- one wilderness toilet seat installed at Barlow Flat Camp (Dave)
- three trees cut out of the Pine Ridge Trail (Lynn and Steve)
- three hundred yards (by our feeble estimate—it might have been much more) of brush cleared from the Terrace Creek Trail (Beth and me)
Most of this work was performed in anticipation of a USFS mule team coming next Thursday to bring three wilderness toilets in to problematic Sykes Camp (problematic because, with its well-known hot springs, it is very, very popular—but in a place, a narrow canyon without much river edge, that can't stand up to such popularity). In turn, the mule team will carry out the many hundreds of pounds of trash—most of it from Sykes Camp—that we wilderness rangers have been stashing over the last couple of years, just off the trail. We carry out what we can ourselves, but we're no match for the Sykes Camp hordes.
People don't realize how much work is required—and is done mostly by volunteers—on these trails in our national forests and wilderness areas. They walk (or stumble) after a long hike into a nice, well-kept campsite, and take it for granted. That's not to say that most backpackers aren't good Leave No Trace practitioners. But: so many people we see on the Pine Ridge Trail are ill equipped for what they seem to consider a stroll in the park—but it's a ten-mile stroll, up and down over steep eleva-tions. Their Coleman stove and cooler aren't appropriate, and all too often, we wilderness rangers end up carting out their abandoned gear.
And don't get me started on toilet paper.
But today: I was happily engaged in whacking weeds. And occasionally I'd stop to take a look around. And listen. We got the sheer pleasure of a foggy morning with "redwood rain" (fog drops dripping from the trees so hard it sounded like rain). Delicate gold-silk globe lilies, and native Douglas iris. The sweet sound of quail and the sharp laughter and knocking of acorn woodpeckers. That's the payoff for volunteering as a ranger. It works for me.