Organization : PCTA
Trail Maintenance Volunteer Trip
Logout and Brushout
8/26/21 -> 9/2/21
During this time I was volunteering with the PCTA in the Glacier Peak wilderness with a team of eight others to perform maintenance on the section of trails in the White Chuck Basin and West of Glacier Peak.
Activities included logout, brushout and sporatic trail shoring and drainage upkeep.
As well as backpacking to/from base camp during and after maintenance activities.
Arrival and The Journey to Base Camp
The journey started with a long car ride up from Portland where I had stayed the night before with my friend Ryan.
Excitement was high and it was really easy slipping into that “thriving on adventure” type of mindset I get when going out into the unknown parts of nature. A little giddy, a little nervous, many exciteds.
It was gorgeous out, if a little overcast at times and the road became less busy and I turned from Tacoma headed out to the trailhead to the East.
Off the main highway, I was a bit early so I stopped on the side of the road, napped and had breakfast. Not the most comfortable, but it was the last spot I could check my map to verify direction.
Then it was onward and out onto the dusty forest service road.
There was an old cabin with random stuff laying around I passed on the way. This cool snow-mobile seemed worthy of a shot.
As I went further up the road, it narrowed more becoming a single-car widge channel of tracks just headed through brush. If this was an indication of the work ahead of us to clear the trails further out, then we had a lot to do ahead of us.
Still excited though. 😀
Day One – Trailhead to Meander Meadows
I didn’t get many pictures of the meeting place. Opting instead for stretches, snacks and chatting with Don, one of the volunteers that I suspected was a team leader for the first half of our conversation.
People gathered, there were introductions and we set off carrying what gear we had towards Meandering Meadows. It was to be one of the shorter days, but a good way to acclimate before a longer push in the morning to Base Camp.
Meandering Meadows was quite gorgeous and it was lovely just being out away from all of the modern background noise. No cars, no electronic hum, no harsh lines or lights. Just nature and gorgeous scenery. (Filled with plants; it was really brushy)
We passed a team of Conservation Core volunteers whom had been out in a different section of the area for two weeks. They looked rather haggard, dirty and exhausted but were cheerful to talk to. I looked forward to the feelings they were feeling because it would mean a successful trip.
Meander Meadows To Base Camp
In the morning we meandered around for breakfast before packing up camp and gathering to hit the trail.
That first day out is always a little challenging. Waking up outside rather than in a comfy bed takes some getting used to, but isn’t too bad once you’re used to it. I just wasn’t exhausted yet. Hah.
The first ascent from Meander Meadows was a bit rough, the trail wasn’t too steep but it had quite a few washouts and overgrown sections. We joked about starting early but it wasn’t our area to be working in. We had further sections to clear and we’d leave this for a later crew.
The weather started out just a bit cloudy but quickly changed to full overcast. Felt like hiking through the clouds…but this was actually good as it kept the heat of the sun off of us for the most challenging hike. (Heaviest packs)
A break every now and then for snacks and a spread out group made for a rather pleasant hike. I was coasting on excitement at this point and still very “fresh out the gate” so the extra pack weight didn’t bother me too much. I even took turns carrying the big saw!
The Descent into the White Chuck Basin was very foggy and a bit cold even as we switched from the strenuous uphill to only descending.
Getting tired and nearing the end of our day, we reached the site for base camp and began to scope out our new homes for the week. I picked a spot on top of a small hill, nestled in a corner under a pine tree for some shelter and set up my tent.
Then it was off to go rinse off in a nearby creek (ICY COLD!) and into thermals for dinner and sleep. It was going to be a busy week.