2018 Backcountry Trail Debriefing Part 1


Welcome to the first podcast interviews from the 2018 Backcountry Trails debriefing.

New this season:

  • Music from debriefing! Hear some of the acoustic jams from Camp Mather.
  • Hear from former Backcountry Corpsmembers, including one you heard interviewed right here last year!

Listen here:


If you would like to share your trails stories, either as a podcast we could record together, or as an article with photos, contact me at either:

  • Email at: grinningdwarf@gmail.com
  • On Facebook at CCC: Hard Corps
  • Leave a message at this blog!
  • Leave a voice mail at 530-410-4683. I am pretty rural, and the call will almost definitely go to voice mail. Leave a message,and I will get back to you.



Hurricane Relief, Flood Fighting Center, and Backcountry Debriefing Preview

Today’s post is a podcast episode,


and in Episode #8, we hear about:

Two CCC crews dispatched to Florida to help with hurricane recovery. Click on these links to see further video on:

Fortuna Crew

San Pedro Crew


We also hear about the new Delta Center, the flood fighting center in Stockton, CA. Click on this link to see the CCC photo gallery on Facebook:

New Delta Center


Click on this link to find the full version of our show music by The Tall Pines, available as a single:

Boogie Pt. 1

And a few sample pics from debriefing:


Podcast 07: Upcoming Stories, and Bob Cox

Hey! a new podcast episode!

Come and hear about new stories to be coming up in the next few weeks.

Meet one of my CCC mentors, Bob Cox.

I also make a call for former Corpsmembers to contribute stories from their time in the CCC. If you are a former Corpsmember or staff with the California Conservation Corps and would like to share your story on CCC: Hard Corps, contact me at grinningdwarf@hotmail.com or on our CCC: Hard Corps Facebook page. You can post a message there.

Remember…every Corpsmember has a story worth sharing.

For the podcast:




Somewhere Over the Fogbow

A view from the trenches. Or rather, the beaches of Humboldt County. Join C1 John Griffith on a day on the grade with his crew eradicating an exotic invasive grass. Now that’s Hard Corps!

dunesAfter parking our big rig near the entrance to the gun club at Manila, I got out and went around to the back of the large truck to let my crew of ten California Conservation Corps members out. They seemed to move a little slower than usual, so I barked, “Let’s go! Put your gloves on and circle up!” Every morning starts out with a safety circle discussion, and I already knew this morning’s talk would need a motivational element as well.

From the circle of brown-uniformed youth, I looked up over many tall spruce trees to see something that can only be described as a fogbow. It was fog arched perfectly like a rainbow with an iridescent hue, and looked to be about two hundred yards long. I asked the corps members what they thought was at the end of a fogbow?  One young man looks at me cynically…

View original post 1,657 more words

Backcountry Trails are Underway

The 2018 Backcountry Trails season got underway in April. All 97 Corpsmembers from around the country assembled at Placer Center near Auburn for a week of orientation. Orientation includes the processing of people into the CCC and AmeriCorps programs and the issuing of gear such as tents necessary to get through the season. Corpsmembers also receive basic training in some necessary skill sets they will need to successfully complete the season.

Some of the crewmembers are already in the CCC before the Backcountry program started. Many others were hired through the AmeriCorps program. The AmeriCorps hires need to be issued uniforms and boots that the CCC members already brought with them from their centers. All of the Corpsmembers, however, get busy as soon as they arrive with sewing new Backcountry Trails Program patches onto their uniforms. The first step for some of them in melding into a new crew is teaching one another how to sew patches onto a uniform.

The Backcountry crews start the season in real Backcountry fashion–by sleeping out in their tents on the Placer Center ballfield. Sometimes it rains during orientation, and the Corpsmembers then find out whether they have chosen a good raised spot, or a low spot in the field that holds water. This moment can sometimes be a Corpsmember’s introduction to field craft.

At the end of the week, the six crews split up to begin their summer on the trail. They went to Yosemite and Kings Canyon National Parks, Shasta and Klamath National Forests, and Big Basin State Park. Two crews actually work in Yosemite. The crew that started in the Klamath NF will also spend part of their summer in the Stanislaus NF. The crew that stated in Big Basin will move on to the Inyo NF.

We wish all of the Corpsmembers and supervisors a great summer, and look forward to seeing them all at the end of the season debriefing in September.

Our Mission and My Story


I know it’s been quiet around here for too long. Let’s break that silence with a podcast explaining the mission of CCC: Hard corps.

I also realized that I’ve been asking Corpsmembers to share their CCC stories, but I have never told you mine. Part 2 of today’s podcast is my own Corpsmember Profile.

The featured image above is from my 1987 Backcountry season. Yosemite 1 and Yosemite 2 got together for a weekend in Tuolumne Meadows. We took the Yosemite Mountaineering Institute’s basic ropes course, and visited the ghost town of Bodie.

Click on this link for the podcast:


If you are a former Corpsmember or staff member of the California Conservation Corps and would like to share your CCC story on CCC: Hard Corps, you can send me an e-mail to grinningdwarf@gmail.com , or you can post a message at the CCC: Hard Corps Facebook page.

Enjoy, and stay tuned for more next week!


Flood Fighters are Born

One of the primary purposes of the California Conservation Corps is to have hand crews available for rapid response to emergencies throughout the state. As the fall rains come, signaling the end of the disastrous 2017 fire season, we are reminded that natural disasters can occur at any time of the year in California. With the rains come the threat of flooding.

California Conservation Corps crews around the north state have begun flood response training. Seven crews involving about 100 Corpsmembers from Redding, Chico, and Yreka assembled at a Redding CalTrans maintenance yard on November 16 to learn the essentials of filling, moving, and laying sandbags. The crews rotated around five different work stations to lean each of five essential skills to flood fighting.

There is more to sandbagging than you might think. The sandbags must not be filled too much, or they will not fit together snugly to build waterproofs walls. It might look easy to carry one of these properly filled sandbags a few yards, but when the demand is for thousands of sandbags to be moved as quickly as possible, and over a twelve-hour shift in the rain and wind, there are proper techniques to learn which will prevent injuries and keep Corpsmembers going through those long hours.
































Continue reading “Flood Fighters are Born”

2017 Klamath Backcountry Interviews

This week we hear from several members of the 2017 Klamath Backcountry trail crew.



All photos courtesy of the California Conservation Corps and the Backcountry Trails Program.

If you are a former Corpsmember and would like to share your story, contact us at grinningdwarf@gmail.com . We would love to weave your story into the tapestry of the CCC experience, because every Corpsmember has a story worth telling. Former staff are welcome to share their stories as well!

Thank you.

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