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Arizona Trail Maintenance - Passage 17a, AZ
mini location map2016-11-12
39 by photographer avatartibber
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Arizona Trail Maintenance - Passage 17a, AZ 
Arizona Trail Maintenance - Passage 17a, AZ
Hiking avatar Nov 12 2016
Hiking2.75 Miles
Hiking2.75 Miles
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
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ABC - Event
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Around 8AM we headed out on the trail to the first marked spot for Wendy's "how to do tread work" instruction. And then we broke off in teams along the way to tackle different jobs. The horse support (Charlie and Harry and 3 horses including the pack horse) and 3 other hikers (Corwin, Roger and Mike) had already headed up to the far side of the passage dropping a couple gallons of water at each mile.

Jocelyn had just completed the AZT vacation event at Bray Ranch so was well versed in tread work. I worked with her on one project before partnering up with Sandy for most of the day. Jocelyn and Adam, the young guns, ended up pairing up for a good part of the day. This tread work and creating drainages is a little tricky; first as to where to put it and then to complete the work. The secret is you have to think like water; yep, that's a little interesting all right. Luckily the soil was pretty cooperative other than the rocks. The dirt was somewhat soft so it made it easier to move it around where you wanted. However, we still had to Pulaski it in places to get it started.

There was also grubbing to be done. Sometimes that went well and others... OMG! We spent 45 minutes on one catclaw that had been trimmed back year after year as it's almost on the trail. Well this year, it was to be removed. But you wouldn't be grubbing it out, you would be sawing it out. We had very little area to work in and had a little saw but between the two of us we finally claimed victory.

One of my favorite parts was trimming the prickly pear using the clippers, stabbing the ears and lofting them far into the air and off the trail. The lofting could be very entertaining as many times, the ear just plopped down right in front of you :lol: . It was kind of like attempting to throw sticky pruned plant remnants away from the trail when many times, it just stayed stuck to you. You all know what I mean.

There was another couple working as a team and Wendy wandered between the groups to supervise and answer questions about our work. I got the de-berming thing down pretty good as I had learned that up with Shawn on another AZT building event up in Pine. Soon my back was shot though. I was shocked as how sore I was; this was very disheartening because I wanted to work more. Later on Sunday I remembered that I have a bulging disc (have had it for about 15 years from laying paving stones) and so I wasn't really sore, I had aggravated the disc :( and it is still not happy with me. This displeases me as even though trail work is hard, I do like to help...

Anyway, we had lunch at the 1.2 mile mark in the shade of some trees. It was warming up so this was a nice respite. Most everyone was tired of tread work so the next couple hours was dedicated to using the clippers for some serious catclaw and sticky bush revenge. Wendy, Adam and I went back about 1/4 mile to finish off some tread work areas before coming back to the lunch area and up the trail for a piece to catch one more bit of treadwork. Adam continued south and I went back with Wendy, but not before dropping the Mcleods and a pic at the lunch area to be used the next day.

The hike back to camp was very pretty, a time to enjoy the fruits of the labor and take in the scenery in its entirety. Back at camp, preparations were made for what Wendy is known for on these work events "DINNER". When people start rolling into camp there are cold beers and appetizers before the main course of pulled chicken sandwiches and baked bean surrounded by bacon casserole (made in a dutch oven) followed up with strawberry shortcake made with biscuits in a dutch over. All of this was topped up by another show "the super moon" :D .

The next morning part of the crew headed back up to the gate at the two mile mark to finish off some work. Roger and I headed back to get the McLeods and did some minor trail work on our way back before hiking back to the Picketpost TH. Wendy and Jocelyn prepared camp. Sandy, Corwin and Adam had hiked back to Picketpost TH.

Video Trail Maintenance Part 1 including Wendy's instruction on tread work -
Video Trail Maintenance Part 2 and best of all, DINNER with a Super Moon -
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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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