July 18, 2015

Steve Long and I had been discussing some problems he saw with the Iron Pipe Trail near the Cowcatcher Bridge.  Something about long, deep, water filled ruts.  This weekend we went up to check out the problem spot and try to figure out what to do next.  Access would be from the Yellow Birch close point.  I knew of a couple of bad spots on the singletrack near the close point, one of which could use 2 or 3 boardwalks to cover a hole that has been there, like, forever.  Steve volunteered to build a couple of boardwalks and haul them up for the weekend festivities.  There was already an extra boardwalk left over from a previous weekend sitting at “Andy’s Cabin” that we could use if we needed a third one.

Steve brought his daughter Kylie (13?) or this work weekend and I wondered how that was going to go.  Turns out she helped some and kept herself occupied the rest of the time.  She didn’t mind getting dirty and seemed to be having fun so it worked out great.

We used Steve’s trailer and ATV to haul stuff down the Yellow Birch and out to the spot, which beats my kludged up dragging rig any day.  It was another good day for the knee-high rubber boots as we proceeded to lay 2 of the boardwalks into/over the first problem spot.  The fix was quick and easy and Kylie found a frog to play with.

We then headed to the “real” trouble spot, the rut near the Cowcatcher.  It was in a spot that already had several boardwalk and wire deck fixes.  For some reason this spot never really seems to dry out.  The rut was long (~100ft), twisty and ugly.  Steve started in digging a trench to let some of the water out.  Wow!  It was surprising how much this helped.  Old boardwalk that had been floating was left high and almost dry.  I made a mental note to bring  in some drain tile (perforated tubing) to put into that trench to keep it from silting up later.

After sizing up the “main rut”, we walked down the trail and noted a couple of other spots with smaller problems.  Steve found another spot to dig a trench so we went at it again.  This one worked out well too, with the added benefit of us finding some old wire decks that were placed when the trail was routed a few feet away in the distant past.  I made another mental note to make sure we “harvest” all of the wire decks that might be hiding in the weeds at that spot at a later date.  It seemed to be another good spot for drain tile tubing too.

We did what we could at this site and started to head back.  On the way, we stopped at another problem spot near the close point that to fix just needed some major brushing for about 10 yards.   We had time and the equipment so we went at it until we were satisfied that riders could easily avoid the rutted corner there.

It was a successful days’ work.   Now – how to fix that long, ugly rut…….?

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