The good news is that the holes I was worried about last weekend weren’t tortoise holes but the bad news is that there are more tortoise holes elsewhere. The other bad news is someone stole my new rake, unless of course I misplaced it but I thought I left it leaning against a pine tree right next to the trail. Chris helped out today with flagging and clearing. I gave him a handful of pin flags and turned him loose. I took the gps and scoured the area and found several tortoise holes. After several reroutes I feel pretty confident we squeezed through the area and stayed far enough away from them but that’s assuming we found them all. If we have to abandon this area, it won’t be a huge deal and maybe we can work a deal to get some more trail in a tortoise free zone. We cleared (without raking) about 800 feet maybe and scouted out another 800 feet. It definitely gets thicker for a while. It should make some nice trail. Afterward we rode out the rest of the trail, then I dropped off the trailer and Chris and I did a lap of the old trail. Kinda fun doing the old school hiking boots and jeans ride. The old trail rides nice even on a fully rigid bike. Chris and I each got in 4 hours.
David volunteered to do some work on the trail on a rainy Saturday and we got a lot accomplished. My only concern is that we’re surrounded by tortoises. What I thought were holes where critters had been rooting around may in fact be small tortoise holes. I didn’t think they would be so small but Justin said they could be 4″-5″ across. I noticed several while we were flagging the trail but I didn’t see them as being tortoises because they didn’t have the apron around them. But then again the ground was covered in leaves so they may just have been hidden. Oops. I wanted to go check them out again today but I couldn’t get my chores done and my back was killing me. I think I pulled a muscle trying to free an ax that I got stuck in a log while trying to split wood for a bonfire. All is not lost though. I’m pretty sure a small reroute that cuts a couple of hundred feet out of the existing trail will fix the problem, if there is a problem. We managed to get the short cut built but after the tortoise concerns, I’m not sure I want to publicize it yet. We did ride the whole new section and it was pretty rideable, it just need some serious raking and lots of riding. It may have to wait until spring. We did find a cool looking truck axle/hub and an intact animal skull. 4 hours each for David and I.
I found more tortoise holes today, some tagged and gps’d and some not. One I couldn’t find even though it was on the gps. I guess the next 1000 feet I need to be careful and search the area where the trail goes. I also am thinking of temporarily connecting the two sections I’ve completed so that the trail can get ridden in some. There’s an old access road that cuts through this area that the trail crosses several times. It would be about a two mile addition. I need to check the tortoise holes in that area to make sure they are really there but it seems like it’s doable. The schnauzer and I got 600 feet done in 4.5 hours. I also splurged and bought a $7 rake to replace the $5 rake that broke. I could have bought a $4 handle but I felt like living large.
The Schnauzer and I knocked out about 800 feet today. David was kind enough to finish raking what I had cleared. All I had to do was go through and clean up some stuff I missed. I flagged to 2130 and ran across the tree stand Paul and I found back in 2007. There’s even a feeder nearby. I also ran across two tortoise holes. One had the metal identification pin but it doesn’t look like a tortoise hole, more like a fox hole because it went straight down instead of sloping. It was being used by something though. The other hole wasn’t tagged but it looked more like a tortoise hole. I gave it the benefit of the doubt and went wide around it. I managed to snap the rake in two after David’s valiant attempts to repair it. 4 hours for me and 1 hour for David.
The Schnauzer and I built a couple of hundred feet of curvy trail today. I felt like I was catching a cold this morning so I was moving slow and walking through the woods seemed like a good cure. We didn’t see any wildlife but there were horse hoof prints on the main road through the property. Thankfully there were none on the trail but there were several bike prints around. It was kinda neat to be out in the woods putting in pin flags and see other pin flags through the trees. I pretty much lose my bearings without the flagging and the gps. We got in 3 productive hours before we headed back. We stopped by the Juniper Creek bridge so the dog could get in the water and when we pulled up there were several kids and a couple of adults on bikes. While the dog was cooling off, they rode across the bridge and up the road. I walked up to the parking area and saw them hop on the Juniper creek trail. Oh well.
I broke my Gary Fisher frame this week. I can’t get it warrantied because I’m not the original owner. I’m now searching for a new frame to replicate the geometry of the Gary Fisher. It’s not as easy as it sounds. I resurrected the Santa Cruz so I’ll have something to ride at San Falesco and had a good ride on it yesterday. I don’t think the BOB trailer will work on it because it’s not a 29″ wheel but I’ll try it anyway. It may be to much torque on the suspension bearings.