadow.

Untill next time,
The Red Feather Crew

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Using the pulaski to clear out a downed tree

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Cortney problem solving on trail

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John and Maggie working through some drainage issues

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-Tommy Egland (Red Feather Crew Leader)

A week in the life of the Boulder Crew:

Life continues to be simple and charmed in the small town of Nederland. This week we found ourselves clearing a snowshoe trail, which had been completely covered in blown down trees. This took hours of hauling and meticulous teamwork, as we tried to navigate jagged branches. We also had the opportunity to sit in on a USFS district meeting, where we were welcomed as “the trail crew”. Our other work days were spent installing trail signs on newly created trails. Overall, another excellent week that brought us even closer together as a crew.

The most exciting part of our week was moving into the USFS bunkhouse. While it was slightly bitter to be leaving our campsite, it is absolutely sweet to have running water and the ability to watch movies and use an oven. We look forward to the closeness these quarters will inevitably bring.

Chivi swaping through a burn down in Brainard Lake area

Chivi swaping through a burn down in Brainard Lake area

Reid pulasking out a stump to clear corridor

Reid pulasking out a stump to clear corridor

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Clearing drains on Long Lake trail

– Annie Makuch (Boulder Crew Member)

This week the Shadow Mountain Crew worked in the backcountry with eight Forest Service employees from the Wilderness and OHV trail crews to build a turnpike near Columbine Lake in the Indian Peaks Wilderness. The crew started the week by attending the district meeting for the Sulphur Ranger District. At the meeting they discussed safety in the field and budgeting for the 2016 field season, and the RMC-CC crew even got a shout out for their work on the Knight Ridge Trail! After the meeting the crew left for the Columbine Lake trailhead and spent most of the day packing in camp and tools for the turnpike project. The next morning was spent building new trail for a small reroute and rehabbing the old trail. Once the reroute was completed the crew got to work on the turnpike. The project got underway by falling a few trees with crosscuts and cutting them into sections for the sides of the turnpike. The turnpike was divided into sections in order to allow continued natural flow of water through the meadow where it was built. Once the trees were debarked and put into place with log carriers the crew spent most of the next two days gathering rock to fill the walkway of the turnpike. Jed and Henry, the crews llamas, were a great help all week, but they were especially helpful in hauling rock to the turnpike from the rock quarry about 400 yards away. The final turnpike turned out great, and its construction was definitely appreciated by a lot of hikers on this busy trail. It was a hard week of work for the Shadow Crew, but they still found the time and energy to enjoy themselves once the workday was finished. At camp the crew had good times playing whiffle ball and frisbee, and on the last night they took an alternate route to Columbine Lake and hiked up a couloir near their work site. It was cold and rainy at the lake, but it didn’t stop Elias from taking a quick dip! Now its time for a nice long four day weekend to rest up and have some fun in Grand Lake. This is Shadow, until next time!

The meadow area before the turnpike

The meadow area before the turnpike

The crew working its way up the couloir to Columbine Lake

The crew working its way up the couloir to Columbine Lake

Nearly completed turnpike!

Nearly completed turnpike!

The Shadow Mountain Crew enjoying the help of Jed and Henry

The Shadow Mountain Crew enjoying the help of Jed and Henry

– Blake Crossland (Shadow Mountain Crew Member)

In the Field: Week 3

My apologies for the late update this week! I spent much of my weekend out in the field catching up with the crews. Hope you enjoy this weeks updates from the field!

The first half of week 3 brought the Kawuneeche Crew over Trail Ridge Road to Estes Park. We helped the Projects crew build a set of stairs at a bus shelter on Bear Lake Rd, and cut and paint stairs from lumber for the mess hall at Lake Irene. Moose count for the morning commute from the west side of Trail Ridge: 7! Wildlife jam count made by tourists gawking at elk in the afternoon commute from Estes: 4. We assembled the logs for the stairs after they were cut by chainsaw, screwing them together, then securing them to each other and to the slope with pieces of 2 foot rebar, then filled them in with dirt. It was a satisfying and much-needed set of steps for this trafficked, eroding hill at the beginning of a trail that connects the bus shelter to the stock trail used by horses and hikers.

