Two days at the table? Not a Thanksgiving story

05 December 2004

We had our trail work season kickoff in Upper Stevens Creek County Park this past weekend, December 4 and 5 with a total of 150 hours being donated to Santa Clara County Parks. We had 31 volunteers show up to help us with our annual maintenance on the Table Mountain Trail, and even had Patty Ciesla and Ron and Ryan Hartson show up for both days.

The trail group F.O.R.E.S.T adopted this trail last year, and has since been leading volunteer crews in their effort to preserve and protect this gem of a trail in the Parks.

This is what motivates us to get out. 5 miles of beautiful, narrow, flowing trail
This is what motivates us to get out. 5 miles of beautiful, narrow, flowing trail through Black Oaks, Tannoaks, Madrones, Bays, and Manzanita, interrupted by vernal stream crossings and spectacular views of surrounding ridges
and the valley below.

Eric was one of our heros of the day, attacking the poison oak on the banks at the roots.
Eric was one of our heros of the day, attacking the poison oak on the banks at the roots. Nick and Ryan work behind him almost out of view on vegetation removal, and Sally and Ron place the final, subtle shaping cuts in a drainage feature
just off trail.

The enormous Madrone root ball in this shot is slowly migrating into the trail in this turn.
The enormous Madrone root ball in this shot is slowly migrating into the trail in this turn. Josh and Raju led others in shoring up the outside edge of the trail with logs, rock and dirt.
Removal of this root ball might be a project
for our next work day.

Burying wood in a trail is a temporary repair, especially in wet conditions.
The first step here was to crate a stable foundation for the logs. After the logs are put in place, dirt is packed around them to smooth out the trail to make it more user friendly. Burying wood in a trail is a temporary repair, especially in wet conditions. The Madrone we used here is more rot resistant than most woods, but even with the best installation practices, it could decay and start to become unstable in less than five years.

We were treated to some fantastic views on our way out on Saturday.
We were treated to some fantastic views on our way out on Saturday. The high winds and low temperatures we have had over the last week or so have improved visibility on all our ridges.
Get out and have a look for yourself.

Table Mountain is a narrow, steep, rugged trail that descends 5 miles down into Stevens Canyon from the top of Charcoal Road almost a thousand feet above the creek. This trail has suffered from a lack of County Park maintenance resources and heavy use combined with the steep, unstable nature of the surrounding hillsides. Our main objective in working on this trail is to prevent water from running down it, and reduce its erosion into the creek below. While we are out there, we also prune back vegetation (including Poison Oak!), remove dead fall trees, replant vegetation, and restore worn and damaged trail tread.

This weekend County Parks Volunteer Crew Leader Charles Jalgunas led the crew with assistance of regulars Carrie Presnall, Shane Reed, Fred Stanke, Patty Ciesla, Josh Moore, as well as frequent volunteers from other open spaces David Tharp, Jaime Villarreal, Michelle Martinez, Marilee Schultz, and John & Eric Schullek. Our group was rounded out with locals Laurent Ginestat, Nickolas & Sally Erickson, Ron & Ryan Hartson, Ken Johnson & his son, Christopher Chui & Alice Chan, Akhil Raju & son, Vivian Frazee, Rich Fell, Yihong Zhou, Jean, Josh & Michael Misko, and Andrew Ma, including students sent from Monta Vista HIgh School's Habitat for Humanity Club and Saratoga High School's Key Club.

In the two days, we were able to cover the first two miles of Table, and that section should be self sustaining for at least a year. Our next project is to continue down to the lower half of Table, an area that hasn’t received much work on in years. Click over to the Volunteer link and sign up to be there. Its a guaranteed good time in the woods, with great people, on a project you will enjoy having participated in for years.