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Saturday, May 31, 2008

Drop Something?

Tom sent me a note the other day saying he went back out with the back pack blower and finished clearing the trail. It looks great. Also noticed some new waffle prints on the trail and it looks like someone got creative in the up and over department, as well.

Found Tom's clippers in the middle of the trail, just north of the bucket. I used them to do a little trimming and then carefully hid them.


The third stream crossing is looking nice and rides well, too. Made a little video of it and put it on the Snack.

Between the rocks is a deer print. Seems they like the trail, too!

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Sunday, May 25, 2008

More Stream Crossing Work

I was running a little late on Saturday morning and noticed that Tom was already parked at the Echo Valley Lot. I grabbed my tools and bushwhacked to bypass the ROW and found Tom. We started clearing the technical section that leads up to the Vernal Pool lookout.

Then we spent an hour at Via Roma trying to find alternative way for the horses to cross. I think we may have a solution but are going to need to lug the pry bar into the forest, and maybe even a hand truck to get at the rocks we need.

Then went to the third stream crossing and tiled in flat rocks on west side of the crossing. Hard to see in the shots below but it's done and should prevent further erosion though there.




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Anyone lose a chain ring bolt?


Found this at the third stream crossing yesterday while I was digging up the ramp to the crossing. When I got back to my house, I checked my bikes and nothing was missing.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Memorial Maintenance Weekend

I had originally planned to have a maintenance day this weekend but I removed it from the schedule because it was Memorial Day Weekend. It seems, though, there is a lot of interest to do some trail work this weekend.

Since I have a commitment at 11 AM on Saturday, this what I am proposing:

Any early risers, meet me and Tom at the Echo Valley lot at 7 AM. We are going to see what we can do to give horses a better crossing at the Via Roma due to the Trail Braiding that has already started. I want to finish what I started at the Third Crossing, shoring up the banks on either side of the crossing.

At 9 AM, Cindy Miller will be leading a group of people that will be clearing the trail. There are places where the woods needs to be cut back. I am thinking three to four feet to either side of the tread way.

Send me an email if you have any questions. eatsleepfish@gmail.com.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

More work on the Third Stream Crossing

Started tiling the southern ramp on the crossing with flat rocks. They need to be dug so they are not wobbly and horses can walk on them. It's a start and hope to finish the job on Saturday.


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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

First Trail Braid

Did a loop the Echo Valley Loop today which basically is ride up the Brody Road from the Echo Valley Lot and come back down on the Gussy Trail. There was another set hoof tracks and except for the third stream crossing that I know I have to fix, it appeared that the rider was staying true to the trail.

There was one digression. At Via Roma, the rider decided not to travel over the armored section and instead ride through the skunk cabbage above the crossing, which is not part of the trail. This will be very bad if this continues and it tells me that we either need to change the Via Roma so that it's narrower for just bikes to travel and armor just where the stream crosses, or we need to create a second armored crossing.

You many not be able to see it but in the picture below, just to the right of the tree in the left side of the picture you can just make out where the soil has been turned up.

Below, I am showing graphically where the trail braid is taking place. I have no problem armoring this point further and shortening the ramp, which is why I think the rider chose this route rather than the Via Roma, but we can't have this take place when someone doesn't a particular part of the trail, or for that matter if they can't negotiate it, make their own trail around it. This is called trail braiding.

Mountain bikers always say, improve your skill not the trail. From a mountain biking perspective, this crossing is sweet. It has many different lines to choose from and it's solid! What I have done below is to further identify the path of the trail with some logs that will hopefully direct riders in the future to stay on the trail.

However, in this case perhaps this crossing has too many wobbly stones that would scare off any horseback rider. Therefore, we probably need to make a different crossing point of the horses. A spot where the back is more compacted and there is little mud to be churned up. Maybe it's this point or further upstream. Looks like another thing to do on May 24th.


Sunday, May 11, 2008

Ramping needed at Third Stream Crossing

Rode through here yesterday and found the south side of stream crossing to be quite wet and muddy. Probably due to two things, we had a lot of rain on Friday and by looking at this side of the crossing, any run off will go straight down to the stream. So, two things need to happen: (1) grade this side of the trail to permit runoff to sheet diagonally towards the stream; (2) find some more flat rocks and armor the ramp.

The same goes for the other side, however it is not as bad. Might not have to go as high as the rocks covering that hole if one nice, big, flat rock could be found to cover that side of the ramp.

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Before and After: Third Stream Crossing

Scrounged up a picture from last month (above) where I decided to make the third stream crossing and then I wanted to show how it looks like (below) today.
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Saturday, May 10, 2008

Before and After: The Wet Spot



In case you are wondering where and what the Wet Spot is, it's the crossing through the drainage area that parallels the ROW. If it's still not ringing a bell, if you are heading north, at the end of the ROW, you make a little dogleg, ride through some evergreens and then hit this little rock garden.


A fine example of riding through there can be found on Cycle Snack: Upper Gussy Vid.

