Coronado Youth Corps at Butterfly Trail

On May 19th, 2018, the Coronado Youth Corp set out for another work day on Mt.Lemmon. We were asked to help repair and restore sections of Butterfly Trail, which is a connector route to the Arizona Trail and is a beautiful detour. This trail is on a northern slope and is lushly smothered with vibrantly green foliage. Hiking through here can make one feel as though they were hiking through a tropical forest, making it a popular destination for those escaping the hot valley below. Particular sections of this trail have been washed out by a series of storms, trees have fallen over the path, unauthorized trails have formed from bushwhacking trips to climbers’ crags and other scenic places. Our goal on this day was to fix the washed-out portion, close unauthorized trails, and do general maintenance and rehab.

Our hike started off steep and down-hill. We identified areas that needed support but continued hiking. Our plan was to find the major rehab project, then work our way back to fix the issues along the way. At one point we came across a very steep trail that climbers, adventurers, and those who get lost find themselves on. The soil was loose from people sliding down it, and at the bottom were treacherous logs and debris that make ankle rolling and body falling prevalent. To keep the wildlife and hikers safe from injury and getting lost, it is important to close these trails. Those who need them will still use them, those that don’t will be safe from unexpected risk. We did not stop for long, as our main project was still ahead.

Finally, after some good hiking and project identifying, we arrived at a which was considerably washed out. The group then split into two, with one hiking back to the off-trail and the other staying to begin work. At the offshoot, the group began by addressing the drainage that had formed as a result of overused off-trail hiking. We dug out the trail near the lip, the built it up using rocks and logs to reinforce it. Once the trail was lifted and stabilized, we ventured below and began dragging massive fallen tree logs and branches onto the trail to disguise its previous use. It was over an hour of hard work, heavy lifting, and creative engineering, but finally, it was hard to tell there was ever a trail here. We hiked back to the rest of the group out of breath, covered in dirt, and ready to add reinforcements to their project.

Rock bars were well on their way, blasting out rock. Pick-Mattocks were cutting the hillside to make more room, and to provide plenty of dirt. The plan was to widen the trail and lift it nearly two feet. This requires dozens and dozens of massive rocks placed to provide a platform. Entire fallen trees were sawed in two to act as barriers and walls for our boulders, and hundreds and hundreds of rocks that were debris from the rock bar work were raked and place to create a flatter stable trail. Bag after bag of loose dirt was dumped on top to act as glue and hold. After hours of hard and intense work, we build a beautiful trail that all could safely use. To think that a previous condition existed hours before seemed like a crazy notion. Every student was covered in dirt, only their faces had clear streaks of dried sweat that left paths of white salt. It was a massive accomplishment for this team.

We hiked the steep trail back, taking from us all that we had left. At the top, a watermelon was split, Gatorades opened, and cookies passed around. Sugar, salt, and substance were what we all craved, and this was the perfect combo. It was a day of seriously hard work, but work that proved to be rewarding. All of our previous work and experience was paying off, and large and technical projects were now within our capability. It was a perfect day, under gorgeous fauna on a beautiful trail we helped enhance the trail and the experience for all that use it. That is what the Coronado Youth Corp is all about.