Great story. Good view of the effort required to build a trail from scratch.
Reminds me of my days in 1980 as a professional trail builder on PCT, the 9.5 mile Snow Creek section. Live in a tent, pack lunch in your daypack for the day, cook breakfast and hit the trail with your tools, Usually I used a pick to "pull tread" but often a bar and sledge when making rock switchback foundations. Sometimes I ran a gasoline powered Swedish rock drill to make holes for explosives.
Trudge back up to camp beside Snow Creek, rinse the dust off in a deep hole in the creek then have a cold beer retrieved from that same cold creek. Next I'd cook up dinner on my SVEA 123 stove. A hard life but in 1980 $12.90 an hour was decent pay.
At the end of the summer it was back to Pennsylvania to teach environmental studies in high school.