Burros and Their (Extra) Baggage
Since the Bobcat Fire two years ago, the two big projects for Camp have been repairing the water system and getting the trail “pack-train worthy”. This is so the burros can bring in the rest of the materials for the water project, and everything else needed at Camp, especially once the Canyon opens to the public.
“Pack-worthy” means a clear trail, a stable tread, AND side to side clearance for the loaded panniers or saddlebags. Given the damage to the trail after the Bobcat fire, there are several places where the tread needs fortification, and for sure where passage is ‘skinny’ at best.
Which is a problem: it seems the burros have put on their own “pandemic-20” and then some. With no long hauls up to Camp (4.2 miles one way), but plenty of yummy feed at the Pack Station, the burros have bulked up like a bunch of football players after a two-year party cruise to Ensenada!
“Adjustments” will be made along the trail, and Maggie promises to start working the beasties back into shape; if you’d like to help coax/coach the burros on one of their training/delivery runs, give us a call.
Mariachi on the Mountain – Fundraiser October 30th
Come up to the Mt. Wilson Observatory for a fundraising concert for Adams’ Pack Station, featuring our own mariachi/packer Maggie Moran! The talented Mariachi Lindas Mexicanas perform inside of the historic 100 inch telescope dome Sunday, October 30th at 3 & 5pm. Guests are invited to observe Dia de Los Muertos for the concert of traditional Mexican music echoing beautifully inside the Observatory dome. Space is limited, so please get your tickets quickly: go to https://adamspackstation.com/fundraising
Hurrah for Valves
Sometimes something simple can cause a shout of joy: first-time hikers arriving in Camp often give a holler and a yell—finally there! So much effort, so many steps, it’s great to see the Lodge and just sit down!
It was the same for a simple gush of water from a half-inch pipe: so much digging through rocks, so many pipes carried so many miles, such intricate valves and connections, and finally Paul the Plumber turned a valve handle, and fresh wild water spurted out the side of the new valve box – Hurrah! Success!
While the new water tank panels have been in the spotlight for over a year, those wouldn’t have any work to do without a LOT of fresh plumbing. Conservancy Board member and Site/Operations Manager Paul Witman led the effort and engineered the plumbing, especially the new control-valve set-up.
Sturtevant’s water begins in a surface collection pond, moves through pipes and several basic filters to take out the sand and gravel, and then accumulates in the storage tanks; old metal #1 survived the fire, and the new #2 and #3 (metal) tanks are poised to be built. Once the water is stored, it is treated then filtered one more time on its way into Camp.
Because the water system is typically used by different volunteers every week, designing the control-valve system was the perfect chance to improve and especially simplify the system: where different valves used to be spread between the 3 different tanks in 3 different locations, now they are all together in one control box that it is easier to hike to, and sits at waist level so the sequence of flush and control valves are easy to see and use.
Next up: assembling the new tanks, connecting the plumbing, and finally turning those valves on – expect to hear some serious Yahoo-ing once we hear the sound of water running into the tanks!
Trees Been Coming Down For-Evah
Much as we love the Canyon and its forest, it is an active environment, often hostile to our “improvements”. Indeed, every time we hike into Camp, the first thing is to scan the buildings for tree-fall. Back in 1964, Camp volunteers found this new and unwelcome project. Today, the stump of the tree that fell is still visible next to the lower water filter box by the bathhouse.
About the photo: Camp Board member Paul Witman reached out to fellow preacher’s kid Karen Garrett, daughter of Rev. John Knox who recently passed away; she’s going through her dad’s photo archives and found the image. Rev. Knox was a key early volunteer and leader for the Camp, and likely had a hand in building the bathhouse, which would have been relatively new at the time. Thanks Paul & Karen!
4x Better Than a Crank
Sounds small, but recently the Camp was gifted with two new hand radios, with a third on the way = four total. The Canyon radio system was developed several years ago by the cabin owners’ association and Friends of the San Gabriels for fire safety; it provides a live connection between Chantry Flats, cabins up Winter Creek and the Big Santa Anita, all the way to Sturtevant.
Back in the day – WAAAY back– the crank phone system was the only way to communicate up and down the canyons (it even ran all the way to Mt. Wilson.) Voices were often distant and scratchy, and the copper lines required constant maintenance – and now the Bobcat Fire has wiped out most of it.
In contrast, the radios are pretty reliable. They help Canyon regulars keep up with what’s going on in the Canyon and are especially useful when there’s trouble: when the Bobcat fire started, the host in Camp was able to give and receive real-time information with the Pack Station, and get the guests on the trail ahead of the fire.
For Camp volunteers, multiple radios will make for quick communication on the way to and from Camp, and especially between work projects spread in and around the Canyon. This is no small thing: many volunteers have burned many calories and much time hiking back and forth between the projects for tools, help, and guidance. It also – frankly – provides quick consensus on lunch time!
In the future, if you’re in Camp or on the trail or at Chantry and hear “Patrol 15”, that’s Sturtevant talking.
Coming in November
The Becky Page story, the road opens (maybe?), year-end wrap-up and prep for 2023.