As anyone living in Colorado recently knows, pine beetle killed trees has resulted in a great many more dead trees in our Rocky Mountain forests. Combine that with the high wind storms we’ve been getting lately, and you are likely to encounter some deadfall across hiking trails.
The Jenny Creek trail is one of the most popular trails in the Eldora area, all year round. But particularly in winter, deadfall across the trail is a real inconvenience for skiers and snowshoers. Additionally, Jenny Creek is used to access the Guinn Mountain trail that goes up to the Årestua hut.
There are some mighty dedicated volunteers who help maintain this hut, and that dedication goes beyond the hut and even into helping keep the trails clear up to it, clearing deadfall every year. This was the case on this past Sunday, January 8, when Doug Young and Steve Priem took it upon themselves to cut three trees and several protruding branches on the Jenny Creek portion.
This required carrying in a chain saw, as the larger trees would have been difficult with just a hand saw. This is not a task recommended except for those with adequate experience and equipment, and I was asked to include this safety warning:
Chainsaw work in cold snowy conditions is among the most dangerous and is to be avoided when possible. Footing can be slippery, and snow can hide buried obstacles. Be prepared to be crotch deep in snow for extended periods of time and to get very cold. Bring thin ski gloves, plus warm winter gloves, as well as leather work gloves. “While working with a chainsaw during the winter, as always, wear protective apparel, such as chaps, hearing protection and gloves. In the winter, wood is even more likely to splinter, so use of a helmet and eye protection remains critical.”
More safety information can be found at www.stihlusa.com/information/articles/working-winter-wonderland
The following photographs illustrate the work that was done; photo credits to Doug Young, taking pictures of Steve Priem: