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mountain squid

nice day for maintenance, part 1

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Yesterday was our first maintenance trip of the year and it started off as usual . . . with a trip to the liquor store. The liquor store is one of our carpool meeting places. I don't always have to meet there, it just depends on where our maintenance for the day is. When I do go there, I like to get there a few minutes early. There is just nothing like starting the maintenance day off with something that comes wrapped in a brown paper bag and I was pretty sure that a chainsaw was going to be needed today. What fun!

I figured I could get in and out of the store discreetly and before everyone else was there. It was kinda cold this morning, so our meeting was delayed an hour to allow for some sun warmth. I had plenty of time and then I would have something to keep me warm as I waited. I could occupy my time by tipping back a few.

What?!? wait a minute . . . this was not a good idea . . . hmmmm, maybe, liquor and sharp, rotating tools aren't a good combination . . . especially since I am not chainsaw certified and I do not drink alcoholic beverages. And, since everyone was beginning to arrive, I decided against the brown paper bag. Probably a good decision. What was I thinking . . . . ?

Everyone that was meeting at the liquor store finally arrived. We loaded up the vehicles and headed to our final destination at Spivey Gap. There were a few others meeting us at the trailhead. Now, we haven't been there in a long time and I've only been on one maintenance trip there that I recall and it was years ago. It was a good thing I wasn't driving because I didn't remember how to get there.

This trip was predicated by a 'hiker report'. 'Hiker Reports' are hit or miss. I've been on several wild goose chases looking for elusive blow downs that should be within 2 miles of the trailhead (carrying a chainsaw and other tools and then 4 miles later without finding the suspect blow down, I think it is time to turn around). It's not that hikers are unreliable, they just seem to have bad perception, especially concerning time and distance traveled. Have you ever asked a hiker, going in the opposite direction, how far the next water source, shelter, road crossing, etc is? You could stand in one place asking that question to the next 5 hikers and receive 5 different answers. I don't usually ask those questions when hiking . . . of course, I'm quick to offer advice if asked - - 'It's only 10 minutes away. You'll be there in no time . . . '

(Now, if you ever want to submit a report to one of the maintaining clubs, Please be as descriptive as possible. Identify the problem, ie. a blow down, something wrong with a shelter, a confusing intersection, etc. Provide the general location by identifying a nearby landmark such as a spring or road crossing, etc and approximate distance from it. Sometimes I'll place my hiking poles next to the problem and take a photo. This will give a good idea of size and will help in deciding what type of tools might be required.)

This hiker report was sent to the maintaining club, TEHCC. We finally had the opportunity to work on it. I didn't see the actual report so as far as I know it was a ruse to fool us to work on the farthest away section that we maintain (for some of the guys it is probably over 2 hrs away, it is about an hr and a half for me) . . . nah, Carl, our coordinator, wouldn't do something like that. 'Supposedly' this report mentioned some blow downs and a narrow footpath on a sidehill with a steep drop off if one were to fall or slip. This whole section is a narrow footpath on a sidehill with a steep drop off, kinda hard to determine where the hiker specifically was concerned about plummeting out of control downhill . . . but we were ready to check it out.

Ok, finally at Spivey Gap where the rest of our group were waiting. Time to divvy up the tools and do some work . . . nope not yet . . . . Spivey Gap was not my final destination for the day.

See you on the trail,
Tim aka
mt squid
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