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Trip Report

Upper Gray Wolf River to Gray Wolf Pass — Saturday, Aug. 7, 2021

Olympic Peninsula

Disclaimer: this trip report isn't for the Graywolf all the way to the pass, but for the section from Slab Camp to just upriver of Ellis Camp.

I recently led a WTA crew and we worked from the ONP boundary to about Ellis Camp, a distance of approximately 5 miles. In that stretch, this is what we accomplished:

* cleared all logs.

* built a turnpike in an extremely muddy section (a turnpike is two outer logs supported by stakes with mineral soil, rocks and or gravel as a fill - it raises the trail out of the mud but requires no future maintenance).

* re-benched the trail back up to its original position (to "bench" means to dig the trail into the hillside. Full bench means the entire tread width is securely into the hillside with no outer supporting structures needed). We needed to do this in various spots because trails have a way of drifting down as people walk the outer edge to get away from brush, trees or mud. 

* removed the outer berm where necessary (the berm is the build up of soil on the downhill edge, which blocks water from getting off the trail. Sometimes this causes the water to start running down the trail, causing erosion and rutting). 

* brushed both sides of the trail where necessary - 4 feet back from the middle of the trail. We use kombi brushers (weed whackers but you can take them apart and use different attachments, we use circular blades to do the job).

*cleaned up from the brush and raked the trail.

*removed branches hanging low into the trail.

*addressed all drainage, either by cleaning out existing drainage features or by putting in new ones.

*any other miscellaneous work that goes into making a trail just right.

Two hazards to note:

1. there is a washout that has left very narrow tread. This needs to be moved back, but until then, step with care.

2. the footlog approximately 1 mile upriver from Graywolf Camp is rotten. One person at a time on that one. 

To get the power tools and gas / oil to camp, we used human mules - 3 of us and 3 others who volunteered for the day. To get the tools back up the steep Three Forks trail we used actual mules, run by Tom Mix and Leif of Backcountry Horsemen, Peninsula Chapter. BCH is incredibly supportive of trail work and do a lot themselves too. 

Prior to our trip was another WTA crew who worked from Slab Camp to the ONP boundary, so the trail is in good shape there too. 

Note that we had hoped to get the trail cleared of logs all the way to the Cedar Lake junction at least. But the crew lead - me - was down with a hip tendon injury. I ended up laid up at camp with pain for the entire 5 days, so we lost a fair amount of woman-hours of work. 


pseudotsuga on Upper Gray Wolf River to Gray Wolf Pass

Thanks for all your hard work keeping our trails in tip-top shape.

Posted by:

pseudotsuga on Aug 20, 2021 03:55 PM