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.
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!