Survey: #50 Work1: #50 Work2: #19

June 25-27, 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 (6/27/05) 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.

(Logging - June 11-12, 2005) 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 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

We were a little lighter on the prep work this trip, due to simpler terrain and newer logs. We did more multiple cuts and got more creative on the clearing of cut logs. Not having travel time made Sunday very productive. Again, having good saws made it all possible and pleasant.


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), large axe, camp axe, a macleod, and clippers and small folding saws. The cached shovel from the previous trip was used during this trip, at the end of work, the shovel and macleod were cached for future use. We used every tool we brought. Somewhat heavy for a three-person crew, but better than the alternative of not being able to complete parts of the project.


Log #18 - Prepped for future work. The brush pile covering the trail was 4-6 feet deep and 20 feet across. The revealed trail is no prize, having a crater in the middle where the top of a redwood landed before careening down the hillside, but it is passable and safer than the bypass. The log itself, barring hidden binds, should be fairly straightforward to cut, if impressively large.

Log #19 - A jackstraw pile of variously sized tanoaks down across and above the trail (thanks to a 5' redwood downed uphill of the trail). I (Robert) was able to cut the various smaller logs and brush from atop the redwood. The 24" tanoak was broken through, so it was a fairly simple bottom bind to cut, and easy being still wet/green. We used cut logs to form a ramp so it mostly cleared itself when it came loose, a bit of lever work got it entirely off the trail. Video of finishing the cut (320x240, 3.4MB, Windows Media) (720x480, 11.8MB, MPEG).

Log #21 - A seemingly simple log spanning the ravine, partly cracked through mid-span turned out to require three cuts, including some unpleasant underbucking.

Log #22 - Left for the moment, easily passable by hikers and stock, could be cleared, but would require a major investment of time for a fairly minor reward in terms of trail clearing. Same situation with Log #17.

Log #23 - Another log pile. We cut out the smaller logs and established a new stream crossing/stock ford.

Log #25 - Notable only in the ease with which we made two cuts in this green tanoak, and the complete absence of sawdust in the noodle piles (see thumbnail below)

Log #26 - A double boled California Bay that has been down on the trial for a few years. Boon chopped one bole, I partially chopped the other (due to splintered wood) before sawing the rest of the way.

Log #32 - Rather, Stump #32. Grubbing axe (max-ax) with hoe and pick attachments trimmed and cleaned this up, moisture should rot the rest fairly quickly.

Log #33-34 - A complex of California Bay and Tanoak down on and near the trail, entirely cleared, with substantial treadwork done.

Log #38 - A mid-sized tanoak on a steep sidehill. Some uncomfortable stances to cut it. The log was allergic to wedges, spitting them many yards away when we tried to pound them in. Used a "Heard" underbuck (shovel). Finally pushed the last stub and rootwad off the trail.

Log #43 - Finishing of this log was a bit of a challenge. It was free above the trail, but solidly hemmed in by other solidly attached boles, we cut it a couple times and left it firmly grounded in the inside bank of the trail.

Log #44a - New log since last trip!. Dispatched quickly.

Logs and Cutting

Each log (obstacle) may contain several boles or other work. 16.5 obstacles were cleared on this trip with a total of about 350 diameter-inches of cutting (90 + 160 + 100).


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 - 785 x 800 (259K)

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Medium Sized Image - 700 x 600 (173K)

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Vicente Flat Trail Logging Project - June 25-27, 2005 / Robert Parks / / revised July '05