TSF: Saddle Up - Trail Closure
Due to rock harvesting operations in the hillside...Saddle Up is now Closed Indefinitely.
These operations were not only done earlier than scheduled, but also led to the trail being scraped and filled in for heavy equipment transport.
Myself and others have met with Jahmaal Rebb from ODF, to make an assessment on the current trail condition and discuss ideas of how to move forward from here.
There is a company that is doing drilling and blasting in that area for a little while as a rock pit continues to be developed. Once the blasting is complete Jahmaal will evaluate the trail then determine how urgent a re-route is needed. A few of us have thrown our hat in the ring to aid in the design process of the new trail, when the time comes.
What we are planning so far... is more broader modifications to the trail as a whole, rather than focusing on just the upper trail and hill climb that is now filled in (and fractured due to recent blasting - hence the closure.) There will be a new trail center line and routing, sediment traps, irrigation and so on. We hope to come up with a well planned design that sets saddle up apart from the other trails and makes it more of a focal point at TSF. The current black diamond rating will be kept, and it has also been decided to attempt a tie in with Firebreak 5.
This rebuild of saddle up will not be done in a day, but we are hoping to have flags placed for rough trail outline, and direction by February, before a replanting operation takes place.
The actual rebuild will be done so that it is low maintenance and sustainable.
It was always a fun hill climb in every condition :). Mahalo for the notice.
As I mentioned before, there was a company doing rock harvesting near the hillside adjacent to Saddle Up. The contractor in charge of blasting the hillside to harvest said rock filled in the hill climb to move the blast hole driller to the top of the hill. Here's how it looks now for people who are familiar with what this trail used to be:
When they blasted they de-stablized the whole hill and now there is a large crack that runs along the left side of the trail.
It is because of the large crack and subsequent smaller fractures (causing a potential for harm to the public) is why Saddle Up is closed to ALL traffic. There are boulders stacked at the entrance on the hill climb side and a huge log at the other now....the hill climb is filled with gravel anyways, making it more of a driveway than anything now.
This is the new area we have available to us to make the new trail. We will be cutting a completely new trail. We will be keeping it single Black Diamond and Double Black Diamond. The trail will be built in 2 parts. This side being the more pressing trail due to the current hill climb being taken out of comission. and another section to tie this side in down to the top of FB5, to be completed later.
We just received the TOPO maps and plans from Jahmaal and will be putting together outings to route and flag the new trail. This will NEED to get done soon, because reforestation crews will be coming in at the end of the year to replant the hillside. and we need to have the new route at least flagged by then so that they can plant around it. We have a whole lot of work ahead of us, a lot of walking and marking and walking again. This will not be an easy task but I believe we have enough manpower and support to complete this rebuild.
I will continue to update this thread as we move forward and as things progress.
Mahalo for the updates, I just passed by the trail yesterday and saw that the entrances were blocked off by large boulders and trail closure notices were posted.
Update - 09-01-12
Today myself and two other gentlemen from NAXJA surveyed, hiked, and then marked out the new path for the future Saddle Up....
We met up at Rogers day use area for a quick staging and to double check on any fire restrictions and trail/road closures.
There were some inmates cleaning out the latrines there, and of course an ODF worker, so we briefly asked if he could verify if the Beaver Dam Rd. closure was still in effect (they had made it one way traffic for a logging operation that was going on) ...he radio'd in and it appeared as if we were in the clear, so we made our way all the way up to Saddle Up.
We brain-stormed for a little while, and decided we'd use the Orange flags we brought to mark the center line, and the pink ribbon to mark the outer edges of the proposed new trail path.
We then got right to work.
We picked this location for the new gateway into Saddle Up. (see the little Orange flag on the stump? its right of center in the pic...)
That will be the middle of the new entrance.
You can see the old trail entrance to the left.....In the video I took -see below- I started from that stump, (so keep that in mind.)
We'll incorporate some sort of width/capability filter into this spot when the construction actually begins.
This is looking into the area that will be the first stage of the new trail. This is taken from 2/3 of the way up the old trail, looking in towards the new first section.
