After 14 days in the field my feet are tender and swollen like ripe fruits. Pressed gingerly into mountain boots the soreness fades quickly. Its 4 a.m., and the first glow of the sun has not yet touched the horizon. Descending the talus from tent to basecamp the smell of percolating coffee and mule manure permeates the air. Coffee in hand, I prep my pack for the work day.
4 liters of water, Goretex rain pants, Mountain Hardwear Rain Shell, 2 pairs of leather gloves, 2 pairs of polarized safety rated glacier glasses, climbing helmet, USFS BK Radio, 27 AA batteries for USFS radio, Spot Device, Iridium Satellite Phone, spare battery for Sat phone, 4 liter First Aid pack, Icebreaker merino base layer, Kavu wool sweater, extra pair of Smartwool socks, 2 energy bars (preferably Honey Stinger), First Lunch, Second Lunch, Snack, Pentax K5 DSLR, Sigma 30mm fixed lens, Tokina 28-70mm zoom lens, Pentax 15mm fixed lens, 3 spare camera batteries, Pentax AF360 flash, spare SD cards,intervalometer timelapse computer, coffee thermos.
Our work on San Luis this year is unique in its specific focus on Wildeness preservation. The least frequented of all the fourteeners, San Luis remains truly wild. Unlike most CFI projects we’re not here to correct the damages of over use and excessive erosion, but to improve the design before any of these threats can become an issue.
USFS Peaks Manager Loretta McEllhiney has spent the last four years exploring the Stewart Creek basin with biologists, botanists, archeologists, and many other experts to determine the most sustainable, practical and scenic route to the summit. The new route has been marked, the construction notes written in foot by foot detail, and over the course of the summer we will build the new trail.
We start before dawn to mitigate lightning concerns. Thunderstorms occurr on a near daily basis at this altitude. Already we have seen rain and lightning 6 days straight.
The new trail alignment runs primarily through dense willow stands on the northeast flank of the Stewart Creek Drainage.
Every Willow cut from the new alignment is trimmed, bundled, and prepared for replanting in the closed restoration site.