Gillespie Gulch Cleanup - 2005

by Adam Mehlberg
Photos by Adam Mehlberg

On May 21st we had a good turnout for the Gillespie Gulch Cleanup. Darrel Turner, David and Linda Tedder, Ray Comeau, Greg Elkins, Mike Moore, Greg Beery, Bill Boitano, Don Owens, and Gordon Howe all showed up to do a bit of cleanup, of all kinds.

The start of Gillespie was in good shape. There were some camp sites that needed a bit of work. Just below the intersection with Owens Flat road the culvert that crosses Gillespie Gulch was plugged up. All of the water was flowing down the road and it was cutting large ruts. We began our work by trying to find the culvert in the sediment. It didn’t take long to realize that we were going to have to dig down a bit to find it.

Darrel used a cord he had to make type of angle gauge to guess at the alignment of the culvert. It appeared to be right under where Greg Elkins was working. About a shovel blade deep we still had not found the other end. A flash light was used next to see back up into the culvert. It once again looked like it would be under where Greg Elkins was standing (he had moved since the last guess). We lengthened our search trench. Still nothing. A few more checks of the alignment by different people were in order. Each time it looked like we were right on top of the other end. We just kept digging down deeper hoping to hit it like some buried treasure.

We must have been over two feet down by the time we hit the old steel culvert. The digging then moved to finding the end of the pipe, which didn’t take long. It was plugged with sediment and a few larger rocks. Dave removed as much of the material as he could and then we let some of the water in to see if it would flow through. Luckily there was not a plug further in and the water began to come out the other side.

Once we had flow through the other end, the diversions we had built to keep the water out of the hole were removed sending the small creek back through the culvert getting the water off the road. The higher flow really cleaned out the culvert after a bit. We put most of the rocks and dirt back into our trench along side the road and placed rocks along the side of the bank and around the culvert to reduce the chance of a repeat.

Our group moved up the road and did what we could with another spot where the culvert was completely grown over. We got a lot of the water off the road here, but some still continued down one of the tracks. This culvert needs to be replaced some day to get the water back into its channel.

We had lunch at the Black Rose mine where Eric Steenburn found us. He had been up on Nugget Hill with some of his Geo-caching friends putting in a cache. After lunch Eric headed down to Jamestown and we headed up to the base of Nugget Hill. At the saddle Ray Comeau decided to drive down "The Rock". Once headed down you have to go quite a ways in order to turn around. After a long wait Ray was headed back up, and easily made the climb over "The Rock". It was getting late in the day so we headed back down Gillespie rather than try to get everyone down "The Rock". We could have ended up spending the rest of the afternoon up there.

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