Before and After Shots

These were sent to me by Matt Jewett (thanks!) who came out on May 4th and really helped with a major section of the trail.

Section of the trail that leads down to the north end of the Double Cross

Now it's benched!


Looking the other way


Nice benching


Another perspective on the north side of the Double Cross

Which can be compared to the shot I took

Thursday, May 8, 2008

More rider feedback

More people are riding the trail and overall the comments are pretty good. The latest is from Nick, who helped out at the last Trail Building Session:
5/7: I rode the trail last night. I hit it in both directions. Nice job mapping it out. It was soft and lumpy but that will get better as it gets broken in. The stream crossings were solid. Lots of raking and benching still need to be done. The only thing that's missing is a couple of Drops and Log Rides. Hopefully those can be incorporated into the ride as some point. I look forward to continuing with the Trail Work.
Yeah, the fun stuff comes after the trail is built. When you ride the trail, you miss most of the fun stuff, or potential fun stuff, because your head is mostly down looking at what you riding over. When you walk the trail and see all the nearby rocks for rollers and drops, it's mind boggling!

Still waiting for some feedback from the Equestrienne community. They have been riding the trail based on all the hoof prints that I have been seeing.

Gussy Trail in the Danbury Newstimes


Monday, May 5, 2008

Sunday, May 4th Trail Building

Four mountain bikers showed up this morning. Matt, Ryan, Jeff and Wayne. Wayne and I have been going back and fourth on email and he said that he could get his riding buddies out for some trail work. I was hopping to see some more folks from NBLA, afterall many were saying that they couldn't do Saturdays, so here it was a Sunday yet no one showed up from their camp. At 9 AM I distributed tools and we headed out. We did work in two areas:

The New Stream Crossing - which is part of the re-routed section of the trail that I had been working on the past couple of weeks. While we were finishing up this section Tom (NBLA) and Rob (friend from work and a mountain biker) showed up. I had them go back and start prepping the Double Cross area.

The Double Cross - I call it because there are two stream crossings with 100 feet of one another. The northern most crossing turned became quite an engineering feet that started out with a little cribbing and turned into the construction of Hadrian's Wall. The other stream crossing started out with humble beginnings, too. We were going to armor the upstream portion of the crossing and make a quasi rock skinny on the down stream portion. After it was all said and done it now looks like a Roman Road, or in keeping with the Roman theme, Via Roma.

Three more people showed up while we working on the Double Cross. Cindy, Jim, and Nick. Nick found my blog and had been wondering when the next event was. His presence was a tremendous help and did an outstanding job on Via Roma. After we were done, around 12:15 we took a picture of the whole crew.

These crossings have been a major impedement of opening the trail and with their completion the trail is now completely open. Doesn't necessarilly mean that the trail is done, there is still quite a bit work in the benching department still needed to make this trail a sustainable trail. Trail building is not just about clearing, although that is important, it's really about building a path through the woods that can withstand the stress from different usergroups will put on it. That is why there is a lot of benching.

If you just cleared the path and let users continually trod/ride through, in places where there grades, you create streams when it rains which errode the treadway to the point where it will no longer be usuable and then you need to re-route the trail. That means more work. By benching these sections, you create a treadway that allows the rain to sheet off the trail to the side without getting any momentum to errode the trailway. Doing this also creates a harder surface that shed leaves easier, too.

Hope to see more people out for the trailbuilding. If we can keep this momentum up, the trail could easily be completed by fall. In fact, the next trail building day will be June 7th, for National Trails day. We will be meeting at the Pond Brook Boat Ramp off of Hanover Road. After the trail building session, there will be a BBQ provided by NBLA and CTNEMBA! Hope to see you there.
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Sunday, May 4, 2008

Double Cross pt I - Hadrian's Wall

This is the first part of the Double Cross. I call this the Double Cross because there are two stream crossings within 100 feet of one another. While scouring the area for flat rocks in order to the armoring I found that the smaller of the two streams is actually man made. There is a trench that was dug, which appears to have been done to drain the pond that sits east of this location.

There was benching north of the first crossing, benching done between the two crossings and then lot's and lot's of armoring. The northern most crossing started out with some cribbing up to the stream crossing and a little armoring job and then it grew into some mega cribbing on the scale of Hadrian's Wall.

Constructing the wall. Just about all the rocks around the original treadway were excavated

It just got bigger and bigger

The next couple of shots are of the benching that was done leading up Hadrian's Wall





There used to be just enough room to get by that big tree on the left but the guys felt that it should be a little bit wider

There was a lot of rocks moved and repositioned for this project

The final touches are put into place. Off to the left, Tom and Cindy decided that a go around was necessary because the surface to the left of the tree was too uneven from all the rocks that were excavated. Only, now there needs to be some more benching done there. Next time I suppose.
Now that's armoring a stream bed!



Cindy goes to work on a sapling that might be in the way of a horseback rider.

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