We cleared trails out of Clark Fork on July 11 and 12, 2017.
All photos courtesy of Karen Lopes.
You may jump to the newsletter article below the pictures.
01) Using a crosscut saw to clear this tree off of the Boulder Lake trail.
(We have to use a cross-cut saw instead of a chain saw in Wilderness areas.)
02) Dave and Dennis showing the magnitude of the snow bank/avalanche on the first creek past the fork on the Arnot trail.
03) Dennis clearing off some limbs that stuck out in the trail at the base of the Woods Gulch switchbacks.
04) Ernie jumping off of his mount to clear some smaller debris in the trail.
05) This monster was laying directly in the trail near the gate on the Woods Gulch trail.
06) Dennis Weatherington and Ernie Warzyca often assisted with the rock bars while Dave cranked on the come-along.
(A "come-along" is a hand-held tool with a winch, lever and pully that lets a normal man pull up to two tons. A "rock bar" is a long steel pry bar.)
07) Dave Moser using his come-along; it worked well, and was much lighter to carry than our Griphoist!
(A griphoist lets a normal man pull four tons.)
08) Heading back to the trailers after a long day of trail clearing!
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Clark Fork Horse Camp is open and looking great! We have had our volunteer camp hosts present most weekends since June 24th. Our first trail work project July 11 -12 was very productive, with our trail crew of Dave Moser, Ernie Warzyca, D ennis Weatherington and myself clearing approximately 35 trees/limbs off of about 10 miles of trails. Dave took a pack horse that was loaded down with a crosscut saw, a come along, wedges, single jack, 2 rock bars, axe, shovel, first aid kit and other equipment. I carried just a few items, including our helmets, on my pack horse. We started on Tuesday morning on the Clark Fork trail, which begins at Iceberg Meadow. We cleared multiple trees off of this trail up to the Boulder Creek crossing. We considered crossing the Boulder Creek to continue up the Clark Fork trail, as the water wasn't too deep for the stock. However, there was some deep sediment on the exit route across the creek, and so we decided to head up the Boulder Creek trail instead. We cleared trees off of that trail for about another 1/2 mile; and then it was time to head back to the trailers. The Clark Fork trail is in good shape; however I would caution riders of the deep mud where our horses sometimes sank down a foot or more.
We got back to our trailers, loaded up and headed to the horse camp where we set up our one night camp. After a nice dinner and a relaxing evening, we hit the sleeping bags!
The next day, after breakfast, we broke camp, making sure to thoroughly clean up our highline and camp area. We saddled and loaded our stock, then drove to the Arnot trailhead. We cleared trees from the Arnot trail, where we noticed that someone had been there ahead of us; possibly Forest Service Rangers...they cleared the smaller trees from the trail. The Arnot had an avalanche this past winter down the creek bed of the first creek crossing after the Arnot/Woods Gulch Fork, about 20 minutes from the fork. There were snow banks between 7-10 feet high on both sides of the creek; they were protected under a layer of dirt; and therefore weren't melting very quickly. Our trail clearing had to be postponed for the rest of the Arnot as we weren't getting past that avalanche mess anytime soon. We backtracked to the fork, and headed up the Woods Gulch trail. We cleared downed trees up the switchbacks, and all the way to the first small meadow; about 30 minutes past the first wire gate. (which isn't up yet) We worked until about 4:45 p.m., making it back to the trailers around 6:15 p.m. The Arnot trail is clear up until the avalanche; and the Woods Gulch trail is cleared a good 30 minutes past the gate. We had only two days of trail clearing, but cleared quite a few trees from the trail. Much of the downed trees/logs in the trail were smaller in size; only requiring a little manpower to clear. As Dennis and Ernie were on riding horses, not leading any packhorses, they got the majority of the trees cleared by just dragging the debris off of the trail. (While Dave and I supervised from horseback, of course!) The other half of the trees that needed to be cleared were either cut with the crosscut saw, or pulled out of the trail with the use of the come along, requiring us to all stop and tie up in order to clear the trail.
We are tentatively planning a second trail work project for August 4-6 where we will be using chainsaws to work on the Bridge and Manzanita trails. There is also plenty of lopping to do if you are interested in helping out; but aren't part of the chainsaw trail crew. Please contact myself or Doug Dollarhide if you are interested in helping out that first weekend of August. Remember, due to our new safety protocol, we will need to know exactly who will be in attendance prior to August 4th.
As for the Clark Fork Horse Camp, I am still needing volunteer horse camp hosts to fill some weekend dates for July and August; please contact me if you are interested in volunteering. It just requires you to sweep & clean the three restrooms; and communicate to the horse camp visitors to let them know who you are, provide new visitors with information about how to find the trails, and how BCHC Mid Valley has taken over camp hosting. There are signs up in each restroom, along with on the kiosk, that describes this information in detail. Please don't hesitate to contact me if you have any questions and/or information regarding the Clark Fork Horse Camp.
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