WTA Baker Lake BCRT May 2015

Volunteer Trail Work with the Washington Trails Association on the Baker Lake Trail

May 28-31, 2015

I joined eight other volunteers for a 4-day trail work trip with the Washington Trails Association . The Forest Service boated us from the Swift Creek boat launch to Noisy Creek Campground, saving us a long hike. The lake is a dammed section of the Baker River.

It took two trips to transport nine people, tools, and camping gear.

Lou, our Forest Service pilot, and Terry, our volunteer crew leader.

Noisy Creek Campground is deluxe, with picnic tables and fire pits.

I pitched my tent about 30 feet from the lake. I fell asleep each night to the murmuring sounds of waves and frogs.

The view of Mt. Baker from camp.

View from camp.

The throne room of the mountain gods.

Noisy Creek.

Noisy Creek bridge.

Hanging out in camp after working all day. The weather was idyllic! Warm and sunny every day. And no bugs!

Our daily commute along the lush Baker Lake trail.

Tools of the trade include grub hoes, pulaskis, shovels, and rock bars. We carried the tools to the job site and stashed them at night.

This section of trail had slumped until it was nearly vertical. Our job was to make it flat again. We started by removing the overgrown vegetation.

Clearing vegetation and resculpting the trail.

Removing rocks with a grub hoe.

We placed large rocks to anchor the outer edge of the trail.

Rock wall to stabilize outer edge of trail. Uphill is a ditch to drain water away from the trail.

Finished trail. We filled the trail with rocks, then topped it with gravel, and a layer of mineral soil. Both were carried by buckets from wherever we could find them in the woods.

The finished trail

We then moved on to a dozen or so smaller sections of trail that needed attention. This big rock was blocking more than half the trail. We pushed it off and it shook the ground like troll footsteps as it bounced down and down and down the hill until it hit the lake with a distant splash. Very satisfying!

No more rock blocking the trail.

There were lots of flowers blooming. This is bunchberry, a small plant in the dogwood family that develops clusters of red berries.

This enormous Douglas fir tree is affectionately known as Big Doug. It's one of the biggest trees I've ever seen.

Waiting for our boat ride out, with my new friend Debbie.

The landing craft arrives.

As we headed back across the lake, the weather began to change. What perfect timing!