A weekend in the open space

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Saturday, 7 June 2014

I volunteered for a trail maintenance day at the Chestnut orchard trail. Here’s the orchard, near where we parked, and where we later had lunch. It was a hot day, but fortunately, most of the trail we maintained was down in the shade, much cooler than the area around these chestnut trees.

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When a trail is first built, it is graded into an L shape as it goes across grades; over the course of time, the angle in the L fills in with silt and duff, so it looks more like a J. Most of what we were doing was cleaning out the angle of the L, effectively widening the trail. They call it duffing, so I suppose that makes us duffers.

We also created or improved drainages on the low side of the trail, so it won’t become a mudpot during the winter. Hard work.

Sunday, 8 June

Today was the second of two training sessions for the open space district volunteer trail patrol. It was at the top of Page Mill, only a mile or two from yesterday’s trail work.

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Being an early person, I went on up as soon as I finished breakfast. The photo is the pond at the Daniels nature center, Page Mill and Skyline.

I am also signing up for what they call the ARMS program: advanced resource management stewards, so I met with Ellen for ARMS training. It went pretty fast, because much of the detail overlaps with the volunteer work I have already been doing. But now I have my own weed wrench, along with a khaki vest and a name tag, and permission to uproot all the weeds I like. I must be crazy.

The training session started at 10, so I went for a hike on the Russian Ridge trails. The loop was just a little too long to get back in time, and I was running … when some other hikers called my attention to a dark area in the shadow. Glad I stopped!

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I didn’t really want to take the time to wait for this guy to move on, so I went around it on the trail. It coiled into a striking position and rattled at me, but didn’t strike.

That was my excuse for being 3 minutes late to the start of the training session.

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After an hour or so of classroom material, we went out, where Paul, the volunteer coordinator, rode past several times against a radar gun, to give us some feel for what the 15-mph speed limit means.

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Then we went out on the trail where we play-acted several scenarios of the type that we may experience as trail patrollers. They emphasize training for emergency situations. Of course, the odds of actually encountering an emergency situation are pretty low, but we need to be prepared, just in case.

Not a whole lot of lower body exercise this weekend: maybe 10 miles, 1500 vertical feet, but I’m now an official volunteer. For whatever that’s worth.

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