The second half of the week brought the crew to Lake Irene, to begin the roofing rehab process. Wednesday was spent removing the cedar shingles with roofing shovels, from the scaffolding and from chicken boards placed 1/3 and 2/3 the way up the roof to reach the top. We also installed the set of lumber stairs we had cut on Monday, for the backside of the mess hall. We also started attaching the new cedar shingles on the first side of the roof, using chalk line to mark a straight edge, and nail guns. Then the crew headed back down the mountain for family dinner of pita pizzas, a delicious way to make your own personal pizza because you can stuff the crust AND pile the toppings on top of the pita pocket. Thursday was more de-shingling of side 2 of the roof, which Geoff got to help out with, and adding more layers of shingles to side 1. We celebrated the end of a successful week with a trip over to Winter Park for their weekly free outdoor music concert!

Single-jacking rebar into log steps on Monday

Single-jacking rebar into log steps on Monday

Stair installation on Bear Lake Road

Stair installation on Bear Lake Road

The finished steps

The finished steps

Removing old shingles from the chicken board at Lake Irene

Removing old shingles from the chicken board at Lake Irene

New teps at Lake Irene Mess Hall

New teps at Lake Irene Mess Hall

Deshingling the Lake Irene CCC Mess Hall

Deshingling the Lake Irene CCC Mess Hall

– Margaret Johnson (Kawuneeche Crew Leader)

After another week of shoveling, picking, and hauling, the members of the Boulder Crew are lounging in Nederland’s finest coffee shops for some well-deserved rest. Reflecting back on the previous week, we accomplished more than expected. While our main projects include improving drains, we also reset culverts, trimmed trees, cleared trails. The biggest project we are working on is a 35ft boardwalk, set to span over a series of drains. This type of work requires a lot of communication and collaboration, as it’s impossible for one crew member to lift a 2000lb log on their own. Through this work, we have become stronger as a group, and more prepared for the obstacles that trail work inevitably brings.

The Boulder Crew slightly stands out due to our unique living conditions. We currently reside in small campground, right outside of the city of Nederland. The center of our site contains a large, yellow tarp, strung between two trees, to shelter our picnic table from the Colorado elements. We fondly refer to this area as the dining room. The rest of our homely abode has earned names as well. Our living room is the campfire ring, our tents the bedrooms, and the trailer is dutifully our kitchen. After three weeks of living here, we have become quite fond of our open home. It has undoubtedly brought us closer together. Plus, there’s something to be said about sleeping under the stars and waking up to the sound of chirping birds. While the rain can be bothersome and mosquitos the worst of pests, we conquer trails with optimism, knowing we wouldn’t trade our camp for anything else.

– Annie Makuch (Boulder Crew Member)

This week the Rawah Crew worked on the Big South Trail, McIntyre trail and assisted the Stub Creek Volunteers with raising the American Flag in front of the Ranger Station. The crew was very excited upon receiving their crosscut saw on Monday and cleared 5 fallen trees off the McIntyre trail, in addition to improving a 50 foot washed out section of trail. On Tuesday, the Crew headed out on their first backcountry hitch on the Big South trail. During the two night, three day hitch, 7 miles of trail were maintained. After an exhausting yet satisfying week, the crew repaired over 200 drains, cleared 3 fallen trees and removed 300 feet of berm on the Big South Trail.

