CATS meet the Devil, June 14, 2018, Larimer County Natural Area

CATS made a revisit to an earlier project in May of 2015 to touch up or repair some over use at the Keyhole area and another bit of work was needed at a vital intersection of trails. Great night for work too as it started out with a thunderstorm moving in on us, but turned and went east, cooling down the hot summer day. We made a 26 minute hike out to the first worksite and found the stashed tools as provided by Larimer County trail crew. Dean and Denny took charge of this small group to put in some great check steps and stone waterbars to thwart future rushing water cascading down the trail. Oh the scenery out here is phenomenal and such a delight to work here. Tim and I wandered up to the Keyhole area to get started on the over-use issues. We had to restore a monowall and force traffic back on the proper trail. Also a small renegade trail was being formed by folks that don’t like using steps. Sorry – stay on the trail and steps please! As the time ticked by, we picked up Andy coming in followed by Brandon, Dave and then Connie. We loved getting all the extra help – though I stole them from the other crew – I think we all did well out there. Both projects got finished on time as we had to step up our pace to get to Justine’s Pizza place before they closed by 9 pm. It was 8 pm and we were still on the trail. Fortunately, we sent Scott up ahead to help with reservations and such. Great time there too – we ate so much – three pizzas and cheese bread.
Members: Navy Bob, Connie, Dean, Denny, Leigh, Scott, Lynn, Tim, Andy, Brandon, Dave
Hours:   4.5

RESULTS:   Two work zones – 6 stone steps installed and/or repaired, 2 waterbars (1 installed 1 repaired), 15’ new monowall, rubble, closures, naturalizing area

·       Beat the Devil and the weather – storm passed over
·       Delightful evening with cool breeze
·       Excellent teams – two projects closed out
·       Lots of photos – should be up on the google cloud soon
·       “Not really hard work”
·       Great rock shopping at the Keyhole
·       “Hike in was awesome”
·       Hikers were very appreciative of our work
·       Hike out was fun with goat on top of mountain
·       Excellent shadows on the hogbacks – makes great photos
·       Reveg team put in 1 Yucca, 1 sage, and 2 cacti plants
·       Dean’s and Lynn step project worked out real well
·       All trail structures looked good and sound
·       Dave’s water bag (minus the goldfish)
·       Lots of extra water brought out (in case of extreme heat)
·       Hot at first – then cooled down
·       No shade at second work spot
·       Smashed finger – typical stone work incident
Talking with the boss Joel; it sounds like we finished our task out there for this season and will have to wait and see if work projects pop up next year. Sorry, some of our folks love it out there and I do too. Working against those massive hogbacks and at that windy arch is such a treat. They say a million people visit here per year (that is a lot of feet trampling ground). The main attraction I suspect is the Keyhole for most. Others fly through this area on bikes or running. I need to get out here and enjoy the place after trail work. Speaking of improvising, Dave always amazes me with his quick solutions to things. He came out later in the evening but forgot his pack, so he filled up a large zip-loc bag with water and found some gloves in the car and headed out to the worksite. When he came up, we were slightly amused with the zip-loc bag and jokingly ribbed him about looking for the goldfish inside. He promptly went to work. Watching him drink from the bag is another story. I guess the object lesson here is preparation on Dave’s part, but also adjusting to a personal dilemma and making it work. CATS members are trail workers – but survivors also. I don’t mean we go out on ‘death marches’ (though Young Gulch is getting rather long) but we know how to manage our affairs in relation to each week getting to the worksite. Each member, by now, has a pack already geared up and sitting in a room or in the car or by the door – all fitted out with the trail gear one would need for the project. Why pack each week? The only thing that would be needed differently would be fresh water and snacks. Speaking of packs – please consider getting a pack that is you. Meaning: it fits your physical frame, rides good on your shoulders, and has enough room for food/water/gear of all types/raincoat and so on. I think it is worth the investment to have a good pack out there that can take a beating – yet is durable and strong to go the distance and support the trail builder. Brandon just got a firefighter type pack and it is something to examine carefully – check it out. Packs don’t have to be real expensive either. Shop around. Enough of the weekly lecture – got to go eat left over pizza from Thursday. Thanks to Scott for big donation towards the pizzas! Fun place….

On the trail,

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Bob Johnson
Field Director - CATS


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