How Do You Please 400 Women?

01 June 2003

The most recent Advocates workday focused on a short, but vital trail in the Forest of Nisene Marks State Park – the Buggy Trail. This trail runs parallel to the Fire Road between George’s Picnic Area and the Vienna Woods Trail. This trail is also included in the racecourse for the Aptos Women’s Five Miler race that will take place on Sunday, June 8. This race is very popular with 400 females starting at the Aptos County Park, heading down the fire road to the Mary Easton Picnic area where they double back including this short trail on their return trip.

Mike Hammes and Tim Reynolds “dig” right in to get to the “root” of the problem.
Mike Hammes and Tim Reynolds “dig” right in
to get to the “root” of the problem.

Greg Weaver puts finishing touches on a rolling water dip.
Greg Weaver puts finishing touches
on a rolling water dip.

Greg Weaver was up to the task even if his mattock couldn’t take it!
Greg Weaver was up to the task
even if his mattock couldn’t take it!

Mike Hammes smiles to think about the improvement to the trail – and the happy female race participants.
Mike Hammes smiles to think about
the improvement to the trail
– and the happy female race participants.

Our motivation for addressing this trail was two-fold. Firstly this trail has long needed attention. Drainage on the Fire Road end of the trail had exposed numerous roots making this section a real obstacle course. And because it is downhill, it is doubly precarious making the potential for a twisted ankle or skinned knee much more likely.

The second reason to work on this trail is to contribute to the enjoyment (and safety) of the race participants because the Advocates receive a share of the race proceeds. This donation on the part of the Women of the Forest, who oversee the race, (with permission of the Santa Cruz Track Club who sponsor it) is genuinely appreciated by the Advocates.

The workday weather was stupendous. No fog, warm temps – just perfect. The workday organizers already knew that turnout for this project was going to be light. Everyone who reported for duty knew what needed to happen and went about completing the project with their usual enthusiasm and determination.

Fortunately the area where the rooted section is located is shady which not only helped to keep everyone cool but also managed to keep the soil damp and easy to dig. Tim Reynolds, from state parks, came equipped with all the tools that appeared to be needed. As shown in the picture at the right, Greg Weaver may have been up to the job, but his mattock couldn’t take it. We’ll have to speak to Greg about passing up the Wheaties at breakfast in the future.

Margaret Hicks, who usually is the workday photographer/reporter, took on workday responsibilities also. She headed out on the rest of the Buggy Trail to cut back the encroaching vegetation. Because of the rainy spring, the poison oak crop was especially heavy. Hacking and whacking, she managed to open up the trail in many places to the alloted 5 feet (this trail allows for equestrian traffic). Now, if one of the race participants sees a chance to overtake someone, there will be room to do it (without risking an encounter with the dreaded poison oak).

Everyone involved really enjoyed this project. The “instant gratification” always feels great. But the knowledge that next weekend’s race participants will have a positive experience makes it that much more satisfying.

Oh, by the way, Margaret Hicks has a personal interest in seeing this trail improved – she’s a race participant!!

Volunteers who attended this workday: Jeff Hicks, Margaret Hicks, Greg Weaver, Mike Hammes and substitute photographer, Jeff Thomson. State Parks attendee: Tim Reynolds.