Courtney and Gus clearing downed trees on Big South Trail

Courtney and Gus clearing downed trees on Big South Trail

Rawah Crew hiking out after backcountry hitch on Big South Trail

Rawah Crew hiking out after backcountry hitch on Big South Trail

New flag pole at Stub Creek Bunkhouse

New flag pole at Stub Creek Bunkhouse

Johnny on the crosscut

Johnny on the crosscut

– Johnny Iglesias (Rawah Crew Member)

Early Monday morning we headed out to the Lady Moon trail head directly across the street from the Mt. Margaret trail head we worked on last week and only five minutes or so from our bunk house. There we met Geoff who was to work with us for the day and together we took approximately two steps on the trail before being met with the worst kind of slimy black muck that sucked you in to your ankles. The trail was a wreck for nearly 400 feet with standing water, mud and more mud. As the trail went through cattle range land it clearly had been used by ranchers for vehicle access as evident by the deep wheel wells cutting through the grass and grime. Just to the left of the trail a social trail had been formed on high ground which appeared to be a much nicer route to pass over the wet spots. But it was directly under some power lines and was not a designated trail so we had no choice but to try and fix the actual trail.

It called for another turnpike, adding to the ones we had already completed at Mt. Margret, but this would be the longest one yet by a long shot. Several of us began putting in drains to try and clear out some of the standing water while the others collected baseball sized rocks to start the turnpike. When all the smaller rocks had been exhausted from the slopes we began smashing larger rocks against bedrock to make our own. It was slow, tedious, and draining work. Come noon Monday Geoff actually ended up going to the Ace Hardware in Red Feather to buy us a sledge hammer as we were not supplied one by the forest service. After that the work went quite a bit farther and by the end of the day we had about 10 feet of turnpike completed and more than double that graveled.

The rest of the week proceeded in much the same way with Tuesday being devoted exclusively to collecting rocks, smashing rocks, and moving them on to the turnpike. We didn’t leave sight of the parking lot the entire week and the work was highly repetitive and strenuous and I had my doubts that we would be able to finish the entire turnpike but by Thursday afternoon 360 feet of dry trail rose from the standing water. It was a lot of work and very tiring at times but what we did was most certainly a feat to be proud of.

Making use of the new double-jack

Making use of the new double-jack

Lady Moon Trail Before

Lady Moon Trail Before

Lady Moon Trail During

Lady Moon Trail During

Completed turnpike section

Completed turnpike section

Crew carrying gravel to turnpike

Crew carrying gravel to turnpike

Lady Moon Trail After

Lady Moon Trail After

– Tommy Egland (Red Feather Crew Leader)

The third week out Shadow Mountain Crew was at it again, cross cutting the remainder of the unmaintained section of the CDT. We were once again boated across Lake Granby to McDonald Cove to attack the dead trees on the western side of the Knight Ridge Trail. After finishing the job earlier than we expected on the second day, we took a rinse in the lake and watched as two hikers exited the (now) maintained trail. Following our cold swim, we devoured a celebratory dinner provided by crew member, Amy. Warm and worcestershire flavored bowls of gumbo were cooked over camp stoves, the perfect meal for heating our sore sawing muscles. After coming to decisions that our goals for Knight Ridge were fully accomplished, we discussed further plans to head up the Roaring Fork trail. We hiked out the next morning of McDonald Cove to the Roaring Fork trail head, where we quickly packed our packs for one night in the backcountry. Saturday was spent with our Manager, Geoff. While clearing trail up to Watanga Lake we ran into a few blown out bridges, where we needed to collaborate together to get across the river somehow, to continue work. This week had been crammed with different projects to complete, however we were able to accomplish much more than expected and we all felt great about it! We are now ready to enjoy some time off and prepare for our Fourth of July backcountry patrols! Thanks for reading, this is Shadow!

Amy cooks Gumbo for the crew

Amy cooks Gumbo for the crew

Completed Knight Ridge work

Completed Knight Ridge work

Knight Ridge before

Knight Ridge before

Rachel, Jordan, and Megellen after Knight Ridge

Rachel, Jordan, and Megellen after Knight Ridge

Elias and Blake pump water for a long day of work

Elias and Blake pump water for a long day of work

Lunch at Watanga Lake

Lunch at Watanga Lake

– Megellen Kimmett (Shadow Mountain Crew Leader)

This week, Andrea, was the Estes Crew assistant leader of the week, where she was in charge of the radio, driving the work truck to the trailheads, and helping to cut many of the trees with the crosscut.

