If it weren’t for arranging a carpool with Bob Costello for yesterday, I never would have made it to the trail day. Saturdays are my designated sleep-in days, as are Sundays, but I had to drag my butt out of bed at 6:30 a.m. so I could meet Bob at 7:30 a.m. in Sterling Heights. We made a donut run and headed up to Addison Oaks to begin our day of rerouting a washed-out, fall-line trail.
This corner is the transition from the grassy connector to the new trail.
After figuring out where the new trail work was being done, I walked to the beginning of the newly-cleared trailed, stole a mattock from someone, and began benching. Nick Shue came along and showed us where the riders would be coming from and asked us to bench out that corner from the existing, grassy trail leading into the new trail. I got to work. It took a while. I knew what I needed to accomplish, how I would want it to flow from a riding perspective, and began sculpting the trail. It wasn’t until I had finished the first round of benching and stepped back to assess my work that I realized what I really need to do.
I benched out the inside of the turn to make the corner more level while still encouraging water drainage across and away from the trail. Pete Kresmery came along and helped me finish the corner, mostly by widening the outside of the turn where it came into the new trail. He then stole the mattock from me and took off. My heart broke a little with that loss.
This is the trail that we camouflaged. This is the view that bikers will see as they enter the grassy connector (the grass is going to disappear) to the newly-cut trail.
Nick led Marty and me to the place where the old trail needed to be closed and a transition to the new trail needed to be created. We smoothed out a new transition from the old trail onto the existing grassy trail (the grassy trail wasn’t part of the original mountain bike trail, but it is now a short connector from the old trail to the newly-cut trail, so transitions were created at both ends of this grassy section).
We then took on the task of masking the old trail that was rerouted. Nick dug a hole and stuck a large tree that was cut down earlier into this hole. We packed rocks, dirt, and sod into the hole hoping that it would hold this tree up for a while. Bob and I dug a couple of smaller holes and planted some branches in these to create the illusion or smaller trees. I then grabbed the limbs and bushes that were cleared from the new trail and placed them on the old trail with the leafy ends facing the direction of the trail from which the mountain bikers would come. This brush created the illusion of bushes. I think we did a good job camouflaging the trail. This is the first step in trail reclamation. Another volunteer broke up the old trail path with a pulaski to further discourage riders from using it and to allow plants to seed and grow on that path.
This is the closed trail from the grassy connector. The rider’s back will be to this area. You can see the broken up trail on the right side of the picture.
We had a really good turnout for this trail day. Nineteen motivated and happy mountain bikers showed to diligently work: Nick, Marty, Di, Pete, Mark S., Chris, Jeff, Assam, Andy (the Moosejaw guys), Dave, Rodney, Mark M., Paul, Steve, Pat, Katie, Aaron, Shari, and Emma. Thanks to Bob for compiling this list of names.
A bunch of happy mountain bikers diligently worked on the mountain bike trail reroute.
I assisted with camouflaging the top of the closed trail, but my last project was to create the transition from the new trail back into the good part of the old trail. This was much more difficult than the first transition because the ground had many more of those stringy roots that like to grab the blade of the mattock preventing a nice bench. I spent more time cutting out roots than actually benching, but I eventually finished the job.
I felt that more benching needed to be done on the section leading up to that transition, and some people definitely made the effort, but had the same challenge as I with the roots and couldn’t perfect it in time for lunch and the finish of the trail day.
The new trail leads into the transition located at the bottom of the photo and the top of the hill.
Of course, you can’t do a trail reroute without updating the map. Steve, who seems to be the unofficial CRAMBA cartographer, surveyed the trail with his GPS. He went home to work his magic creating the new Addison Oaks mountain bike trail map.
I can’t exactly remember how the name of the new section of trail came about, but I know it has to do with it being a longer climb. One also has to question the name, “Fine Grind,” when it comes from a group of avid coffee drinkers.
Steve, the unofficial CRAMBA cartographer, surveyed the trail with his GPS.
I haven’t done a trail day in probably two years, although I had lots of practice when I created some trails on my dad’s property. It was nice to be able to finally show up and use the little that I do know. I also decided that I need to get a mattock because I really do enjoy building trails.