In the Field: Week 3 (Part Two)

This week, Wednesday was the new Monday for the Shadow Mountain Crew. We came back to work after a long weekend of exploring and getting sunburned, ready for the exciting projects that the week would bring!

On Wednesday, we headed up the Arapaho Pass Trail to cut fallen trees and complete basic trail maintenance. A few tricky and time-consuming tree cuts meant that we were unable to reach the majority of trail, but it was certainly a good start!

On Thursday, Corps Manager Geoff Elliot joined us for another day of cutting fallen trees off of the Knight Ridge Trail. This time, we had the exciting opportunity to get a boat ride across Lake Granby to our work site! Many thanks to the ANRA patrol personnel (and their boats) for getting us safely to work and back home again. We cut over 60 trees in total, but there are still at least 60 more trees left on this windswept trail! We really have our work cut out for us on the Knight Ridge.

People sitting and relaxing on a boat deck with mountain and lake views.

Heading across Lake Granby on Thursday morning.

One of this week’s highlights came on Friday, when we took a maintenance run to the section of the Continental Divide Trail (CDT) that leads to the Devil’s Thumb, a rock formation on the Continental Divide. We improved drainage structures and cleared a couple of trees on the 4-mile trail before reaching the top at Devil’s Thumb Pass. We enjoyed great views of our district to the west and the Boulder district to the east, and even got to check up on some of the work completed by the 2015 Shadow Mountain Crew in an extensive project last season.

Panoramic view of hikers resting in a mountainous meadow with patches of snow

Our scenic lunch spot en route to the Devil’s Thumb.

Rocky outcrop overlooking a mountain landscape with a lake

View of the Devil’s Thumb, looking east toward Nederland and the Boulder Canyon.

On Saturday, we completed work on the East Shore Trail (on Shadow Mountain Lake) as part of a volunteer event with members of the Headwaters Trail Alliance (HTA) and the Continental Divide Trail Coalition (CDTC). Our work mostly consisted of constructing a turnpike-like retaining wall structure in a muddy section of the trail. Between getting filthy and soaked in the mud and operating the demon-possessed motorized wheelbarrow, this proved to be demanding work, but we were happy with our progress by the end of day! With a few finishing touches and some time to dry out, the retaining wall should help visitors keep their kicks mud-free for years to come.

A group of forest workers constructing a wooden pathway over a muddy section of a trail

Making progress on a retaining wall/turnpike on the East Shore Trail.

The Red Feather Crew was able to accomplish much last week with tackling some major drainage issues (photo #5 attached-Sabrina coordinating a trench near Lady Moon TH). We were able to work together and keep things interesting through all our hard work last week. The crew really grew as a team through it all!


A person digging a narrow trench in a wooded area with a shovel
Sabrina finishes a drain on the Lady Moon Trail

We were able to close down about 200 ft of trail braiding (social trails), build 10 new drains, daylight 12 more, and move/cut 26 fallen pine trees this week. The trails that we covered were Lady Moon, Granite Ridge, Disappointment Falls, Elkhorn Creek, Molly Lake, Mt Maragaret, Frog Pond, and East Loop Dowdy.

A person cutting a fallen tree in a forest surrounded by green grass and pine treesTwo men clearing a fallen tree from a forest trail; one observes while the other uses a saw.

It was great to see so much wildlife-a mountain salamander, a few moose, and so many fields of Spring wildflowers.

A person's hand resting on the ground near some green grass and a small stick.

Crew leader of the week begins this next week. I, as well as most of the others in RMC, are excited to get their feet whet and see what being the acting crew leader is all about, and what the opportunity affords them to learn and grow!

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