We made our way up and across the natural grade of the hill side, taking advantage of the stumps as boundary markers, zig-zagging our way to the central part of the area you saw in the third picture, thru and around stumps, over hills and burms. There in the middle of all that, we have designed what we think will be the main obstacle we're building into the trail, making it a new destination spot in the TSF, you'll see it in the video, and I'm sorry I didnt take as many pics as I would have liked, but the video will explain it all.
In a nutshell it'll be a two-line face or hill climb. The face climb portion is a zig zag entrance to a sheer face between two large stumps, when its done it will rival Waterfall. The hill climb line will be to the right of that and will be less intimidating, but still quite hard, Both will join together in a flatter area above, where there will be enough room to turn around, or for two way traffic. (...we're also talking about making a loose rock bypass that will be in no way a walk in the park, below all that and closer to the road -that will join into the next portion of the trail.....)
The trail narrows again, angles slightly down (to join in with the aforementioned bypass) then back up again thru more stumps, and over a slight hill before you come down and curve around to enter the wooded area.
This pic is looking down into that section - the wooded area is to the left:
The wooded area offers excellent shade, and is sure to be a destination spot for those who want a good place to break for a while and eat lunch or just get out of the sun. From there you'll continue on to what will be the most challenging length of sustained hill climb on the trail. The grade is at least as steep as the old trail, of not more so. There will be off camber spots, and a couple slight turns to prevent a balls out skinny pedal run to the top. We've planned to tie into the old trail up at the top - roughly at the 1/2 way point - of the ridge line, where we discussed the possibility of making the rest of the run a rock garden of sorts. Similar to what you will find on the top of Hogsback. 1'-2' diameter rocks tightly packed into a small field (100 yards long maybe...) from there you will exit the trail thru another filter.
This will conclude phase 1 of the build, the next phase will be to delete the exit road, move the quad/bike trail tie-in back another 50 yards or so, and cut more Saddle Up thru the woods to tie into Firebreak 5. That will be done at a later time however. The focus right now is getting this section done and open.
Here is an aerial photo with a VERY rough estimated sketch of how the new phase1 of Saddle Up will be routed.
Once we were done flagging and marking, we walked back along the ridge line, dodging overly aggressive horse-flys, and stopped to survey the rock quarry.
(trust me thats a looong way down)
We continued down the old hill climb where the other two guys grabbed their rigs and headed into the woods for a well deserved late lunch break.
I however, in the spirit of wanting to share our work with all of you...
decided to RE-HIKE the whole new trail, in its entirety, and film it, to give you at least somewhat of a visual reference of whats to come.
My camera isn't the best, and footage never does the real thing much justice, but here it is none the less.
If for some reason the video is no longer embeded, you can see it here:
Or just search for it on my youtube channel (jbchill1)
I am personally quite proud of what we accomplished today, and for making it out to get a much needed section of work done on this project. I'm very much looking forward to going back and finishing up the marking duties, we'll need to spray paint the stumps we want to keep, the ones we want to grind/cut, and the ones we'll remove all together. We'll also mark out some more definitive trail details, such as intended direction, splits, etc... This will all need to be done before November or so, because that's when the reforestation crews will be coming in. We'll need to be fully, and clearly marked by then so they don't plant in the trail.
NOTICE!: Although some of you would like to go see this for your selves, I'd ask that you please wait until we are done with the cut in of the new trail, many of our markings are temporary, and not securely placed. It's good enough for now, but if we have a lot of foot traffic thru there, things may get disturbed. So I ask (for now) that you please keep to the roads, and of course, off the trail, as it is still very much closed.
What a great update! Mahalo NW99XJ, I look forward to running this trail again :).
Looks like it'd going to a be a fun trail. Thanks for putting in the time & work to make it happen.
UPDATE: Trail Centerline Finalization W/ ODF - Sept. 22, 2012
Ok first let me apologize, as I forgot my camera and wasn't able to take any pics.
SO instead I will post pics I have already taken and modify them (sorry for the quality) to help explain what it was we accomplished today. I will also try to give as detailed descriptions as possible to help paint the picture.....
Aaron, the other trail designer came over to my hose this morning about 8:30-ish, and we were going to car-pool up to TSF in my Jeep.
He had forgotten the spray paint we needed for marking today, and although I had picked some up the night before, we figured it would be better to have too much than not enough. Luckily I have both a Home Depot and a Lowes within 5 miles of my house.
