Basis North Installs a sign
On November 16th, 2019, 15 students from Basis North School left to help install a new sign on the Arizona Trail at the Cienega Creek intersection. This is the 5th expedition of the season, and the students were more than excited to learn how to help beautify the trail. The group had hiked here in the past, and now they have the chance to come back and make it better than ever. For the creek, the area was experiencing the wonderful fall colors that come with November. It was a beautiful day to get some work done.
We parked our vehicles next to the railroad tracks and unloaded the tools. Students found themselves staring at an array of tools, most of which had never used before. Pickmattocks, shovels, dollies, cement, and more. The students looked at them with a mixed expression of puzzled and excited. After the protective gear was equipped, we discussed how to use the tools safely, and what exactly we would be doing. The students were shocked to know we would be mixing 120 pounds of concrete and installing a large steel sign. We loaded water tanks and the concrete to the dolly, students held pick mattocks and shovels, and together we marched on the Arizona Trail.
The trail was steep and difficult to move heavy equipment down. Water damage to the trail and overgrowth made maneuvering the dolly extra difficult, and the students had to balance the tool just right. Many times the water or concrete shifted, and the group had to react quickly not to spill a toxic concoction. Through the difficulty, the group made it to the creek. Now the work begins.
We began by taking turns digging a narrow two-foot hole. Rotating each student for this took quite some time because most students had never used a shovel or a pick mattock before. It was a wonderful time for lessons and some students were quick to pick up the techniques. Finally, the hole was dug. Now a canvas blanket was laid out, and 120lbs of concrete were carefully poured onto it. We delicately poured gallons of water onto the pile and began to mix. Students each took a corner and began systematically lifting their side, folding the concrete until it was completely mixed. Once it was so, the metal sign was placed in the hole and the concrete was carefully poured in around it. Dirt was dumped on top then covered in leaf litter and debris.
The installation was textbook. The students did a fantastic job, and their pride beamed from their smiling faces. The sign will allow people to successfully locate the trail after hiking through the creek. This was difficult before considering the previous sign was a broken carsonite marker. Now a wonderful steel sign stands securely next to the creek bank. The group never thought they would be mixing concrete and doing such intense work, and all of them are so grateful for the experience. This sign is nearly permanent, and it is a guarantee that that sign will be there to greet them for the rest of their lives.