Wednesday, November 24, 2010

November 20 Trail Construction

Starting this morning on the roadside of the BRP. These seed puffs of goldenrod were dazzling!
We had a good turn out for a late November work day. Six volunteers showed up to continue the progress south from Goshen Creek.
Task force leader John Lanman organized the work day and distributed tools.
I've been collecting photos from trail worker bumper stickers over the years and plan to do a trail workers gallery of  memorable messages soon~

Today I will share a few steps about the process of cutting a trail tread. One of the most valuable tools is the mattock, sometimes called a Pulaski. In the photo above Don uses one if full swing mode. Notice his cut is along a straight line between the flags that have been placed for this section.

Much difficulty can be expected in the initial cut and pull with the mattock.
This cut is crucial and should be deep enough to cut through all roots that cross the trail from the upper edge.
The flat and broad edge of the mattock makes the first cut line as straight as possible between the two flags.
Here is an indication of the line cut and the length of the mattock.
Generally workers will take a section between flags and work from one point to the next in this order.
After a cut line has been made, the edge slice is pulled back with a fire rake.
Once raked back, indications of where additional digging and leveling is needed can be determined. This section has now been cut, pulled, and raked.
At this point the loppers come in handy. Loppers are used to cut roots below the tread surface, snipping the many fibrous and strong roots.
In this close up you can see the many hundreds of roots that may be revealed within a trail tread cut. It is not necessary to pull all of these up and remove them from the tread. These roots also provide stability to the dirt and upon compression made by walking help reinforce the foot tread. The general rule is if it is long enough to catch a toe of the boot it should be cut and removed.
A well cut edge is visible in this stretch. The grade of the foot tread is level and the surface has been raked.
James Jack is tackling a root that was large enough to be dug out completely on the other side of this fallen decaying tree.

Mark surveys his next stretch to be developed.

Lunch time, story time, memories and quiet reflection are a welcome break for our volunteers. From left to right: John, JamesJack, Gerry, Don, Mark, and camera man, Shelton were our volunteers today. Thanks all! Never underestimate the accomplishments of a dedicated few individuals!
This may well be the last colorful leaves of autumn. I was lucky to look up after break and spot this moment of intense sunlight on these few remaining maple leaves. It was pretty high up and I had to switch lens to zoom in and get this capture. In this quite, highlighted second I realized the final color of fall was making a transition into the grays and browns of winter.
And there is beauty and wonder to be found therein. As each of the seasons are but a never ending spiral of transitions, demise, and rebirth.

Here's wishing everyone a relaxing, rewarding, and thankful Thanksgiving holiday.
Thanks "Given" to all of our volunteers for their service.
Thanks "Given" for all the moments of wonder, beauty, and challenges provided in nature.
Thanks "Given" for the grace found in the giving.

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