2009 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!
Trail Crew 0109, Top of the World, June 13–20
Crew Members Included:
Crew O109's work week was very productive. With the exception of a small hailstorm and a few close calls with the canopies and wind, it was a successful conclusion to an ambitious project.
The crew carved 306 yards of reroute, and completed finish work on a total of 937 yards (including the 613 yards dug on last years crew), and re-habbed the previous tread.
The crew was a great blend of first time volunteers and veterans from all around the world. We certainly hope that word spreads in Japan and Singapore about what a rewarding experience trail crew work can be!
A festive time was had by all in camp. A group yoga session was conducted and enjoyed by some of the more flexible members of the crew. Many a night was passed with Uno, Monopoly, and Scrabble. With all the magazines and books around, we had a substantial library to enjoy. Had the stove not melted partway through the week, we might have had brownies, but a Smore's run and abundant cheesecake and ice cream provided ample solace.
We certainly hope to have everyone back soon and bring your friends and family!!!
Bill and Gavin
Trail Crew 0309, Kenosha Pass, June 20–27
The task this year was to improve existing trail for 1½ miles, 2 miles east from the top of Kenosha Pass. A major switchback rebuild was also part of the task.
The crew consisted of: myself and my granddaughter Tommy Wren, the Lois Cochran clan which consisted of Lois and husband Tracy, her sister Carolyn Sorensen and husband Paul Sorensen, Paul’s brother Soren Sorensen, Carolyn’s grandkids (all first timers) Alex and Sam Neff, Carter Behler and Kai Chapin. Veterans, Jeff Ballantyne, Margaret Jacot, Storme Rose and Pam Clark were back this year and we were blessed with some other first timers, Linard Cimermanis, Glynn Alexander and the ‘young’ couple from Texas, Jeanie Crane and Jimpat Griffiths.
Picture of the entire crew:
The week went great. The weather was outstanding most of the time but did cause a few problems. But hey, this is the Colorado Rockies and it is to be expected. Saturday set up was in a downpour which George Miller stayed to help set up, what a trooper. Totally unnecessary but very much appreciated. The camp location also happened to be in an open range area so we had curious cows come close to our camp. We got chased off the trail several afternoons by lightning and one afternoon it rained buckets with the lightning striking all around while some of us huddled in our cars and others in the main camp. During the week, the food was gourmet and plentiful. The trail crew was phenomenal, getting the work done very quickly. We installed over 10 water bars, removed tons of rock, dozens of feet of roots and any other improvements needed in the 1½ mile stretch we worked including a very large cairn. The switchback we installed was a work of art thanks to the leadership and building skills of Jeff and Lenard, and the dirt digging, rock gathering and hauling skills of everyone on the crew.
Photo of the first hiker to walk the new switchback:
At the beginning of the week, I was asked if bears were in the area and I didn’t really know, hadn’t heard of any issues and the week we were there, we had no issues. Jimpat and Jeannie stayed on for a couple more weeks and a bear did visit them 3 nights in a row. So we lucked out. Lesson learned, always secure your food at night. Also, Jeanie, thanks so much for the beautiful hand woven pine needle basket you made for me from Colorado needles. When it came time for the group photo, Lenard showed us how to make a camera tripod with two McClouds and a Pulaski. Very clever.
Picture of Lenard with his tripod:
In evenings around the camp fire, Jeff showed us how to safely play with fire with leather gloves, poking sticks are for wimps, and get firewood, saws are for wimps. I discovered how to make a pumpkin cheesecake when a pumpkin pie is impractical. And Jeanie and Jimpat should us that love can come to you at any age. You are never too old or too young to contribute.
Trail Crew 0909, Cache Creek, July 25–Aug. 1
Volunteers worked hard again this year improving the trail. The volunteers were from Colorado, Iowa, Oklahoma and Wisconsin. Joe “Grey Owl” Barrett from Oklahoma played the harmonica for the crew one evening around the campfire. First time Colorado Trail volunteers Barbara Beaumont, and Kurt Hamann were from Iowa, Amy Laper, Justin Laper, Erik Kok, Kylee Nelson, Megan Pickhardt, Steven Pickhardt, Brittany Tonn, Justin Wuerch, and Andy Zimmerman were from Wisconsin.
After setting up our individual camps along with the camp kitchen, supplies and water, we were able to relax a bit and enjoy each others company. The kitchen was organized and managed by Bev Gherardini, and Penny Simpson.
Special thanks to Ken Swierenga and Dewey Hill for each leading crew. Our task for the week was to add water bars, drains and general trail maintenance on section 11.3 from Cache Creek to Twin Lakes to the north and Clear Creek to the south. The crew was organized into 2 teams, Team # 1 member’s were:, Ken Swierenga, Geoff Miller, Charles Miller, Kylee Nelson, Megan Pickhardt, Steven Pickhardt, Brittany Tonn, Justin Wuerch and Andy Zimmerman. Team # 2 member’s were:, Dewey Hill, Ryan Zoetewey, Don Van Wyke, Grey Owl, Amy Laper, Justin Laper, Erik Kok, Ken Nakauchi, Roy Leonard, Barbara Beaumont and Kurt Hamann
Crew 1309, Animas River, Aug. 8–15
Crew Members Included:
THIS WAS A WELL TRAINED CREW!
Ken Marshall, the former adopter of the section from the Animas River to Molas Pass, thought it would be appealing to potential crew members if we could camp in Elk Park and use the railroad to get us in and out. The hike down from Molas , although only 5 miles, drops 1,940 feet and has 39 switchbacks. The problem is GETTING BACK OUT after a hard week of work! Thanks to The Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad and, more specifically, Evan Buchanan, Vice President & Superintendent of Operations, Ken’s idea came to life.
On Friday, 8/7, the D&SNGRR took our 7 person set-up crew, along with all our camp gear, to Elk Park using their diesel and a flatcar. On Saturday, the remaining 19 crewmembers, with all their personal gear, left Silverton for Elk Park on the 2:00 PM train. We all had a ball on the train and were a great curiosity to the tourists riding the train with us.
It was a great crew with lots of wonderful memories and, as usual, lots of work accomplished. We completely rebuilt 9 switchbacks and refurbished the other 30. In addition, the entire length from switchback #6 to #39 (about 3 miles) was cleared of rocks, cleared of vegetation (5,000 ft), debermed (300ft), 14 water diversions were rebuilt and 2 fallen trees were removed.. There was also a major engineering project – replacing the bridge over Molas creek.
The fact that our week in camp coincided with the railroad’s annual “Rail Fest” event provided some special memories. In addition to the three regular trains going to/from Silverton every day we got to see the Galloping Goose, the Eureka, a beautifully restored wood burning steam engine and MANY “track cars” or “motor cars” (they hold 2-4 people - I used to call them side cars?). Another special memory was the arrival in camp of a VERY large moose cow and her two calves. They walked right through our camp as we were sitting around the campfire one evening.
It was a great week!! Our heartfelt thanks to every crewmember – you are special people.
Ernie & Ann