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AZT #17 Trail Maintenance & Campout, AZ
mini location map2014-11-15
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AZT #17 Trail Maintenance & Campout, AZ 
AZT #17 Trail Maintenance & Campout, AZ
Hiking avatar Nov 15 2014
Hiking9.14 Miles 1,094 AEG
Hiking9.14 Miles
1,094 ft AEG
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Sirena's description: [ photoset ]
the hike in: ... ___1 and I'll have a separate log for the hike out

so this will be about our trail maintenance on Saturday day and Sunday AM:

After breakfast we got our trail maintenance training from Wendy :SB: ;) . I got some of this on the video. The most important thing is to cut the branches as far down as you can so at least we don't have to worry about the growth re-occurring so quickly. I think a lot of time trail maintenance folks don't get this instruction so they only nip the branches and such. Wendy also likes you to throw the debris to the downside of course so it won't roll back into the trail. Marvin on the other hand, wants you to try and get it out of site (I learned this on Sunday) which is a bit hard to do most of the time but I tried kind of. When stuff is sticking to you, I just would rather get it off me as quickly as possible or throw it as far as I can; and most times, that's not out of sight. And last, we want to clear the trail so that horses and bike riders can safely travel thru as well.

And of course Wendy assigns me to the crew that has to walk the furthest. At first I was whining but then I thot, ah ha! I won't have to work as long. Marcos and I grabbed our tools to get a head start while the others were settling up other things. Well that was a tortoise/hare thing right off the bat ;) . I would see Marcos at the gate a couple miles later to exchange the axe for the clippers and then wouldn't see him again until we met up with everyone in the wash of FR4.

I was happy to be by myself though as now I could take pictures and movies to my heart's content; I expected the others to catch up with me anytime. They didn't catch me until below Stripey Butte on the south. Meanwhile the scenery and the lighting of said scenery by the sun and around the clouds was :y: . I was very glad. I could see why Wendy adopted this part of the Arizona Trail for Arizona Backpacking Club (ABC). The trail even as it elevates does so nicely. I think Wendy said it was designed by bikers.

Around 10:45 I reached the saddle, it's always so exciting to see what might be on the other side. And it did not disappoint. The saddle aligns with the east side of Stripey Butte. I continued on my way and shortly thereafter Wendy said to meet at the bottom of the hill. And here we saw Mark and Tracey who had been working their way down to here. We took a break around 11 and visited for awhile.

So now the work begins. With clippers in hand among other tools for all of us we started the trail maintenance up the hill. We took a break at the saddle around 1 to eat our lunch. It was a great view from here. And now for the downhill portion. Wendy left to hike ahead to make our dinner preparations and I think that's when I got stuck with the shovel which meant I would be doing tread work too. Meanwhile there were 5 of us still working our way to the other group of 5. There was a lot of work to do on this hill before arriving at the gate an hour later. Marcos said working with that pick was much harder than he thot as I'm sure it is since the soil is so hard and sometimes caliche-like.

We ran into a group of 3 bikers with overnite gear (the last still coming up the hill saying "this is much harder than I thot :sweat: "). Somewhere around here I got cholla-ed. Chris offered to help get it out of my leg. I told him I would probably scream. I decided it might be easier if I pull it off my pant leg out of my sock and then Chris finished the job using two rocks for the final removal. I think earlier in the day I had said I hiked in the desert for 3 years before getting cholla-ed and then "boom" it happens shortly after that story. Actually there aren't many cholla along the trail.

I am thinking we ran into the other group of 5 around 3:30 and that was our time to stop working though Chris and I paired up to knock off some more of the sticky stuff as we made our way back to camp. Sometimes it's nice to work in a pair as one person can hold the plant so that the other person can clearly see where to lop it. Chris (Stoic) was quite good at getting the prickly pear pads hanging over or heading for the trail. I found my shovel could slice pretty good too.

Finally we arrived back at camp after dropping our tools in the cul-de-sac at FR4. Wendy had chips and homemade salsa :) made so we started to devour that and then realized 3 people were still out on the trail yet so everyone instantly stopped eating the salsa; kind of a funny moment. We also got to have a couple beers (the Dos Equis regular is very tasteless compared to the dark). And then it was time to feast and we did. I've never put so much on my plate (so glad they had plates) and ate all of it. We had a nice fire and Wendy finished the evening with some Irish songs (2 happy, 1 sad) and of course, some Mango Tango with rum.

The next morning, once again we had lots of dew on our tents. We ate some breakfast and then headed back south up the trail to where that crew finished off. It was me, Marvin and Roger to start and then Stoic joined us. Marvin said we would only have to work until 10. Sirena, Heather, India and Wendy went to work on more of the trail north of FR 4 where they had worked the previous day. The other 6 hiked out instead. I didn't take my camera which made working easier. We ran into a couple nasty sections so those alone took most of the morning.

I was worried Marvin might not call it at 10 but he did, whew. Marvin is quite the worker let me tell you! and so is Roger and Chris. While walking back I learned about Marvin's mom. They lived up on the reservation in the middle of nowhere. He has a very interesting story and I encouraged him to write it down or record it. We ran into his wife just before the creek bed next to the road. She was stuck working by herself.

Anyway, with all these people we were able to get a bunch done. I think Wendy was pleased! Everybody worked hard to make it such a success. I was beat and hoped the hike back to Picketpost TH wouldn't be too exhausting.

Two videos with the first including Wendy's detailed instructions on trimming followed by the start of the hike up the trail and the second video finishes off the trail hike to the wash. Once again I used the extra big format, won't be doing that in the future. I don't have any video of the trail work as I felt guilty enough just snapping a picture now and then instead of working:
For me, sometimes it's just as much about the journey as the destination.
Oh, and once in awhile, don't forget to look back at the trail you've traveled.
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