Where’s The Trail?

The trail disappeared. First fire now water. The storms must have been brutal in northern Santa Rosa county. The trail disappeared under a blanket of pine needles and oak leaves. The fire torched all the pin flags so it’s very difficult to find the trail. It was bizarre being out there with no point of reference and no landmarks. I thought I knew the trail like I would know an old friend’s voice on the phone. Nope. The creek at Bob’s Canoes, Coldwater, was the fullest I’ve ever seen. It was up in Bob’s yard on the south end of the bridge and full past the north side of the bridge. I bet it was about 10 feet from topping the bridge. Juniper Creek was well over its banks. I drove down to the two bridges and they were submerged. The creek was up to the old railroad bed, I think. I was surprised to come across a pond at the bottom of the hill but the ground is so porous it had to be the creek.

Steve volunteered to help out today so I signed him up. We got there at 9:00 and geared up for the long trek to the cutting edge of the trail. Someone stole the lock and chain off the gate so it was hanging open. The rain had washed down the road like a small double track river so it was soft and sandy in some places and hard packed in others. We hopped on the shortcut trail and I had some difficulty following it. When we got to the new section it had vanished. No hint or clue. I followed it as best I could but there wasn’t much to follow. Finally we gave up and shortcutted down the hill. It took us an hour to get to the point of beginning. It must have been awesome out there during the storm.

I put Steve to work with the lawn ax while I lopped some and then went in search of pin flags. I pin flagged quite a bit and lopped it out while Steve chopped away. Six hours later we had knocked out about 1000 feet of trail. It was informative seeing how the water sheets down the hill and then channelizes to form a gully. I routed the trail as best I could to prevent any water from forming channels. Fortunately it doesn’t rain like that often. I worked Steve like a rented mule. He chopped all day while I lounged with the pin flags and the loppers. There’s about 1800 feet to go but it will be slow due to the density of the woods.

Last Sunday Dale, Ed, Dan, Dustin and I hopped in Dustin’s family truckster and went to Oak Mountain. A wonderful trip. The weather was perfect and the trail was in prime condition. The only mishap was Ed’s tire blowing in one of the CCC ditches on the long gravel road climb and Dale doing a core sample on Blood Rock. He chipped a nail so he was at the manicurist first thing Monday. Ed repaired his tire and the ride continued. We did maybe 25 miles. Ed double dog dared us to climb a paved road with a incredibly steep grade, maybe 20%, before we even got warmed up. Since I was on the single speed I hit it hard while everyone else grannied it. Slackers. It wasn’t long but it was steep. I was a shaky mess for the next half hour. I made Blood Rock even after seeing Dale go over the bars. After a nice snack we climbed back up the way we came down. Only Ed, Dale and Dan had the desire to ride back down the trail. The Purple Onion was  kept in business for another week with our food orders. It was epic. We all rode well. The ride home was a snooze fest. I thought i was driving the senior’s bus back from the bingo parlor. I tried getting David to go and he was on board but the weekend before got rained out and he couldn’t make it Sunday so maybe next time.

Favorite song this week: “Furr” by Blitzen Trapper. If you’ve got a dog or want to escape, this is the song.

Listening to: Moondoggies.

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Here’s my winter mix cd:

White Winter Hymnal    Fleet Foxes
Between the Bars    Elliott Smith
White Daisy Passing    Rocky Votolato
Go First    Damien Jurado
Furr    Blitzen Trapper
Casimir Pulaski Day    Sufjan Stevens
Waltz, No. 2 (XO)    Elliott Smith
Dry the Rain    The Beta Band
?    Frightened Rabbit
Leviathan, Bound    Shearwater
I’m Amazed    My Morning Jacket
Black Cab    Jens Lekman
Bye Bye Bye    Plants and Animals
The World Come On    The Dandy Warhols
War On Machines    Blitzen Trapper
Century Eyes    Shearwater
?    Okkervil River
Black Shoe    The Moondoggies
Look into the Sky    Joseph Arthur & The Lonely Astronauts

Published in: on March 29, 2009 at 5:41 pm  Leave a Comment  

A Little Rain

I bailed on Oak Mountain and Saturday trail work because the chance of rain was 90%. I went up today at around 10:00 and I got a good hour in before the rain started. I learned my raincoat is useless because in half an hour I was soaked. Then the lightening started so the Schnauzer and I headed back to the car where we sat for half an hour until I couldn’t stand the smell of wet farting dog. We drove around some until the rain eased off. There’s a nice gravel road off of Sandy Landing Road that we drove for a mile or two. I’ve ridden it on my bike before and it’s beautiful scenery and great hills. Anyhow we went back to the trail and managed to get in another hour before the rain drove us away again. We managed to flag and lop about 600 feet of very open trail. I was looking for things to go around and trying to flag it so I wouldn’t have to cut anything unnecessarily. It’s barren and on a nice 8-10% slope so the trail does a nice meander that eventually becomes a switchback at the bottom.  I’m sorta worried this area may be to sandy but it’s an area that could be sacrificed if need be. I think we have about a half mile to go but there’s some pretty thick brush to cut through. It might be done by the middle of April. 3 hours and a wounded dog paw.

Published in: on March 15, 2009 at 4:24 pm  Leave a Comment  

Hot and Dry

I flagged almost all the corridor and I cut 600 feet of trail. It was hot and dry today. Almost to hot for the dog. A good rain would help pack down some of the soot. I got a $15 rake and 200 pin flags. Next weekend is the Oak Mountain trip.

Published in: on March 8, 2009 at 7:33 pm  Leave a Comment  

Fire!

Woody emailed me last week saying the DOF had a prescribed burn on the property. I had been prepared for them to have one in the fall of this year but I guess they had some time to kill so the burned the bike trail. I managed to sneak out Sunday to take a look and it’s pretty cool. Everything has a sepia tone to it and visibility is twice the distance it had been. Where the trail was raked the fire skipped over and in places where it wasn’t raked very well, the fire burned through. Bummer though that all my pin flags, maybe 300, were melted so the trail might be sorta hard to follow now. The storied rake is a cinder also. I wish they had burned several years ago because it’s going to be easy cutting trail now that all the understory is cleared out. It should be beautiful out there once the spring weather arrives and all the new growth sprouts.

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Published in: on March 2, 2009 at 5:02 pm  Comments (1)