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Cutca Valley Trail

21 May 1994 (Agua Tibia Wilderness)

By: Alan Coles

Leaders: Alan Coles, Charlie Knapke

At least for this trip no rain was predicted for the weekend although earlier in the week there had been a chance of it. Norm still did not have the trail flagged and was unable to provide transportation. I offered to do work on the Cutca Trail starting from the trailhead on the Aguanga/High Pt road. Norm provided tools which would be left with the Camp Host at Dripping Springs.

Only 4 people showed up at 7:30 at the campground: the 2 leaders, Gail Hanna and Catherine Rochmes from Santa Monica. Since we planned to camp at the trailhead, we took all cars except Catherine's up the road which was recently graded. There was one tough spot where we had to stack rocks to get Gail's VW squareback over exposed rocks. Gail nearly drove past the trailhead because it was difficult to find unless you were very familiar with the location. The grader had cut deep diagonal grooves on both sides of the parking area making it almost impossible to park perpendicular to the road. Brush has also overgrown the spot.

We quickly got to work. Charlie put the trail sign back up and the rest of us began clipping. The trail was actually in much better shape than we thought although there was plenty of work needed. Apparently someone has worked on the trail in the last 2-3 years. My new compound action clippers were especially useful on thick branches. Charlie's old reliable pair lost a handle and he had to use one of the stiff and dull ones from the Forest Service.

We took a break around 11:15 when we reached Cottonwood Canyon with its beautiful stream and deep shade. After lunch we worked our way up the trail and finally finished around 3 when we got to the old dirt road about 1 mile later. I took a short walk down the trail to the intersection with the Aguanga Trail. This valley is still very beautiful with fields of bright purple lupine swaying in the wind. It was a warm day but the scenery was surperb.

We returned to the cars around 4:30 and after a short poll was taken we decided to go home. Many thanks to all participants whose work is especially appreciated. We are planning more trips in the fall and spring. Please consider coming to one.

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