Sunday, June 3, 2012

Jake Mountain

Today was National Trails Day!

If you never work on trails, today was the day to do it.

Last year SORBA did a bunch of advertising and got a crew of about 50 people out to Bull and Jake Mountain. This year, we had a decent turnout, 25 people or more, but only 5 of us were mountain bikers. 6 if you count Isabel. Sophie had a birthday party to go to so she didn't make it at all. The mountain bikers seemed to have other commitments this year. The big work party seemed to be going on at Green Mountain. Coldwater Mountain in Alabama had their grand opening too. Maybe next year.

The vast majority of the volunteers present were CTHA members. These guys are dedicated. They seriously deserve these trails. I say "guys" but the work parties are almost always led by Debbie Crowe, THE most dedicated volunteer I know. Maybe one day I'll live up to half of the example she sets. Maybe. Even half would be a tall order.

The USFS was on hand for the festivities today. Valencia made some announcements and thanked everybody...


...Judy was filming everything, John brought the Ditch Witch. They all followed us out on the trail later too and swung the Pulaski for a while.

We had a bunch of crews going out to a bunch of different locations. One crew ran the Ditch Witch down the Bull-Jake Connector out to where they'd had to stop last year. Another took a brush hog up to the north end of Black Branch. One crew of sawyers cut out some problematic trees. The Stronger Cyclist got his chainsaw cert recently and dragged his saw all the way up to the top of Bare Hare to hack out some serious deadfall up there. Probably should have sent someone with him actually... In retrospect. I led a ground crew out to do more finishing work on Jake.

We had an impressive array of tools at our disposal.

 CTHA Tools

I should have got a photo of the Ditch Witch and the saws too. Dangit.

Debbie gave the safety briefing: circle of death, bees and snakes, drink, don't overwork yourself...


Man, I've really got to get a new Otter Box for my phone. Mine is so scratched up that it's impossible to see what I'm taking a picture of. Between shadows and lens flare... it's just no good any more.

I took Isabel, Eddie, a pair of CTHA guys and a couple of guys I'd just met today up to the north end of Jake Mountain. The crew with the brush hog had a semi-confusing map and first turned off on 28-B before figuring out they needed to be up the road a bit. There is a single property out at the end of 28-B and we had like 15 cars parked there at the intersection, looking over the map, when the guys that own the property just happened to drive up, needing to get by. What are the odds?

We hiked out past last months work, the end of which was identifiable by some rock armoring that we'd done.

 Armoring From Last Month

Which was looking exactly how I'd hoped it would: dry, despite yesterday's rain and steady rain all week, but otherwise looking much like the rest of the trail except for the rocks barely poking through the surface and the cascade of rocks armoring the downslope.

I did a couple of demos for the camera and for the benefit of the new guys. The work we did was pretty standard stuff. We debermed and nicked. We got the water off the trail.

 Finishing Work

The soccer ball got a good workout. The soccer ball does what water would do. If it rolls off the trail, water will too. We checked and double-checked our work.

The CTHA guys were experienced and they got a lot done. Eddie, of course, knew what he was doing too. The new guys picked it up right away. We got a lot done. More than last month, I think. We've finished about 2/3rds of the trail from the intersection with Black Branch to Jones Creek. One more work day ought to do it.

Isabel has these eye drops that we have to put in her eye every 2 hours right now so she set various alarms on my phone that surprised me every time they went off. "What the heck!?" It was funny. At least to me.

Two groups of equestrians passed us and a smaller group of mountain bikers too. I knew all but one of the cyclists. Isabel is convinced that I know all North Georgia cyclists and I think I just proved it to her even more today.

We knocked off at 12:15 and hiked out. The hike out is taking longer and longer. I guess that's a good thing though.

Back at the Jake lot, a massive spread awaited us.


Turkey sandwiches, provolone, chips, apples, and my all time favorite of all time... Watermelon. I ate watermelon until I couldn't eat any more. Man, I love watermelon.

Stephen never showed back up after cutting out the tree on Bare Hare. It was apparently a ton of work and it took quite a while to get down off the trail. I finally managed to contact him around 5 or 6. Thanks a ton man. Next time we'll send someone else up with you.

On the drive home, me and Isabel noticed a fire burning along the road on the other side. Two guys had just stopped and were starting to stamp it out with their feet. I actually had fire rakes in the back. We spun back. The fire had burned a stretch of about 80 feet down the side of the road but it was only still burning on either end.

We put it out, got going again and jeez, what the heck? Less than a mile down 400 there was another fire burning. I've never seen a roadside fire before and today, on the day where I have multiple fire rakes in my trunk, we see two. We spun back again and me and Iz put it out.

I actually ended up stepping on a spot that was still burning and Iz was like "Dad, you're standing in the fire." It was good that she said something because I was wearing nylon REI pants and they tend to melt rather than burn.


So, just in case you don't know this already... Don't throw your still-lit cigarettes out the window on a dry, windy day. They set the grass on fire and it burns and burns and burns.

No comments:

Post a Comment