LPFA Trail Project Report, March 27-29, 2015 (McKinley Saddle to Mission Pine Basin)
MISSION: Brush Mission Pine Trail between McKinley Saddle and Mission Pine Basin.
PERSONNEL: Curt Cragg (leader), John Franklin, Steve Cypher, Jane Lodas, Dave Ralston, Bob Burtness (OFOC rep), Bob Trimble, Jessica Wheeler, Eric Smith, Dave ? (list incomplete). A few more arrivals, including Paul Cronshaw, appeared on Saturday. He continued on from Mission Pine Basin to work the Fall Canyon Trail.
ITINERARY: Departed Santa Barbara at 0600 on Friday, 27 March and drove 41 miles to Cachuma Saddle, arriving there at 0700. Hiking group departed Cachuma Saddle via 4WD vehicles (mostly) and arrived at McKinley Saddle, via locked Forest Road, at 0800. JHA briefing followed by 3.5 mile backpack (which included brushing and tread work along route) to Mission Pine Spring, our base camp for the project. I arrived there at 1330. Pack stock (4 mules and 2 horses) departed Cachuma Saddle and arrived in camp at 1437 after a 13 mile trip. Camp set up during the rest of the day. A delicious dinner, including iced tea, was served around 1800.
On Saturday, 28 March, following an early morning burrito breakfast, coffee and a JHA, the group departed around 0830 to clear the trail between Mission Pine Spring and Mission Pine Basin, a distance of 4 miles. Trail work included brushing, some tread work and bucking 20 trees that had fallen across the trail since the previous trip. Some of the crew members consumed a trail lunch at Mission Pine Basin Camp followed by more brushing and a departure back to Mission Pine Spring, beginning at about 1315. Camp return times varied between 1600 and 1800.
On Sunday, 29 March, following breakfast, members of the group departed at various times and headed back to Cachuma Saddle. Wranglers and pack stock departed later. I arrived back in Santa Barbara around 1530.
WEATHER: Sunny all three days, although there were a few high clouds on Sunday. There was also nearly a half moon at night. Due to the 4-6 inches of snow that had fallen in the area three weeks previously, the ground was slightly damp in places, and new grass growth of about 2 to 6 inches was observed.
Air: ranged between 40 degrees at 0700 to 62 degrees in the shade during the afternoons; 72 degrees in the sun.
Water: 51 degrees at the Mission Pine Spring as well as the creek beyond an adjacent ridge. Water is flowing well at both locations. Temperature not taken at stagnant pools of creekbed at Mission Pine Basin. McKinley springs are running well also.
Sun Shower: 89 - 110 degree range (two different days)
Beer: 32 degrees on Friday night and 42 degrees on Saturday night, both an improvement over the previous trip to the MSH.
SIGNAGE: Good, including cairns along the route, but it is important that trail users be observant since there are areas, particularly along washes, where they could stray away from the trail.
FLORA: prickly phlox, Indian paint brush, bush lupine, California and bush poppies, white and purple thistle (invasive) live and valley oaks, Douglas fir, ponderosa pines, Coulter pines, ceanothus (several species including green bark), manzanita, incense cedars.
FAUNA: lizards, butterflies, ravens, coyote scat, stellar jays, Black-headed Grosbeak.
OTHER TRAIL USERS: a few hikers observed on the lower part of the McKinley Road on Sunday.
CONCLUSION: Objectives successfully completed. No injuries reported. No bears, mountain lions, bobcats, rattlesnakes or IED’s encountered.
SPECIAL NOTE: The MIke Smith tree felling project (in progress) at Mission Pine Spring was studied during the social hour preceding dinner. GPS coordinates indicate that the large subject Ponderosa has rotated approximately 1.5 centimeters downward during the past month. Progress will be further evaluated on future outings.
Volunteer Wilderness Ranger
Santa Lucia District
Los Padres National Forest