Aldridge Creek – 2015

From July 15-19, the Great Divide Trail Association partnered with the Hornaday Wilderness Society, the trail operator for the Aldridge Creek Trail. 18 volunteers worked to re-establish the trail from the Aldridge Creek trailhead to Fording River Pass, repairing and building trail tread, and removing brush and fallen trees. [Photos by Jean-Francois, Evan, Bill and Brad]

Bill from the Hornaday Wilderness Society

Bill from the Hornaday Wilderness Society

Smokey and Bandit (Bill's dogs)

Smokey and Bandit (Bill’s dogs)

A washout on the Kananaskis Powerline Road necessitated a last minute relocation of our basecamp but the new site proved to be even better.

Setting up camp

Setting up camp

Our basecamp (and the vintage GDTA badge)

Our basecamp (and the vintage GDTA badge)

Transporting water to camp

Transporting water to camp

Dan, our kitchen coordinator and camp chef, thought that ice cream would be a good idea on this year’s trip. But when all of the ice cream started melting on Day 1, everyone chipped in to make sure none went to waste.

Dan's ice cream

Dan’s ice cream

 

Tools of the trade

Tools of the trade

Making lunches for the work day

Making lunches for the work day

The stare down

The stare down

The lower section of the Aldridge Creek Trail was washed out in 2013 when a massive flood increased the flow of the creek exponentially. After the flood, only remnants of the original trail remained on the huge gravel floodplain.

Lower Aldridge Creek

Aldridge Creek floodplain

Our crew cleared boulders and debris and re-established the trail in the lower valley. This work involved the use of shovels, mattocks, saws and loppers.

Trail building on the floodplain

Trail building on the floodplain

Boulder rolling

Boulder rolling

A new crossing of Mud Creek was built, good for hikers and horses.

Building new trail

Building new trail at Mud Creek

New trail at Mud Creek

New trail at Mud Creek

The upper section of the Aldridge Creek Trail was overgrown with alder, often completely disappearing beneath the encroaching brush. Two Stihl brush saws and hours of sweat and hard work were needed to clear more than 3 kilometres of trail corridor.

Ready to tackle the alder

Ready to tackle the alder

Alder clearing with the brush saws

Alder clearing with the brush saws

Re-establishing the trail corridor

Re-establishing the trail corridor

The soaking wet trail clearing crew

The soaking wet trail clearing crew

We had expected it to take 2 days to clear the overgrown trail but it ended up taking 3 full days to re-establish the trail up to Fording River Pass.

Nearing Fording River Pass

Nearing Fording River Pass

Larch trees near Fording River Pass

Larch trees near Fording River Pass

On Days 2 and 3 of our trip, we were greeted by 4 happy thru-hikers, all excited to see us clearing and repairing what had been a notoriously bad section of the GDT. We met Gian and Laura on Thursday and Erin and Elizabeth on Friday. Check out Erin’s blog where she writes about her experience meeting our GDTA Trail Crew.

GDT thru-hikers, Laura and Gian (from Switzerland)

GDT thru-hikers, Laura and Gian (from Switzerland)

GDT thru-hikers Erin and Elizabeth with the GDTA crew

GDT thru-hikers Erin and Elizabeth with the GDTA crew

And at the trailhead we installed our first ever routered GDT sign!

The trailhead sign

The trailhead sign

Thanks to all of our dedicated volunteers who participated in this year’s GDT Trail Maintenance Trip. Your hard work and enthusiasm made for a hugely successful trip!

The GDTA Volunteer Trail Crew

The GDTA Volunteer Trail Crew

Special thanks to our sponsors for making our trip possible: The North Face, MEC, the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative, Stihl, Spray Lake Sawmills and Superstore – Thank you!

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