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of travel, and to obtain greater scenic attractions, the stipulated route should be changed at certain points, which will be discussed in order.
1. From Grouse Meadow, which lies on the Middle Fork of Kings River, near the mouth of Palisade Creek, the official routing of the trail is specified as: “Thence easterly, up Palisade Creek Valley and over the pass between the waters of Palisade Creek and the drainage of the south fork of Kings River." No old trail exists over the pass in question, although a rough trail ascends Palisade Creek from its mouth to the mouth of Cataract Creek.
Following a conference between the State engineer, Forest Service officials and representatives of the Sierra Club, when the status of the trail work previously done on the route up the Middle Fork of Kings River from Simpson Meadow, by funds furnished by Fresno County, the Sierra Club and the Forest Service, was explained, no work was planned up Palisade Creek, since it was impracticable to get an outfit there from the Owens River country, and impossible to move the trail crew at work lower down on the Middle Fork, up to the mouth of Palisade Creek. Later, the situation not having apparently been understood, the matter was taken up in detail by correspondence, and the State engineer authorized the continuance of the work on the Middle Fork trail, as preliminary to the work which would finally be undertaken from the mouth of Palisade Creek, east. Eventually the route over the pass at the head of Palisade Creek may be constructed. It has seemed to the Forest officers, however, since a good trail already exists from the South Fork of Kings River up Copper Creek, over Granite Pass, down to Simpson Meadow and thence up the Middle Fork to within 1/4 miles of the mouth of Palisade Creek, that for the present at least the existing trail spoken of should be improved, and the new trail from Cartridge Creek to Palisade Creek should be finished. It will cost less money, so far as we can ascertain with certainty, to put the trail through to Palisade Creek than to put a trail up Palisade Creek and over the pass at its head at an elevation of 12,500 feet. Granite Pass, on the lower trail, can be crossed earlier in the year than would be possible on Palisade Pass, and the lower trail takes the traveler from Palisa de Creek down the magnificent cañon of the Middle Fork, across a spectacular gorge near the mouth of Cartridge Creek, and into splendid camping for man and beast at Simpson Meadow. The travel is varied, far more than would be the case if the route over Palisade Pass was followed. With available funds somewhat limited in amount, keeping in mind the comparative maintenance cost, and with the desirability of making a long connected piece of safe trail for the least expenditure of money, it is recommended that the Palisade-South Fork unit be dropped from consideration until the balance of the work has been completed on the entire project.
2. The second material change recommended is toward the northern end of the trail. The present route from Agnew Meadows to Thousand
SIERRA CLUB BULLETIN, VOL. X.
Building suspension bridge over Piute Creek near Pavilion Dome
Trail Near Seldon Pass, North of Blaney Meadows
Photos by Paul G. Redington
Island Lake leads through average mountain country. If changed as suggested it will take the traveler by the shores of three of the most picturesque lakes in the entire region (where splendid fishing of golden trout will be possible in 1917), and will give him a close view of the Minarets and Mounts Banner and Ritter. The expense to put this trail through will not exceed that necessary to establish a trail on the other route.
METHODS OF WORK
Supervision. The Middle Fork of Kings River unit of this year's work was supervised by District Ranger Roy Boothe. He went in at the start, visited the project again with the supervisor from August 5 to 9, when the work being done was inspected and a reconnaissance of the proposed route of the trail from Palisade Creek to Muir Pass was made. He went again, in October, to help bring the crew out.
The Muir Pass-French Cañon unit was supervised by District Ranger Frank Price, and during a large part of the work Assistant Ranger Mark Cathey was with the crew. Price was on the job three times, working himself for over a week with the men. The supervisor visited this project in the latter part of July, going over the route from Blaney Meadow to Muir Pass. Later, in September, he inspected the work being done and went over the proposed route of the trail from Blaney Meadow to the head of Fish Creek. He had in previous years gone over the route from Reds Meadows north to Island Pass.
Deputy Supervisor Jordan, in September, went over the proposed route from Reds Meadows to the head of Fish Creek. With the exception, therefore, of the stretch from the mouth of Palisade Creek to the pass at its head, the entire route of the trail within the Sierra Forest, as outlined by the State Engineer, has been gone over, and the situation ahead is thoroughly known to the supervising officers.
Crews. Two crews were employed, one in the Middle Fork of Kings River, the other on the Muir Pass-French Cañon unit. Number of men in crews was eight, including foreman and cook. Wages paid foreman, $3.00 per day and board; laborers, $2.00 per day and board; cook, $60.00 per month and board. The foremen selected were men of experience in handling crews and in trail work. The foreman of the crew in the Middle Fork of Kings River, Sylvester Dehl, was chosen because of his experience also in rock and powder work.
Transportation. The men walked to the job. Materials and supplies were taken into camp on pack animals. Informal bids were obtained from packers prior to start of work and lowest price accepted. Prices, $1.00 per day for pack and saddle horses; $2.00 per day for packer, one packer taking care of six animals. Each animal packed a minimum load of 150 pounds. The schedule of travel was determined by Forest officers and the packers were paid for the schedule time.
The proportion of the packing charge on a job of this kind to its total cost will always be high on account of distance from supply points. Supplies. Formal bids on all supplies and materials needed in connection with the job were obtained prior to start of work, and supplies were purchased in accordance with the specifications of the accepted bid. The tools, equipment, etc., were, upon completion of the season's work, cached in safe places convenient to the start of work for another year. The food supplies were practically all consumed.
Trail Specifications. Tread, 30 inches minimum width. Plenty of turnouts provided in dangerous places. Grade in no case except under extraordinary conditions exceeding 15 per cent. The exceptions so far as noted were extremely few.
Where grading work was done, ample clearance for packs was made in cuts, and in timber country six feet clearance between trees was obtained. Trail was placed, so far as possible, out of the way of slides, in order to decrease cost of up-keep.
Monuments or trail blazes were placed close together, in no case more than the distance of a chain apart. Generally all prominent trees along the trail were blazed, the standard blaze of the Forest Service, which consists of one long blaze with a notch above it, being used. In the country above timber-line, monuments of large size were placed. Boggy ground was avoided as far as possible. Sufficient overhead brushing was done to allow of clearance of rider on horse of average height. Care was taken where trail traversed slick rock to chink crevices closely.
Powder. The powder used on the Middle Fork of Kings River unit was Hercules 40 per cent; that on the Muir Pass-French Cañon unit was Trojan 40 per cent. Next year it is planned to use 60 per cent powder in the hard-rock work.
Bridges. One bridge, that across the mouth of French Cañon, was built. This bridge is one of the most important features of the entire project.
Recommendations. It is recommended that if we continue to work another year, we be notified at the start of the work of any overhead to be charged against the season's allotment by the State Engineer's office.
It is also recommended that all checks for labor be sent to the addresses of the individuals listed on the payrolls, or if this is not feasible, to the Forest Supervisor at his official address. This year checks were sent in one instance in care of the man who happened to have signed the payroll as acting supervisor. He was on leave, and delivery of the checks was delayed until the rangers felt it wise to avoid the neighborhood of the men who had money coming to them. In a sense the Forest Service, in having field charge of the work, is looked to for payment, and delay therefore is blamed to the field officers. This is not fair and can be avoided next year by following the above recommendation.
We shall keep in mind the State Engineer's suggestion of obtaining outfits from the east side of the mountains. The feasibility of this is