Survey: #50 Work1: #50

June 11-12, 2005 - Vicente Flat Trail Logging Project

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Trip Leader's Report


The Vicente Flat Trail is one of the medium usage trails within the Ventana Wilderness (Los Padres National Forest - Monterey Ranger District). It is also one of the Focus Trails on the District. Over the past several years, a large number of trees, ranging from a few inches to more than four feet in diameter have fallen on the trail, causing damage to the trail, hazard to hikers, and utterly blocking pack stock from all but a couple miles near the coast. In addition, on that lower section, substantial sections of the trail have been pushed as much as 20 feet below the original alignment, mostly through growth of vegetation pushing the tread downhill.

(Survey - May 16, 2005) Mike H and I (Robert P), surveyed the trail from the Cone Peak Road down to Highway 1. We collected data which is tabulated in the Survey Document linked on that webpage. GPS info is available in Garmin (.gdb) and MapTech (.txf/.mxf) formats by request. While our main goal was to document the logs down on the trail, we did also note other issues such as brush, slumped tread and storm damage. Some minor brushing and clearing of small logs (<6") was accomplished on this trip. Updated (6/12/05) Survey in .rtf format The survey is a Rich Text Format (.rtf). It can be viewed on a large monitor, or printed out in landscape orientation on legal size paper. Original (5/16/05) Survey is here.

The first logging trip was the weekend of June 11 and 12, 2005. Base camp was Espinosa Camp, ~3 miles in from the coast. All logs between the coast and Espinosa Camp were removed, and substantial work between Espinosa Camp and Vicente Flat Camp was accomplished. The crew included, Mike H, Mark M and myself (Robert P). Short stop motion video of cutting log50 (3' redwood). Windows Media (823KB)

(Update - 6/27/05) The second logging trip was the weekend of June 25 through 27, 2005. Base camp was Vicente Flat Camp, ~5 miles in from the coast. All logs between Espinosa Camp and Vicente Flat Camp were removed, and substantial work above Vicente Flat Camp was accomplished.

Trip Details and Commentary

Robert Parks' personal commentary

In general, more time (sometimes much more time) was spent swamping out or preparing the worksite than spent actually sawing stuff. Log #36, the 36" redwood took about 3 hours start to finish, but only 45 minutes of that was sawing. The sawing (unless it is awkward/underbucking) is also some of the easiest work. Certainly it is the most rewarding effort. Having good sharp saws makes a huge difference.


We carried: a 6' crosscut saw, a 3.5' one-person crosscut saw, a 21" pruning saw, a max-ax (single bit with pick and hoe attachments), camp axe, a shovel, and clippers and small folding saws. The shovel was cached at the end of the trip for future use. And we pretty much used everything we brought. We really could have used a macleod (or macleod attachment for the max-ax). Somewhat heavy for a three-man crew, but the rewards were incredible.


Log #51 - A good starter to practice and refresh skills. Low hazard level

Log #50 - Challenging, mostly because the bole was deeply cracked from the rootwad, and dirt, gravel and char had washed into the cracks, so substantial axe work was required to get to clean wood to cut. Barking and digging out the cut location was also fairly strenuous. Finally, levers were used to motivate the stump off the trail and down the hillside. "Aarrrrr!"

Log #48 - Someone, not us, spent an obviously effortful time to cut this brushy deadfall clear of the trail. All that remained for us was a quick cut with the small saw.

Log #47 - Notable mostly in that the lower cut was through a hollow section with a crack and, as we found out, twisting tension. Top bind and bottom bind! Fun!

Log #46 - Like a hot knife through butter! Two-man on the little saw.

Log #43a - New log since May. Dispatched quickly.

Log #43 - A complex of California Bay and a multiple boled Big Leafed Maple. We cleared all but the large overhead bole of the maple and returned the trail to easy clearance for all but stock.

Logs and Cutting

Each log (obstacle) may contain several boles or other work. 6.5 obstacles were cleared on this trip with a total of about 200 diameter-inches of cutting (40 + 160).


Trip Icon
(large thumbnails(~20K) and larger linked images(~150K))
If full resolution images are needed, note the exact image header (ex: "01-050516-104402") and contact me directly.


Maps with track and waypoints (click on images for medium size maps)

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Larger Image - 473 x 800 (138K)

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Vicente Flat Trail Logging Project - June 11-12, 2005 / Robert Parks / / revised July '05