HGRP - Trail Maintenance

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HGRP - Trail Maintenance

The crew (minus the photographer)

Location SE New Mexico
Author William Tucker
Date July 29, 2017

On Saturday, July 29, 2017, a large group of volunteers gathered in the High Guads for a long awaited High Guads Restoration Project weekend. I was assigned to lead a trip into a popular recreational cave for some trail maintenance. It seems that the trail flagging was in need of some repair and the Forest Service Cave Specialist wanted a new lock put on the cave. Devra Eve, Erin Vair-Grilley, Mike Mansur, and my lovely wife, Tammy made up the rest of the team.

We gathered our gear, after the meeting, and performed the necessary tail gate safety briefing at camp before setting out. We hiked from the camp to the cave with Mike in the lead. Mike was very familiar with the cave as were Tammy and I. This was Devra's and Erin's first trip into the Guads. We had no trouble getting to the parking area and finding the beginning of the trail; but, soon after we lost the trail in the brush and spent a little while trying to find it again. Mike whooped when he found the cave entrance, instead.

Mike volunteered to rig the drop; and, since he was familiar and he brought the rope, we all agreed. While the rest of us donned our gear, Mike geared up and went in to rig. He had a little trouble with the awkward rope in the tight passage; so, I went in to help after a while. Soon, we had it safely rigged and we each began to make our way along the traverse and down the 75 foot drop. We then took turns negotiating the last nuisance drop before removing our gear.

From there, Tammy and I used blue/while flagging tape to repair the trail along the steep slope. The rest of the team took several rolls of orange (since the rest of the cave is in orange and that is all we had) to work on the lower part of the trail.

By mid afternoon, we had used three complete rolls of orange and about half a roll of blue/white. We were careful to put the flagging where it was before. We pieced what we could and replaced what was missing or unsalvageable. We stopped to eat and rest at the lunch rock. Devra and Erin took turns climbing up to see some spectacular gypsum formations. After resting, we went on to check the trail back to the pools. It was in mostly good shape. We began making our way back toward the entrance at about 5:30 PM.

We finally made it out of the cave; de-rigged and coiled the rope; and replaced the lock at about 7:30 PM. We then hiked back to camp just as dusk was moving in.

It was a fun and successful day. I enjoyed it and everyone else seemed to as well.