Herman Creek PCTA Work Party

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sgyoung
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Herman Creek PCTA Work Party

Post by sgyoung » April 6th, 2018, 7:20 pm

On 4/3 I joined a PCTA work party. The original plan was to hike in along Herman Creek but then head up Nick Eaton ridge and clear trail higher up. However, low snow levels led to a late change of plans and we stayed lower on Herman Creek trail. We hiked in about two miles to a water fall (Clear Creek Falls?). This was where previous parties had left off, so we started clearing rocks immediately after hopping the stream below the falls. From there, we made it another .76 miles, removing rocks, down trees, and filling in root holes. We ended at a major rock slide that will require a major effort to clear.

I figure many folks here are curious to see the state of things in the burn zone, so I'm uploading a few pictures below. Here is a link to a shared gdrive folder that has all of my photos/ If you look through the entire folder please forgive the blurred images and redundancy. Also, the pictures a little out of order in the google folder as well, but I tried to arrange things more chronologically below. https://drive.google.com/open?id=1KZ6XZ ... tmRvR3Bdx1

Also, mandatory disclaimer here: This trail is not open to the public for hiking. Do not go here unless you're with an official work party.

Trail signs are up:
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Waterfall - we picked up where previous work groups left off here:
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The trail used to continue on past the stream crossing. It's a jumble of rocks and downed limbs here:
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Here is that section of trail from across the stream before we starting clearing:
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And after - now passable at least:
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Another shot of trail before work, covered in rocks and debris:
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And after:
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Rock slide and tree down, before clearing:
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Group working on that section of trail:
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After removing a lot of rock and that big stump:
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After, looking in the other direction up the trail:
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Here are some other photos showing the extent of the burn at various points along the trail. These were mostly taken on the way back when I had a little more time to snap photos. I'll start with the most severe burn photos and then the more positive views:

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Some green shoots:
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Evidence of the "mosaic" burn pattern at other points along the trail:

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PCT is over there somewhere:
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For the record, the work party was fun and you get a free drink at Thunder Island as a gesture of appreciation (as long as the PCTA crew leader is there, anyway). I also signed up for two TKO trail work crews (Wyngant Peak and Latourell Falls) and one with Friends at Klickitat. They were all great learning experiences and I got to meet a bunch of really cool and knowledgeable people.

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retired jerry
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Re: Herman Creek PCTA Work Party

Post by retired jerry » April 7th, 2018, 5:21 am

wow, thanks for posting, thanks for working on that

looks like it'll be a while before the trails are ready

Herman Creek was supposed to be one of the less burned trails

I bet there will be new slides and trees after you cleared those

at least it's not totally burned over, whenever it finally opens, there will still be a bunch of nice areas to look at

I want to see the Tanner Butte trail

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MarkInTheDark
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Re: Herman Creek PCTA Work Party

Post by MarkInTheDark » April 7th, 2018, 7:52 am

Great photos, thanks for givin' us a peek!

Webfoot
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Re: Herman Creek PCTA Work Party

Post by Webfoot » April 7th, 2018, 1:00 pm

Yes, thank you for the work!

Ron Goodwin
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Re: Herman Creek PCTA Work Party

Post by Ron Goodwin » April 8th, 2018, 9:45 am

Great that so many people are able to get out on the work parties as it is the best experience to see how the fire burned, the damage and then what it takes to repair the tread. The rain this week-end may be what is needed to see what will happen as much of the rock is just sitting there waiting to come down. Good job. Mt. Hood Chapter of the PCTA ROCKS!

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markesc
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Re: Herman Creek PCTA Work Party

Post by markesc » April 8th, 2018, 12:24 pm

Thanks for posting.

Someone should do a timelapse of one of these projects, would be kinda cool

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Arturo
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Re: Herman Creek PCTA Work Party

Post by Arturo » April 8th, 2018, 7:36 pm

Very eery but not in that awe inspiring Mt. St. Helen's kind of way.
What a damn shame.
Thanks Steve for coming all the way out here to put the time in.
I hope you found some time to have some fun too ... ;)

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drm
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Re: Herman Creek PCTA Work Party

Post by drm » April 11th, 2018, 3:02 pm

I was thinking of joining one of those trips, but the next month, till May 15, is really busy for me (I'm very involved with campaigns this year). I think the burn on Herman Ck is just on the lower section. Somewhere around or near above Casey Creek I think there will be no more burn. This assumes that those fire intensity maps are correct. It looks like you were a mile or two below Casey Ck from what I could tell in the photos. As bad as that looked, folks should realize that is probably one of the least impacted trails in the area.

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Christminster
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Re: Herman Creek PCTA Work Party

Post by Christminster » April 11th, 2018, 8:12 pm

This may seem like an odd question, but how did it smell?

I'm asking because I've been in a burned zone before and it had that wet-ash reek that I associate with calamity, thanks to my exposure to a couple housefires.

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sgyoung
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Re: Herman Creek PCTA Work Party

Post by sgyoung » April 13th, 2018, 9:18 am

Arturo wrote:Very eery but not in that awe inspiring Mt. St. Helen's kind of way.
What a damn shame.
Thanks Steve for coming all the way out here to put the time in.
I hope you found some time to have some fun too ... ;)
Agreed - MSH is a bad ass testament to nature's power, whereas this is a testament to, teenage stupidity I guess? Aside from trail work I did in fact have some fun. Thanks! :D I'm glad we finally got to hike and hang out
drm wrote:As bad as that looked, folks should realize that is probably one of the least impacted trails in the area.
This was my understanding too. The low snow levels prevented us from working on Nick Eaton, which the PCTA crew leader said is in much worse shape. The fire definitely burned hotter higher up and those areas will probably be very slow re-open (let alone recover).
Christminster wrote:This may seem like an odd question, but how did it smell?

I'm asking because I've been in a burned zone before and it had that wet-ash reek that I associate with calamity, thanks to my exposure to a couple housefires.
I don't recall any smell at all, honestly. Maybe that's due to the moderate burn intensity in this area or just the passage of time and wet winter? To be fair, my sense of smell is also terrible.

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