September 26, 2017
Yesterday, fourteen volunteer trail workers from East Bay Trail Dogs, Take to the Hills, Berkeley Path Wanderers, and Skyline Gardens assembled at Siesta Gate to make the new hiking entrance to the Skyline Trail.
Using picks, shovels, McLoeds, Pulaskis, rakes, rock bars, saws, loppers, teeth and fingernails, we opened up the trail. We cleared and cut the new trail bed. We made a platform for the bench anchored by a wall of local field stone. And, we harvested recycled wood from along the road to make the bench. It was a great day for the 'work of the ants.' And so far, unless I'm wrong, the total cash outlay is 0.
Here's a quick photo album. Special thanks to photographers Francesca, Corrina, and Cynthia.
Here's some of the crew assembling at Siesta Gate:
The orange shirts are not Calfire inmates, but Trail Dog veterans. You have to work six days to get your orange, cotton long-sleeve.
Here we are cutting the trail along the barbed wire fence:
There were lots of Coyote Brush stumps in this section and they all had to be dug out. The stump and root extraction is a very special kind of outdoor dentistry.
Here's a group working in the bench area, where the trails comes through and splits north and south.
This area was a thatch of Poison Oak stems and roots. Pull and chop, dig and cut. They will be back from the roots for sure. That's OK, we're ready for them. The group on their knees are setting rocks for the bench platform
Now here's a series showing the 'finished' trail link as it is today.
Here's the entrance, right above the white bar gate. It goes downhill and then takes a sharp right turn:
Here's the next trail leg that runs south along the fence and then cuts left through the fence and around the Live Oak:
Here's a shot of the bench intersection, looking back towards Siesta Gate and Grizzly Peak Blvd:
To the right is the main Skyline Trail (Corrina in pink); to the left is the exit spur up to the bench area (Francesca in yellow). In the middle is the rock platform wall and pink flags marking the bench placement (Jim in white).
The trail is now open, so come and walk it. No more climbing the gate; no more forgetting the key. Of course, there's still more to do: the bench, signage, and fine tuning. But it's operational.
This segment now links the trails coming uphill from Claremont and Strawberry Canyons to the interior trails of Tilden, Sibley and EBMUD watershed lands. Now, you can put on your pack in Oakland or Berkeley and legally walk to the top of Mt. Diablo all on public trails. You can go north through Tilden and Briones or south through Redwood, Rocky Ridge and Las Trampas.
It's a big deal.
Congratulations all around. Who-hoo!!!