I built a temporary bridge out of a 2×12 plus some bracing for the erosional ditch. It’s about 10 feet long and maybe 50 lbs, more than I wanted to carry through the woods. David volunteered to help me haul it so I strapped it on the roof of the 4Runner, grabbed the bike, picked up David and headed to Blackwater. Luck was on our side since I knew the combination to the first gate and the second gate was unlocked. We managed to drive within maybe 100 yards of the ditch. We dragged it through the woods and had it installed within an hour. I didn’t stake it in the ground because I don’t know if it will pass the safety test. Then David did some hole filling while I debated on whether to cut out the little oak tree or leave it. I left it and cut a small trail around it. The tree is a little to high for me to hop over but I bet someone could. We were back at the truck and doing laps by 11:00. We did a lap just to check out the trail, then 2 consecutive laps at a good pace. Then we had a quick lunch followed by another slow lap. I was tired by the end of the day. David and I got in 2 hours each.
When we were getting ready to eat lunch, a tractor came driving down the dirt road followed by four dogs. When the lady saw us, she whipped it around like she was running away but she stopped. She was just out collecting pine straw for her garden. She came by to talk to us and it turns out she works with Mike G. She also owns the donkey I’ve heard braying along with an alpaca. She seemed nice but it wouldn’t surprise me to find donkey and alpaca footprints on the trail soon. Some signs will be posted shortly after.
The phase 1 section of trail has gotten much faster, even the sections I was going to work on are now doable. The leaf litter makes it slightly slippery but I was able to keep my speed almost the whole 1.5 miles. The phase 2 portion is not so easy which is what I wanted. It’s up hill for quite a ways with several momentum killers thrown in. It flattens out a little but then after the bridge it’s back up hill again. I had to stand to climb due to the roughness killing my speed. There’s one more uphill section that winds through a pine forest that’s also kinda tough but once it flattens out, it’s fast. There’s one log crossing then it’s a shortcut back to the dirt road. It’s on this shortcut that I built a skinny out of a fallen pine tree. That was my project for today along with smoothing a bad section on phase 1. The shortcut is only temporary so the skinny wasn’t built to last and it probably won’t since it was mostly rotten but I think it will work for a few months. When I got done smoothing the rough spots, I collected pin flags along the established sections of phase 1. These I used to pin flag the trail along Redrock Road. I got about 2000 feet flagged but I need to go back through it to check some tortoise holes.
Something that’s amazing to me is that here in town, everything is starting to leaf out and the dogwoods are in full bloom. Up there in the forest, it’s still stark and leafless an the dogwoods are just starting to bloom. It’s hard to believe there is that much difference in climate. The schnauzer and I got 4 hours.