The Home Depot spray paint was just not up to par, so we went to Lowes, and picked up a couple more cans, then hit the road. (i made a quick stop for some Mack Donalds first though.)
We made good time on the way up, Aaron called Jahmaal Rebb's office at The Oregon Dept of Forestry, and although he was out, they were able to radio him to give him an updated ETA.
We arrived at Saddle Up just before 11 am, we would've been there sooner, but between the hardware store runs, and the McDonalds catching up to me at Rogers, we were a tad behind schedule. Jahmaal showed up right as we got out of the Jeep, and after exchanging pleasantries, got to work.
The plan of action was to re-hike the center-line we had already laid out, and make whatever adjustments were needed along the way.
First to be addressed was the new entrance. Although our idea would have worked fine, it posed a couple of concerns. First was maintenance, it would have made it more difficult to maintain the culverts that are right there due to an increase in sediment run-off flow and debris coming down from the filter... which brings us to concern #2, safety. Aside from the appearance of having a filter literally right off the road (unwanted and unsightly) there was too much risk of having something from the filter getting kicked loose and end up laying in the middle of the road. Re-using any part of the old entrance was out of the question. We weighed every option around that and finally determined that it was impractical. Re-using the old entrance in any way not only created far greater challenges for the filter placement, but also (due in part to that) created a concern of erosion, and again, increasing maintenance of the culvert(s) that are there.
After much surveying, we decided to move the entrance down further, and around the corner on the side road. It will cut into the side of the embankment slightly, be pointing just slightly up hill, be reinforced on the downhill side, and come up into the hillside where it will snake into a loose "S" shape leading into a flat landing/staging area that will then funnel you into the lower filter. This accomplishes several things at once. We not only get the large chunky filter away from the road, (in a few years you wont even see it after the re-forestation comes in and the re-plantings grow).... but the existing culvert under the old entrance will be removed altogether, the old entrance will then be completely vacated, and the ditch will be re-dug/improved.
The filter will be significant. We discussed in detail some of the design concepts that we think will be appropriate to incorporate into it. This may become a work in progress we'll have to see once we get some earth moved, and what it looks like underneath, but it will be somewhat unique, and easy to maintain at the same time. It will also have a slight grade and camber to it, so that when its wet, it will become even more of a challenge.
Once thru the filter area and onto the rest of the trail, as we walked, we found very little that needed to be changed. Mostly it was sharing with Jahmaal our vision, and our expectations of what we were thinking the trail would offer and look like at every point/turn, marking additional boundaries, and marking stumps that would be pulled or shaved.
We did make some subtle changes from the original line in a couple areas. One being the lead-in to the main face climb. We brought the line up a little bit more to lead into the V-notch right below the turn-to-climb part of the obstacle. Whereas before we turned it down hill then made a turn to come back up the hill, to then turn again into the V-notch right below the face climb. This change was mainly done for erosion control, as there seems to be a natural spring/run-off/soft spot between two faces of the mountain side where it would be difficult to maintain in the rainy seasons. This was fine, as the line for the face climb didn't really change. We wanted to keep this obstacle and the way you climb up/over it as close to what our first impressions had led us to mark it out as. We were very glad to see that we didn't have to make any changes to the design of this.
Once up the face, we came to the spot where we were going to have another landing, and area large enough for winching and/or two way traffic. This line had originally snaked against the hill side, but we decided to make things more interesting and bring it down more, continue it onwards quite a bit, up a small incline around a large stump, (this should be fun) onto a little hill top and back down lining you up perfectly with the second hill climb. This feature will work nicely, and offer some additional technicality to the trail. This hill climb will also develop nicely as time goes on, and evolve into a real technical section.
Once up top we crested the hill and altered the trail's route by just a couple feet to follow the ridge of it down to the entrance of the grove of trees in the center of everything.
Jahmall really liked this once in there and agrees that we shouldn't change a thing, save for some barricading to prevent people from going out of the main clearing in there. (we also briefly talked about an idea that Aaron and I have been tossing around about having a second entrance in that area - think about how many entrances FB5 has - so that if the face climb requires maintenance or becomes otherwise impassible, the trail as a whole can remain open even while repairs are going on.) This clearing will certainly become a destination point, especially during the hot summer months.