Monday and Tuesday of this week we maintained the Lawn lake lake trail, a 14 mile trail. Monday we cleared trees and dug drains to Lawn lake, then hiking out in the afternoon. Tuesday we hiked up 6 miles to the lawn lake junction where we begun clearing trees and drains on the Black Canyon Trail, to Lumpy Ridge. We hiked 25 miles those first two days.

Wednesday and Thursday we were back at Cow Creek Trail Head working with the pack Lamas retreading the trail and putting in Log checks.

The crew also stayed very busy this weekend as well, going on hikes, fishing, tubing in Moraine Park, and Jeremy even took a class through the Conservancy, Edible and Medicinal Plants of the Rocky Mountains.

Cow Creek Trail Before

Cow Creek Trail Before

Cow Creek Trail During

Cow Creek Trail During

Cow Creek Trail After

Cow Creek Trail After

Bryce teaches a geology lesson to the crew

Bryce teaches a geology lesson to the crew

Resting for lunch at Lawn Lake

Resting for lunch at Lawn Lake

– Bryce Goldade (Estes Crew Leader)

In the Field: Week 1 (Part One)

By the end of the day yesterday, all of the crews had finished their first week in the field, and with that comes our first round of updates!

The Estes Crew started off the season by hitting the ground running. Staying mainly in the Wild Basin area of the park, they performed maintenance runs on trails including Lookout Mountain Trail (Meeker Park area), Sandbeach Lake trail, the many offshoots of Confusion Junction (Finch Lake Trailhead to Calypso Cascades) and finally the lower Longs Peak Trail to Eugenia Mine and the base of Estes Cone. At weeks end, Estes Crew, consisting of Andrea, Bryce, Chandler, Derek, Jeremy and Miranda, accompanied by their two NPS leaders Dave and Matt, covered 29 miles of trails, as well as clearing 16 trees from the trail using crosscut saw.

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  • Bryce Goldade (Estes Crew Leader)

The Boulder Crew’s summer is off to a great start. After a long weekend spent hiking, climbing, and fishing in Rocky Mountain National Park, we packed up on Wednesday morning and made the rainy drive from Estes Park to Nederland, our home for the summer. After meeting our Forest Service supervisors Michael, Paul, and Cait, we moved into the Kelly Dahl campsite and assembled an epic network of tents, tarps, and a trailer to ensure that our stay in Ned is as comfortable as possible. On Thursday, we had an introductory trailwork day on the Buchanan Pass Trail near the Peaceful Valley campground and practiced digging drains, dips, and removing dirt berms. Friday was spent largely at the USFS Boulder Ranger District headquarters in Boulder, where we assembled tents and prepared for a training session with the Indian Peaks Wilderness Alliance, a volunteer organization dedicated to protecting the Indian Peaks Wilderness. After finishing up at headquarters we drove to the Forsyth Canyon Trailhead and spent the afternoon improving the trail down to Gross Reservoir. Finally, on Saturday, we returned to headquarters and received wilderness ranger training from the IPWA. We love it here in Ned, and cannot wait to start seriously hitting the trails next week!

Boulder Crew on twin Sisters

Boulder Crew on Twin Sisters overlooking Longs Peak

  • Reid Grinspoon (Boulder Crew Leader)

This week both Red Feather and Rawah crews trained with our Canyon Lakes Ranger District correspondent Fred Tighe. Both crews were lucky to get the opportunity to work together allowing everyone to learn and get to know each other even better than during our first week.
This week entailed learning about trail maintainance and also having everyone learn and receive a crosscut certification, passing with flying colors!

