A common thread of all of the primo venues is that somebody had to build the trails or help make existing trails suitable for the bike and somebody has to do the maintenance to keep them ridable. It seems like magic to most of us that bridges appear over muddy sloughs, flat rocks arrange themselves in line across small creeks, trails get rerouted around mud holes and drainage structure pop up in problem spots. In riding at Camp Robinson lately, I had noticed that the trail elves had been hard at work. A washout on Christmas Tree Extension was replaced a well thought-out drainage system. Trails all over the system have been shifted to avoid the worst of the winter's mud holes, rocks have been hauled and placed and more bridges and ramps are appearing. Folks, this stuff ain't magic. It's the result of the hard work of individuals who have taken it upon themselves to make difference for the benefit of the rest of us. I ran across some of these guys as I finished up a ride at Camp Robinson on Saturday. First, I came upon Lane (I apologize for not getting his last name) loading up a wheelbarrow with rocks for a trip into Ten Bridges Trail to add some bottom the many sloppy stretches of that often-wet trail. If you've ever had the pleasure of pushing a heavily loaded wheelbarrow, you know that it's simply hard labor and most of the trail work at Camp is done miles from any vehicular access. Then, back at the parking lot, I found Bryan Shipman and his crew of young trail builders preparing to haul in a new bridge structure for a particularly troublesome stretch of Outer Loop.
This drainage structure was recently built by Lane near the entrance to the Christmas Tree Extension trail, and includes collection system, a drain pipe and outlet, and a rebuilt trail surface over the top. Such work is vital to maintain the ridability of the trails. Just walking in requires a significant level of commitment.
Bryan Shipman and his crew prepare for the haul-in. The beams were strapped to a wheelbarrow frame and some cross members were tacked on for the trip. The rest of the cross members, cut to length, were loaded into the backpacks and carried in by the young men.
Special projects require special tools, like Bryan's bridge hauler.
I wrote awhile back about my experience on the Sylamo Trail system near Mountain View. Devastating ice storms closed the entire 50 mile system last year. This looks more like a commercial timber operation than trail clearing, but force of mostly volunteers has cleared the whole trail system in what had to be a massive effort.
The purpose of this article is to serve as reminder of our good fortune in having such great riding resources and that those resources don't come easy. On top of the trail building, outfits like CARP deserve our gratitude for working with the Camp Robinson administration to regain access to the facility in the post 9-11 world. Other individuals and groups have worked to gain or keep access to a number of local venues.
To all of you, thank-you. As much as I've been enjoying the trail lately, I owe you a little shovel time.