Trail Maintenance

Wednesday November 7 - Wednesday November 14, 2012

Saddle Peak* Trail

Malibu Creek State Park

* a Backbone Trail Segment
This was a State Parks Spike Camp project

For the last several months, the State Parks trail crew, under the management of Dale Skinner, has been using a project strategy referred to as "Spike Camp". For the Spike Camp projects, the trail crew establishes a "Spike Camp" on or near a difficult-to-reach section of trail. The crew camps and works ten hour days for eight days. This strategy allows the crew to minimize travel time and maximize the actual time performing trail maintenance. For some of these events, members of the Trails Council volunteer trail crew have camped and worked with the State Parks crew. At other times the SMMTC crewmembers have simply hiked in and joined for a day of work. The last two "Spike Camp" events have been on the Saddle Peak section of the Backbone Trail. The primary objective of these two projects was to rebuild the rock steps where the trail winds through the large rock formations near Saddle Peak. This task is very labor intensive and physically demanding. Many large boulders must be moved, shaped and fit into solid foundations. Although some power tools are used to cut and shape the rocks, the foundations are dug and constructed with hand tools and the rocks are always moved by manual labor. Despite these challenges, the crew is doing a fantastic job with amazing results. The accompanying photographs show the crew at work and views of the finished product. The overall project is about fifty percent complete and will be finished in future "Spike Camps".

A view of a section of the trail before restoration.
Dale Skinner and a crewmember using the rock saw.
Dale Skinner with his crew.
Members of the State Parks and SMMTC volunteers move a large rock to construct a step.
Preparing to move a rock to it's prepared foundation.
The State Park crew on the partially completed lower section of steps.
Completed lower section of steps.
SMMTC volunteer Jerry Mitcham working on the trail.
SMMTC John Kross preparing the foundation for a new step.
Partially completed landing. The new landing is hardened with a rock base and provides positive drainage.
Members of the State Park crew on the partially completed upper section of steps.
Larger view of the completed, lower section of steps.

Photos contributed by Dave Edwards and Dale Skinner.