May 2, 2015

Next weekend we plan to raise the State Line Creek Bridge up to a level a bit higher than level with the historic creek banks.  Because I had other trailwork to do this weekend and my enclosed trailer couldn’t possibly haul all of the timbers, lumber, tools and ATV that will be needed next weekend, I hauled up 30 6″ x 6″ x 8′ timbers this weekend.  Rob Hammerlund and I met at the Duquette Store early this morning and headed out to the Bearhunter parking lot.  The plan was to haul 5 loads, 6 timbers at a time, on my ATV trailer.  Not only are the timbers heavy, but they had to be loaded such that the trailer had almost no tongue weight.  The first load actually slid back a little on the way out causing the whole rig to go into a huge tail wag when I hit the right combination of bumps.  It got so bad that twice the trailer overcame the ATV and sent it into an instant jackknife.  Whew!

On the fourth load I got about halfway there and the cast bracket that the trailer hitch ball is attached to broke in half!  So there we were with 6 timbers halfway there, 6 more to haul from the truck and no a good way to couple the trailer to the ATV.

Turns out it is easy to haul two timbers on the ATV, so we made short work of the ones that were on the trailer when the hitch broke.  After some discussion we decided that, since Rob had his basically empty pickup truck, that we would haul the last 6 timbers to just above the bridge in it, and then haul them two-at-a-time down to the bridge with the ATV.  On the drive back to the parking lot we hoisted the little trailer into the pickup’s box and hauled it out.  Problem solved.

This is the year when the “Enduro Only” trail, originally put in to be public trail, could finally become public.  With the hauling done, it was time to load up the ATV with new signs, signposts, hardware, post pounder and post puller; take down the closed signs, put up the new signs and “open ‘er up”.   So we spent the next couple hours doing just that.  We were short two directional arrows but otherwise finished the job.  This effort started in 2009 and went through a lot of hard work, long discussions, bearhunter mischief, twists, turns and anxiety on our part and the DNR’s; so you can imagine how gratifying it was to finally be able to call this project complete.

The last task we worked on was to try to improve the alignment of a new segment of trail that is going to connect the OHM/ATV trail along the Net Lake Road north to the Matthew Lourey.  The last flagging and alignment that I submitted to the DNR used a segment of a proposed Hunter Walking Trail, which I wasn’t surprised to find out was a problem/concern of the DNR’s.  I told them that I would try one more time to find an alternate alignment (this was my fourth scouting trip for this segment).  Rob and I rode out there and started walking through the super thick and scratchy brush (we were both in short sleeves on this hot day).  Oh, did I tell you that the wood ticks were out in force?  Uh yeah, they were there cheering us on.

After spending a couple of hours wandering around in many areas where IMO no human should ever go, I came to the conclusion that there is no other sustainable way to route that segment except to use that chunk of Hunter Walking trail.  It’s a small chunk and it is the “tail” of a long trail, so maybe the plan will fly.  It’s going to be “call and discuss”, then “wait and see” with the DNR.