Volunteer Trail Project:
Grab your hard hat, a set of leather gloves, good hiking boots and prepare yourself for six days working on trails and enjoying high alpine landscapes. We will be working at an altitude above 11,000-feet during the duration of this project. Our basecamp is high, exposed and spectacular.
This five night project is physically rewarding and choked with opportunities to find personal enjoyment and satisfaction.
Working closely with the Pagosa Ranger District, we will continue work on a trail that has been showing signs of overuse.
We will be working on any of the following projects:
• Quartz Ridge Trail – create turnpike in the marsh segment of the trail
• Little Blanco Trail – making a small re-route above a wet segment of trail to a dry rocky segment
• Little Blanco Trail – clarifying the rocky and precarious foot path descending to the tarn
• Little Blanco Trail – reinforcing the rebar and cable section
What is a Volunteer Trail Work Project?
This six-day project is focused on trail maintenance needs in the South San Juan Wilderness of the San Juan National Forest. Designed as fun work in the backcountry, our focus is safety, enjoyment and followed by completion of the project goal. We recognize that the public land system is used by hikers like us. This is a way to give back to all of the boot prints we have put on the trail tread.
Projects like these offer a day-to-day reward of accomplishment. You will be amazed at what you and your co-crew can achieve with buckets, mattocks, shovels and pick axes. As a crew, we will complete important trail work. You will meet new friends, share meals and chores. We want you to enjoy the experience, and come back.
This project is open to volunteers who meet the following criteria:
* Have a great attitude and desire to work with other volunteers to accomplish a project goal.
* Ability to adhere to the following basic rules: Be Safe. Have Fun. Get Some Work Done.
* Physical stamina to hike to and from camp, hike and work at a moderate pace throughout the day.
* Have the appropriate gear and equipment for the week; all food and tools will be provided for you.
* Ability to participate for the full length of the trip; no late arrivals or early departures.
* Willingness to learn – no prior trail work experience is necessary.
* Must be 16 years old with parent or guardian.
What is the Difficulty?
We are always hesitant to rate a trip because everyone perceives difficulty differently. This volunteer project is almost entirely above tree-line and entirely above 11,000-feet. Your body will feel fatigued faster making breaks more of a necessity. The altitude is the greatest single complaint of volunteers because it is an unnatural feeling. Some volunteers suffer from minor headaches or an upset stomach. Maintaining hydration and nutrition is essential to feeling good at this altitude. Additionally, it is imperative that volunteer for this project be in good physical shape.
A day’s trail work can be strenuous if you are not accustomed to it. Volunteers should have the physical stamina and ability to hike to and from camp, hike daily to the work site and work at a moderate pace. It is recommended that volunteers spend a day or two extra vacationing and touring in the area prior to traveling to the trailhead. This will assist with acclimation.
Our Work Week: Subject to change.
* Day 1 – Sunday, July 22nd
Hike to camp, set up camp, examine and assess the project worksite, as a group outline goals.
We will meet at the trailhead at 8:00 am for breakfast and pre-project notes.
* Day 2 and 3 – Monday, July 23rd and Tuesday, July 24th
* Day 4 – Wednesday, July 25th
Day off! This is your day to relax or explore the local trails, peaks and views of the wilderness.
* Day 5 – Thursday, July 26th
* Day 6 – Friday, July 27th
Finish and evaluate trail work, break down camp, hike out.
We expect to finish at the trailhead at 2:00 pm.
Our Work Day: Subject to change.
* 6:30 – Morning wakeup call.
* 7:00 – Coffee and breakfast served. Please be on time! Make your lunch.
* 7:30 – Cleanup crew washes dishes, puts food away, etc.
* 8:00 – Leave for project site.
* 8:30 – 9:00 – Begin work at the project site; taking periodic breaks.
* Noon – Lunch break. At least 30-minutes, probably an hour.
* After lunch to 3:30’ish – Continue trail work; taking periodic breaks. Don’t overwork!
* 3:30 – Leave for camp
* 4:00 – This is your free time to enjoy the landscape, read a book, write in your journal or take a nap
* 6:00 – Dinner served. Please be on time! Enjoy a big plate of delicious, nutritious, filling hot food.
* After Dinner – Cleanup crew washes dishes, puts food away, etc.; everyone else on own.
A menu will be provided approximately two weeks prior to the project. Our menu is designed to ensure nutrition, is not carbohydrate heavy but instead blends all nutritional needs including: fruits, vegetables, fats and proteins as well as carbohydrates.
Because this project is almost entirely above 11,000-feet you can expect dinners to be a soup base. We have found that hearty, filling soups assist with ensuring you feel better, sleep better and maintain hydration. You won’t be hungry and we apologize now if you return to the trailhead a couple pounds heavier than when you began.
Allergy and dietary restrictions can be accommodated if we are advised in advance – like, when you register!
Gear and Equipment:
Volunteers are expected to provide their own camping and personal gear. Equipment can be provided with prior request – typically no later than 14-days before the trip start. A complete list of suggested items will be provided upon registration. Most, if not all, of the items needs are already in your closet.
Food and tools will be provided and packed in for you.
Registration is OPEN (maximum of 6):
Reservations are a first request, first reserve. Cancellation policy applies.
Although you are a project volunteer, there are costs associated with offering a week in the backcountry. Your $115 registration fee assists with paying for food, transportation of group gear and equipment as well as tool needs.
We ask that you reserve your space only if you are going to attend. There is no refund for cancellation in this work project. It is very difficult to fill recently vacated spaces, particularly within three weeks of the project start date when most cancellations tend to occur.
About Our Landscape – South San Juan Wilderness:
The South San Juan Wilderness covers more than 127,000 acres of spectacular mountainous terrain and offers high tundra, sweeping vistas and solitude. Elevations in the wilderness range from 8,000-feet to more than 13,000-feet.
Ages of volcanic activity followed by the infinitely patient carving of glaciers left the rough, imposing terrain of the remote South San Juan Wilderness, an area typified by steep slopes above broad U-shaped valleys cut sharply deeper by eroding streams. You’ll find high peaks and cliffs, as well as jagged pinnacles and ragged ridges, making travel difficult. Elevations rise as high as 13,300 feet. Thirty-two lakes, most of them formed by glacial activity, hold much of the area’s moisture and drain into turbulent creeks. The Conejos, San Juan, and Blanco Rivers have their headwaters here, and about 25 miles of the Conejos River has been recommended for Wild and Scenic designation. Erosion of rich volcanic rock in combination with heavy snowfall has produced ideal forestland, certainly among the best in the state. Forest ecosystems rise from the shadowy cover of magnificent lodgepole pine to aspen, then through Engelmann spruce and subalpine fir to alpine tundra. Much of the forestland has a peaceful, park-like quality under the trees where sun-starved undergrowth grows thin and low.
You’ll find some of the most exemplary backpacking in the state. A great bear was killed here in 1979, the last known Colorado grizzly. But rumor, extrapolation, and scientific evidence all join hands to suggest strongly that more grizzlies, if they still live anywhere in Colorado, inhabit the recesses of this rugged Wilderness, which many claim as the wildest left in the state.