Deberm and Defoil!

The mission of the Pacific Crest Trail Association is to protect, preserve and promote the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail as an internationally significant resource for the enjoyment of hikers and equestrians, and for the value that wild and scenic lands provide to all people.
~Pacific Crest Trail Association 2010-2013 Strategic Plan

Saturday, we joined the Tehachapi Trails Association to do some needed PCT trail maintenance. Our mission was to deberm (the removal of trail berms that funnel water on the trail) and defoil (the removal of foliage) the 1 1/2 mile PCT section south of Cameron Road and Hwy 58 just outside of Tehachapi. Brandon with the Pacific Crest Trail Association was there to give us instruction and support. He was super friendly, professional, and informative.

The first task was to clean up the ugly, dirty, stinky, littered (diapers, full pee bottles, and garbage of every kind) little section of the trail at the Highway 58 off ramp. To back me up I quote The Southern California Pacific Crest Trail Guide:

You begin your trek at the south end of Cameron Overpass, then cross busy Highway 58 on the overpass to the trail on the north side. There is often liter here and a strong stench of human waste. Hurry past.

This is how it looks now. We were pretty excited to view the area after the transformation.

We then moved to the actual moving of dirt. The tool of choice for trail maintenance is the fancy McLeod (a wildland firefighting tool used by STRONG firefighters) that digs, cuts, removes slough, compacts, and smooths. It is pretty much magic. However, after about an hour of using this tool with super powers I realized I needed the ultralight version and earnestly asked Brandon “Do you have a titanium version?” He of course politely told me he didn’t think so. I then discreetly exchanged the McLeod for a small lightweight hoe.

Switchback  maintenanceVolunteers rerouting pathway of water runoff
Deburming and  trail  wideningWidening and deberming the trail
Jeruselum CricketJerusalem Cricket
Pizza!Thank you Trent, Marilyn, and the Tehachapi Trails Association for the tasty food spread

This was a great day. We learned a lot about trail maintenance (we will never look at a trail the same again), met new outdoor enthusiasts, got exercise, and enjoyed being outside. Thank you PCTA!

Click here to view all photos from the day


  1. Barbara Tieskoetter

    Hi Rockin’ It’s been nearly two years since I’ve seen you, but enjoy keeping up with your treks via this format. Don’t delete my name! Wish my husband I could have helped with the PCT trail work day but we left that morning for Yosemite. I finally did the Upper Yosemite falls hike. Holey Moley!!! What a fantastic experience. The water this year is phenomenal.

    • Hello Barbara, That is so great you experienced the falls with an over abundance of water flow. That is quite the heave and a hoe up that trail. Hope you took photos to remember the day. I think Tehachapi Trails is having another trail maintenance day June 20. Good to hear from you.

  2. I will totally think of this when I hike that section. Hiking has definitely made me want to help with trail maintenance when I get off the trail. Great job!

    • Hey Wired aka Erin, good to hear from you. You guys are REALLY moving along that PCT. Planning on picking up your packages today. See you soon.

  3. Right on Rockin, thanks for being a part of that event and such a supporter of the pcta and the outdoor lifestyle altogether!
    I think I’m back on track now, feeling better and ready to start moving!!

    • Great to hear. The weather is looking great for hiking, some of the snow has melted, and it sounds like you have been learning a lot. What more can you ask for?

  4. Interesting. Why was the trail littered with such grotesque debris? Is it because the highway is nearby?

    • This little section of the PCT is right at a major freeway, plus the trail parallels the freeway for 2 whole miles AND is frequented by truckers that often spend the night. Last year, Loves, a super store of a truck stop was added a few miles east of this off ramp. My hope is this very disgusting trash dumping area will now just be a typical off ramp and the garbage dump will stop. We were embarrassed that this would possibly be a representative of the nice community of Tehachapi. Cross your fingers. I will be picking up thru-hikers this Wednesday at this stop, leaving water and snacks… will see.

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