Sunday afternoon (May 13 – day 3) I headed for Council Bluff Recreation Area (no, not in Iowa) to begin a week-long Volunteer Vacation with 3 other people, repairing parts of the 12-mile trail around the lake.
We stayed in the campground free of charge. The place was very quiet and mostly deserted during the week but got busy and noisy Friday evening, as expected. This was the longest I had ever camped in one place – 6 nights. We had no rain and decent temperatures, mostly. We all shared in the cooking and clean-up duty but I spared the others by mostly doing clean-up.
Here Tina, the crew leader, talks with Bill, our Forest Service host, about the work to be done. Our first 3 days were spent on a .6 mile spur trail that leads from the campground to the actual lake trail. There were many badly eroded areas on the slopes. We built a few drainage dips, removed berms on the outer edge of the tread, and regraded the tread.
Lisa and Michael G hard at work. Lisa brought two kayaks with her and Tuesday evening we all took them down to the lake to get them wet. It was my first time in a kayak, and I only paddled around close to shore for 10-15 minutes, but it was certainly interesting. I never rolled over but it required a bit of effort to avoid that. I also rode Lisa’s mountain bike – my first time on a bike in about 35 years. Thanks Lisa!Lots of nature to see. I took far more pictures of it than of people, but I guess that’s normal for me.
Thursday was our “day off” and we were invited by Bill, our Forest Service host, to participate in a stream clean event with him and many other rangers from other districts. We met at the Huzzah Valley Resort, got in our canoes, and floated down Huzzah Creek for about 3 hours. We gathered all the trash we could, even stopping on the large gravel bars to look them over. This was another first – my first time in a canoe. We only tipped over twice. My partner took the blame for the first and the second probably couldn’t have been prevented. I think I did pretty good and felt much more comfortable than in the kayak.
On Friday (May 18 – day 8) we moved to the south end of the lake, to the Enough boat ramp (named after an old town that is now under water). We worked our way toward the dam, lopping and pruning the brush along about 4 miles of the lake trail. With temperatures in the upper 80’s this became the toughest day of the week. We were all very glad to be done.
Saturday morning we all packed-up and left. The others headed for home but, still determined to make the most of my time in the area, I headed for Bell Mountain.
Michael, It was a great adventure! I’m happy you tried the kayak and mountain bike…. And, you did just fine. You can try the kayak, again, over at Lake Jacomo. I’m glad you came so prepared! Where is your next trip?
It’s still being planned but the next big trip will likely be in late summer and will involve the continental divide. I’ve been assured there are no whip-poor-wills there.