Boulder Creek Trail in the Sespe

by Lorraine on August 11, 2009

Instead of writing something about my garden, I’m going to share some pictures  and comments about my last Forest Service event where we worked on a trail, overlooking the Cuyama Valley at about 7,000 foot elevation.   Usually these events are at a lower elevation and typically they involve brush clearance, trimming overhanging branches on the sides of the trail and water bar repairs.

But this event would be different, because we were higher in the mountains that meant less brush to cut and cache and instead we needed to find and clean the trail that was covered in pine duff.   There was so much of it, that you couldn’t even see it and needless to say, anyone trying to find it could easily get lost and end up meandering around the mountain, completely confused as to which was to go.

Looking North

Looking North

It was a beautiful day and we had a good size crew that volunteered to lend a hand with the project.   That meant it was going to be an easy day with all of the extra people who would be helping out.   I spent most of my time re-working the tread and enjoying the sound of the wind through the Big- Cone Douglas Firs (Pseudotsuga macrocarpa) that covered the mountain top.  And I was secretly glad that I wouldn’t be working so hard on this project, unlike many of the others that completely beat you up and do you in!

Big-Cone Douglas Fir Pine Cone

Big-Cone Douglas Fir Pine Cone

There was one huge tree that had fallen across the trail and needed to be cut in half to open up it up once again.   One of my fellow workers is certified to handle a crossbow saw, you know one of those old-fashioned looking ones that the lumber jacks would have used a 100 years ago?   We counted the rings on the downed tree and it was well over 150 years old and made you wonder what life was like on the mountain at the time when the tree was a sapling.  It’s sad to see them fall but eventually everything dies and when they do, they renew the soil and create an environment for animals to find food and refuge, creating new life in the process and on it goes….

Yours Truly

Yours Truly

There was one tree that was so large and magnificent in it’s death that I took several photos of it, trying to capture it’s essence and beauty.   Obviously it had lain next to the trail for many, many years.   It was bleached out and the bark had long since disappeared from it’s branches and somehow it reminded me of a skeleton of an ancient ship.  Spooky and beautiful at the same time with it’s lovely lines and gnarled wood and branches.

End of Life

End of Life

By the end of the day,  we were able to complete most of the work on the trail and I was surprised as to how much we had accomplished, considering the amount of work that needed to be done.   But having a larger group of volunteers than we usually have, made the difference.  Although there is still a section that leads to a stream that we were unable to get to.   But that will be for the next time we work on this trail, possbily in the Fall.

The sky was beautiful and I loved the way it looked when you gazed up into the branches of the trees.  Being in the wilderness makes you feel so much more connected to the nature and helps you to forget all of the things that you’re concerned about or nag at you during your day.   Being outside, working hard, tends to force you to forget all of the junk that occupies your time and distracts you from enjoying your life. 

Branches & Sky

Branches & Sky

At the end of they day, we loaded up the gear into the trucks and headed back down out of the mountains to Ojai and the Forest Service office.   We had a great group of people and it seemed that everyone had a good time and enjoyed their day on the mountain and we all bid goodby to one another and returned to our civilized lives, daily obligations and responsibilites but with a feeling of satisfaction, knowing we had done something positive.

Working the Tread

Working the Tread

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