Aug 10 & 11, 2013

There was lots of trailwork that needed to get done this weekend in order to meet the Enduro deadline and volunteers really stepped up.  Dave Anderson and Rob Hammerlund went off to Dave’s Section and did stuff, I know not what, but I’m sure was needed.  I’m also sure they have some tales to tell.

My Saturday crew of Ron Palm, Roy Fleming, Mike Enstad and Pete Caron got the un-enviable task of blasting through two super screwed up clearcuts (Harlis-west end, Hungry Bear-north end) and re-setting bridges and boardwalks.  It really helped to have the crew in the Hungry Bear cut as we ended up making the alignment quite a bit longer than I had envisioned when I assessed it the weekend before.  I’d say many hands make light work but, the work was anything but light.  We even had to shovel down a berm that the loggers put in that blocked the trail.

The Harlis clearcut reconnect was short but man was it piled with logs and treetops and such.  You should have seen the wood flying and heard the chainsaws humming with 5 guys on the task.  There are several logs that we couldn’t move ’cause they were stuck in the ground so deep.  I can’t say I’ve ever seen guys so willing to stick their chainsaw chains almost right down into the dirt.  Nobody killed a chain.  I didn’t realize that we have such skilled trailworkers.

The next workspot was at the north end of the Wilderness Trail where the boardwalks and one  the bridges needed to be reset.  We had to disconnect the boardwalks from each other and pull out some staking just to get going.  Then we flipped up the boardwalks and did a bunch of shoveling to get them sitting level and lined up just so.  It was dig, flop down, tip back up, dig some more, etc… until it looked right.  The setup looked pretty darn good when we were done.

To be honest, I wasn’t sure we could manage to reset the cockeyed DNR bridge (the one without the boardwalks) there.  One end needed to be lifted and the bridge needed to be slid about 4 feet west in order for it to get back up onto the creek bank.  I had two 4 x 4 timbers that we used to jack up that west end.  We gave the bridge a mighty tug with my Kodiak (in 4WD with the front diff locked) and it moved!  Low and behold, a little digging and a few more jerks with the ATV slid the thing right up to where we wanted it!  It was then just a matter of resetting the little ramp attached to the east end and moving some dirt around.   We looked back and admired our own work on the way out.

While working on the bridge, we got some help from a passing ATV rider.  A group of dirtbikes rode through the spot while we were working on the boardwalks and not one stopped to even say thanks for working on the trails.   There’s a lesson to be learned there and, if I knew what it was, I would tell you.

We actually got all of this done by 3:30 and, because everyone but me was driving all of the way back home, we called it a day.  Pete vowed to come back the next day and strap the boardwalks together.

Roy, Mike and later Dave stopped at the Tavern for a beer and a chat.  It was nice to have some time left over in the day to be able to just sit and talk about the Enduro and such.  That’s more rare than you would imagine.  Everyone was dirty and tired but was feeling optimistic about the Enduro.

John Otto showed up on Sunday morning.  John was actually EARLY, which took me back a bit.  So we hung around until the 9:00am meeting time to see if any unscheduled workers showed up.  Didn’t happen.

Sunday’s job was to brush and clear two ~0.1 mile legs of trail and build and install a 12′ long bridge.  We both had weed-whip style brushcutters, so I started on the far end of the first leg and John started on the near end.   By the time we met in the middle, Pete showed up and he had a chainsaw on his back.  That was PERFECT as there were a good number of logs to clear and it was time to get that done.  We finished that leg and moved over to the second one.  Needless to say,  there was plenty of noise in the woods with two brushcutters and a chainsaw all flailing away at the same time.  We got the second leg done in short order.

It ended up being pretty easy to drag the bridge materials in as we could almost ride to the bridge site with our ATVs.  After a few trips to the truck and back for tools or materials, and plenty of negotiations regarding just how the work should get done, we had our nice new bridge in place.  We finished the job by blocking off the sightlines to the obsoleted trail segments.

It was just about 2:30 when we got done and, with an eye towards all of the “mowing” that needs to get done before the Enduro, John and I went off to “mow” the clearcut in the Harlis Bypass, he with his Kombi Tool with a weed whip attachment and me with my brushcutter with the hedge trimmer attachment.  Talk about hard work.  I did the left side and John did  the right.   He was a bit faster than me and I could cut thicker brush than he could.  John ran through three tanks of gas and I ran through two.   I actually didn’t quite make it to the end with my last tank of gas but the last 20 yards looked pretty good with just the right side done so we called it.  It was a good walk back to the ATVs and a bumpy ride back to the trucks.  We were done and loaded by 6:30 and were feeling that we had gotten a substantial amount of work done.   I slept the sleep of the dead last night.

After all that I’m looking forward to next weekend!  I pick up my brand-new DR Brushcutter tonight.  The new “beast” is hungry….