Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Camp Robinson News

Snow has shut down cycling in Central Arkansas for all but the hardiest few. I consider myself to be quite hardy when it comes to riding in the cold and have done some mountain biking in snow with mixed results, but I'm just going to whine this particular weather event out. Before I resigned myself to puppies and long walks at sunset, which is a romanticized paraphrasing of "walking the dogs at dark", I headed out to Camp Robinson Sunday afternoon to get a prestorm ride in and to assess the trails. I rode out Airport Loop and over to the "site formerly known as the Christmas Tree" and did a little hike-a-bike across the clearing to hit the Christmas Tree Loop. I probed Xmas Extended and soon ran into clear cut, so I turned back and rode over to Dogwood and rode it back toward the old parking lot until I hit the harvest area. Here is some good news from C.A.R.P.'s Gary Lamb on trail restoration. Dogwood is supposed to be the first trail to be restored and it should be pretty easily done with some heavy equipment or a day's work for a small crew of manly men with a chain saw and rakes.

Most of the trails still live.

This is the big cut that slashed through much of the upper trail system. It covers some ground,  but most of the trail mileage remains intact and will be reconnected to the trail head with time.

Dogwood Trail

 About 100 yards of debris is all that has to be cleaned up to reopen Dogwood Trail, marked with the yellow tape. My understanding is that the Guard forestry folks are going to clear this stretch first to open access from the regular parking lot. Once that is done and Christmas Tree is reconnected to the Center Road, things will flow much better. As for trail conditions, they were excellent on Sunday. The few muddy patches were frozen nicely and it was cold enough that my water was freezing up in the tube from my CamelBak if I didn't drink regularly, but most of what I rode had been cleared and the surface was perfect. All bets are off, now. It's likely to be sloppy for awhile if not frozen, but the upper trails should ride well. North slopes like the entry to Outer Loop and Ball o Nails may still have significant snow for a few days.

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