Hite Cove Trail Work

posted Jan 30, 2020, 10:45 AM by Paul Wagner
It was a great way to spend a couple of days near Yosemite.  The volunteers out of Mariposa have been working on the trails in that area for a number of years.  And Bill King, the man behind all this work, is a fountain of knowledge about the trails, artifacts, and history of the area.  Every time I work on a trail crew with Bill, I learn more about the history of the early miners, and the Native Americans that were here before that.

This crew went into the Hite Cove area to try and repair some of the trail that was so badly damaged between the massive fires and a flash flood that hit the following winter.  The fires burnt off the vegetation, and the water from the flash flood eroded away huge gashes in the trail...and in the landscape.

But Bill and his friends have been working on this area for some time, and they have been making progress.  The trail is still closed to the public, but as trail crew volunteers with hard hats, picks and shovels, we were allowed past those signs to get to work. 

After the morning's hike into the camping area, we immediately began to burn off massive piles of slash that had been cut by previous crews.  There was no end to this work, and even with four of us working hard, we didn't get it all done.  As our five huge piles slowly burned down (thankfully, everything was dripping wet throughout the area, so fire danger was essentially nil!) Bill and I took off to tackle one of the erosion problems between our campsite and Hite Cove.  We built the lower part of the rockwork necessary to cross the ravine, pulled a few buckbrush sprouts from the side of the trail, and got back to camp in time to eat an early dinner.  Then the four of us stood around the last of the burn piles and told stories while we added more branches and slash to the fire. 

It was a really damp night.  All four of us, each with a different make and kind of tent, fought a huge amount of condensation by the early hours of the morning. We woke up wet. That was no fun. 

But before the sun hit our campsite, we were further up the canyon.  Dave and Marty finishing up the work Bill and I had started the afternoon before, while Bill and I tackled the next stretch of erosion damage.  Mid-morning, we took a brief break to explore Hite Cove itself, working our way around the massively eroded gorge there that had demolished the trail.  that's a project for another day, and another crew. 

By late morning we were back at camp to eat lunch.  And while we were there the sun finally hit the bottom of the canyon and our camp.  Each of us took our turn hanging our sleeping bags and gear out in the sun to dry it out. 

We started another burn pile upriver from the camp, and that kept us busy until mid-afternoon.  At that point I took my leave, heading back to the trailhead and Le Vin Blanc.  I had a meeting the next day I could not miss.  And I left Bill, Marty, and Dave planning that afternoon's work, probably up by the eroded gorge. 

It was hard work.  It was a great group of guys, and we made a real difference in the conditions on the trail.  And I can hardly wait for the next one of these. 

The rest of the photos are here; https://photos.app.goo.gl/XVkYZ2b5QokjSQur6