The one day we were able to go out on the trail we were worked on building check dams and drains in the Mt. Margret Trail. These are both very important features to be built into the trail due to the fact that it had seen much erosion because of a lot of run off and a lack of  maintenance for several years. Between both crews we were able to install 22 rock checks and four additional drains in a mile span of trail. Also, in two days of crosscut training both crews collectively cut 36 fallen trees to practice clearing a trail corridor.

Until next time this is Redwah crew have a great week!

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  • Tommy Egland (Red Feather Crew Leader)

Stay tuned for Part Two with updates from the Shadow Mountain and Kawuneeche Crews on the westside.

And They’re Off!

After a busy week of training, orientation, and educational activities the crews have flown the coop to their respective workcenters, bunkhouses, and campgrounds. With everyone out in the field, its time to recap orientation week.

The week started out with everyone arriving and settling into Moraine Park Campground. After a day of logistic, paperwork, and gear distribution, all crews dove right into the training activities. It started with First-Aid/CPR training from the National Park Service. For those already trained, we got out into the field to help clarify the trail to the William Allen White Cabin and clean up at Glacier Basin Campground Amphitheater.

RMC-CC Members work on the trail leading to the William Allen White Cabin

RMC-CC Members work on the trail leading to the William Allen White Cabin

RMC-CC Members above Moraine Park

RMC-CC Members above Moraine Park

The next morning brought everyone back to the Field Institute to prepare for driving agency vehicles with the USDA Forest Service leading a Defensive Driver training. Before the USFS employees arrived we were able to get in a quick icebreaker to warm up for the day. In the afternoon, the crew leaders took the helm and instructed their crews on LNT practices, back-country essentials, environmental hazards, and workplace safety.

A Morning Ninja

A Morning Game of Ninja

Reid, Boulder Crew Leader, teaches everyone how to pack and pack.

Reid, Boulder Crew Leader, teaches everyone how to pack and pack.

On Thursday, we were all with the National Park Service trails staff learning about trail tools and basic maintenance tasks. With thirty-six of us on the trail, it called for a lot of tools and, in turn, a large tool cache during lunch. To finish up the training, the crews spent time on the popular Lawn Lake Trail learning about drainage structures on trails and how to maintain them.

Lunchtime tool line during Trails 101 day.

Lunchtime tool line during Trails 101 day.

RMC-CC crew member, Galen demonstrates how to dig and maintain drainages on trails.

Galen, Red Feather crew member, demonstrates how to dig and maintain drainages on trails.

On Friday, the crews spent the day with local historian, Jim Pickering, to learn the ins-and-outs of Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Parks development and establishment.

RMC-CC learns about the history of the region from Jim Pickering

RMC-CC learns about the history of the region from Jim Pickering

Saturday was National Trails Day! What better way to send the crews out into the field than a volunteer project with the National Park Service, Conservancy staff, and members. We spent the day benching, clarifying corridor, and repairing/installing log checks on a trail leading out from Upper Beaver Meadows.

Kawuneeche Crew Leader, Margaret, installs a log check on National Trails Day

Margaret, Kawuneeche Crew Leader, installs a log check on National Trails Day

RMC-CC crew member, Gus, collects duff to clarify trail corridor.

Gus, Rawah Crew Member, collects duff to clarify trail corridor.

RMC-CC's National Trails Day celebration with Conservancy Members.

RMC-CC’s National Trails Day celebration with Conservancy Members.

RMC-CC National Trails Day Project: Before

RMC-CC National Trails Day Project: Before

RMC-CC National Trails Day Project: After

RMC-CC National Trails Day Project: After

2015 Rocky Mountain Conservancy – Conservation Corps Applications

Hello all! It’s hard to believe with the season being only six weeks past, but we have just posted the crew member and leader applications for the 2015 season. Follow the link to the Conservation Corps page on the new website for details (I have also attached links and PDF’s fo the application documents below):

http://rmconservancy.org/learn-us/rocky-mountain-conservation-corps/

Crew Member Application

Crew Leader Application

Apply soon to insure yourself a chance in joining our program in 2015!