It was a dark and stormy night...

22 February 2004

OK, not really, but the weather service really did make it sound like it was going to be a wet Sunday. Fortunately for the four intrepid volunteers, the weather service was a bit off track, and nobody had to deal with anything more than a couple of light sprinkles.

Carol performing a culvert-ectomy.
Carol performing a culvert-ectomy.

Richard vs the Ooze
Richard vs. the Ooze

Chris and Greg demonstrate their latest Advocates dance routine
Chris and Greg demonstrate
their latest Advocates dance routine

Mr Tree? Meet Mr Chainsaw. Bwahahahahaha
Mr Tree? Meet Mr Chainsaw. Bwahahahahaha

Carol's valentines day present
Carol's valentines day present


Winter had been taking its toll on the trails of Nisene Marks State Park, and it was time to do a little mid-winter first aid. With things as wet as they were, no major dirt moving was in order (to keep the streams and creeks silt-free), but there's no better time to deal with everybody's favorite, drainage. The wind and loose soil had also been playing havoc on trees. Advocates for Nisene Marks volunteers Greg Weaver, Richard Andrews, Carol Cuminale, and Chris Foster set off with pulaskis, shovels, a chain saw, and various other implements of mass destruction to dig, drain, and clear.

One of the storms a few weeks back had come through quickly, but with some torrential rainfalls. Lots of the little creek beds had been scoured completely clean of loose material and downed wood. So the first chore was a plugged culvert on the Loma Prieta trail that had filled in with the rain. Obviously a pretty big lake had formed "upstream" of the culvert, and there really was hardly any sign that there was even a drain there.

After a few minutes of exploratory digging, it was obvious that this was not a little culvert, but a big one left from the days of Loma Prieta trail being a narrow gauge railbed. After a little (actually, a lot) of digging, the size of the blocked drain was obvious.

Richard and Greg headed up trail while the festivities were continuing on the culvert. First step was attacking some slimy areas on the bypass and clearing some minor slides.

The culvert cleared and trail de-slimed, the fearless foursome continued up to Bridge Creek trail - a particular section that turned into a river during every rain. As always, new drains to the rescue...

Finally, with Loma Prieta and Bridge Creek safe for the time being, the crew headed to West Ridge trail. West Ridge has had more than its fair share of downed trees lately, and the rains had pointed out a couple of weak spots in the drainage work done last fall. A few quick zips with the chain saw, a little earth moving, and West Ridge is now a happier and easier to navigate place.

It was a little longer of a workday than was had planned. But by 3:00, the tools were cleaned up and put away, and the crew retired for hot showers and cold adult beverages.