Sunday, October 3, 2010

Jones Creek Ridge Trail

The girls and I got up early today for the CTHA work party up at Bull Mountain. We met a bunch of folks at the Jake lot at 9AM.

 Work Party

I hadn't planned on making this particular work party - today's my Dad's birthday, and we'd be out riding if he was in town. But he ended up back in Dallas this weekend, and that freed up today pretty well.

Last month I was the only mountain biker, but this month, Eddie was recruiting hard, and we had a good showing. Eddie, Dave Greenwell, Tim Winters, Ken Williams, a guy named Jack who's last name I didn't catch were there. Jason and Andrew from Mulberry Gap met us about an hour later. Ken brought his daugher Mari and I had my girls too.

Tim drove his awesome Bronco.

 Tim's Bronco

Me and Mark Baldwin covet that truck.

Some of the CTHA folks were going to ride the trail, replace missing Horse/Bike markers and add extra nails to the ones that were still intact. The girls couldn't stop looking at their horses.


The last time we rode horses was in Pine Mountain last year, and they haven't really had any close-up horse time since then. They were enthralled.

Debbie's dog, who's name I can't remember even though I said it five hundred times, was also enthralled, with my soccer ball.


She's a ball dog for sure and I think I made her day by letting her fetch it 10 or 15 times. Dogs bite soccer balls though, and I didn't need holes in mine, so I didn't want to do it too much.

We broke up into 2 groups, caravanned over to the old game check station lot, broke up into two more groups and continued on, up to the Jones Creek Trail, picking up where we left off last month.

Our crew leader was a different Jack, of the CTHA. He'd go up and mark where we needed to work, and we'd follow up, as he worked back toward us. We debermed, nicked and even made a few rolling dips.

 Our Handiwork

Each structure got the soccer-ball treatment.

If it failed...

we worked on it until it didn't.

At least most of the time. If you could roll the ball 4 or 5 times and it would only go past the drain once, we considered that good enough, given that water doesn't bounce or get stuck on sticks or pine cones, there were more drains below and we were deberming and nicking the low spots.

It's funny, the ball knows all. Some of the most IMBA-proper, this-should-totally-work looking structures needed more work and some of the most yeah-that-took-about-30-seconds-to-build looking structures worked perfectly, every time.

Iz and Sophie played with Mari and just helped out by rolling the soccer ball for a while, which was really all I expected them to do, but eventually Iz realized she could do what we were doing, grabbed a fire rake and started raking. Of course, Sophie didn't want to miss out on the fun.

 The Girls, Slangin' Dirt

Before long they were making an actual, material contribution. We'd dig and loosen with the shovel, pulaski and mcleods and they'd rake or shovel it downhill while we rolled the soccer ball. Someone was always working.

Near the end, Mari was even raking and shoveling. They weren't as productive as the guys, but it freed us up to do other things, and sometimes just gave us a little rest.

Two sets of two riders on horseback came through while we were working, which fascinated the girls. They just never get to see anything like that, and they were pretty well amazed.


The horses were a little unsure at first, they're not used to a bunch of people just standing on either side of the trail like that. I could imagine the inner horse-monalogue: "What's going on here? We're just going to walk through them? Uh... ok. I guess. We'll see how this goes... I'm not so sure about that one with the axe-thing. What do you call it? Pulaski? Yeah, that looks like an axe."

We got a lot more work done today than last month, and every drain was tested.

Lookin' good.

Our crew leader had to bail at 1, so we headed back then. We really need to bail too. We blazed home, took 30 minutes to get cleaned up and re-dressed, and continued blazing down to ATL proper to hit the reception for a photography exhibit Kathryn had gotten into. Turned out she didn't just get into it, but won Best in Show, with a photo of Isabel.

Except for a few leftover cold symptoms, it's been a really good weekend.

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