Project: Hidden Villa - Los Altos
Photo Albums: Long Bunny Loop
On Saturday, December 2, Trail Center completed its first work day at Hidden Villa open space and farm on a portion of the Long Bunny Loop Trail as it parallels an Adobe Creek tributary. We were lucky to have a very strong turnout of about 28 volunteers, including many teenagers.
We had a cool, overcast day for pleasant working conditions. The area of the Long Bunny Loop we worked on weaves among bays and oaks, with occasional openings for more shrubby vegetation. Fortunately, there was only a small portion of poison oak.
The key goals for this work were to replace deteriorated retaining and step structures, improve switchbacks, general tread widening, and brushing. This was also an opportunity for several crew leader trainees to put their recent training to work.
Bill Farrell’s crew focused on replacing two retaining walls totalling 24 feet at the first switchback in the project area. Members Dave K., Frank H., and Lucy made short work of the first wall and did a great job installing and filling in the tread at the second one, before moving on to other tread improvement tasks a bit downhill on the other side of the creek. Bill noted a couple additional places in this stretch that could use more retaining walls.
Crew leader trainee Helen Shaughnessy, backed up by Larry Stites, worked with a very enthusiastic group of high schoolers and one parent to tackle the next two switchbacks. They needed to restore the width of the landings and tread throughout. This involved a lot of dirt hauling to avoid sending the soil onto Bill’s area below. They also trimmed back some downed logs and removed debris that had narrowed the trail.
Hank Magnuski oversaw the next section, joined by Woody Collins and several other experienced volunteers. They did lots of brushing and cleaning of the inside edge to bring the corridor back to a more comfortable width.
Lianna Jewett, a trainee buddied with Hank, and assisted by Jerel, led another crew of teens. They carefully brushed back a section that included some poison oak and performed a lot of tread improvement in their initially assigned area and then further up the trail. Later Hank’s and Lianna’s teams decommissioned a steep shortcut across a gully by scarifying the trail and adding logs to discourage further use of that path.
Karl Mosgofian, in his first outing as a crew leader trainee, focussed on rebuilding a set of steps that had been overtaking by slough filling them in on one side and erosion on the other. Crew member Tom Morse, who knows a thing or two about step construction, and another volunteer not only replaced the planned 9 steps, they also built them with returns that will better hold the soil and then had time to replace an additional 3 steps to finish out the whole course. We were grateful that Jesse, a Hidden Villa staff member, was willing to run up additional materials to this crew and others throughout the day.
Finally, Scott Farnworth, a crew leader trainee and Hidden Villa staffer, led the third group of teenagers (who were out for their second TC project) and a parent, along with experienced volunteer Melissa. Their team was able to construct about another 32 feet of retaining walls at the uppermost section of the site along with doing some tread work. In this area, Woody ended up trimming back some rock and doing a bit of stone work to make a gully crossing more easily navigable.
This was a really satisfying start to working with Hidden Villa to help maintain their trails. We appreciate all that the property management team of Wes Mills, Jesse Dolan and Scott Farnworth did in getting the materials purchased and staged close to the site to allow the crews to get working quickly. We also acknowledge March Sidel, who did a walk-through with Judd to help prioritize projects and get agreement on the work with the stakeholders at Hidden Villa. We look forward to returning in the coming years to giving more love to the Bunny Loops and other trails that Hidden Villa identifies.