Once out of the trees, we came to the main hill climb. Every time I see this, I get excited, its going to be nasty guys... a massive change in altitude, almost immediately, pointing you right into the sky, with no ease in grade until halfway thru where we make you take a right turn only to face you back up again. This whole side of the hill is made of some serious rock, with some rather stout tree stumps marking the boundaries as you go up thru it all. These are going to create some interesting challenges, and set this trail apart from all others. This section too, will go thru a massive evolution as time goes on. With the exception of some additional cut-ins for drainage, and water run-off control, we left that entire hill climb as you saw it in the video (see earlier post for links to my YouTube channel).... There will be many points of this section of the trail that unless you're hanging out of the window, you wont see anything but sky!!
Once we got to the top, we were standing on the ridge-line of the old Saddle-Up.... Where we talked about how we will block off any access to the rest of the old trail. We also talked a little about some of the features we will add to the roadway up there.... some notching will be done for sure, creating a Archer's-like channel going up the hill there. Along the way the logging company has already turned over several large trees, creating these large holes along one edge of the trail. These features will remain, and will be incorporated in some way. The rest of it will in part look like some sections of FireBreak 5, lots of loose rock, wheel sized and packed in all the way up to where it ties in to the part of the trail that leads to the other entrance.
This other entrance will remain pretty dull for now. There will be a standard type filter at the bottom, but brought into the trail a little more, again, so that you don't directly see it from the road. The section of trail after that will remain flat so that there is easy access for machinery to get up to the rest of the trail to do maintenance. This whole section MAY eventually get deleted just like the old hill climb, and the new trail MAY then get routed to tie into FireBreak 5. This has not yet been set in stone, so a timeline and design details have not yet been laid out.... but it looks promising.
Jahmaal is anxious to start construction on the new re-route. He has a couple other projects that need to be tidied up first, but it looks as if he'll be bringing in the mini-excavator in a couple weeks to start clearing brush, moving stumps, and yes....cutting trail!
There is a lot of uncertainties.... like how the weather is going to hold up, whats under the first five or six inches of top soil?.... how long is it going to take to remove the brush?...... is the mini-excavator going to be enough to do most of the job?.... if not, how soon can we get some bigger equipment up there, and will there have to be any special access made for that?
If everything goes smoothly, and this is a BIG IF.... but if things go as planned, there is a CHANCE that we may be able to get some rubber on the trail as early as late November.
Now please take into consideration, this is going to be a BRAND NEW trail...there will be some initial erosion, some compaction, and there may be some things we decide to change along the way... but Aaron and I confident that we have designed a trail that everyone will love.
There will more than likely be some work parties coming up for some minor labor that can only be done by hand, and we'll keep you posted as things develop on that.
I know this was a long post, but there was a lot that needed to be explained/covered. Below are my (poorly) mocked up pictures that may or may not help make sense of what I was describing in the above paragraphs.
Thanks for reading!
You guys are doing a great job. Thanks for all your hard work. Not to throw off the thread but here is a pic looking up in 2000. How times have changed.
WOW! Thats awesome! Thanks for the pics, that's a great comparison!
It's unbelievable how much things are different.
And speaking of different.... the new trail is going to offer a lot of different terrain, and be a completely different trail from what it used to be.
Yes Saddle Up will still have a hill climb, but its going to be a massive difference from what it used to be, and be A LOT more technical.
I cant wait.
Well folks, I was up at TSF the Weekend of 4/20/2013 for the SOLV Trail Clean Up Project. Expecting to do a day of litter pick up and brush clearing, I made it to the sand shed just below Roger's staging area fairly early....there were only 2 other rigs there, so we hung out and shot the breeze for a while until all the others filtered in......
The turnout was larger than expected, and it was nice to see that many people coming out to lend a hand with this.
After mulling around, & socializing for a while, Stephanie Beal from ODF took control, and had everyone split up into groups.
Since I had spent most of the morning to this point talking to Jahmaal Rebb from ODF about Saddle Up and various other ODF Projects,
I figured that I should stick with him for the day.
Our goal for the day was a fairly extensive tree planting project.
There were two areas that were our project focus for the day...one was an old access road below the Sand Shed, and the other was up near Cedar Tree. After the two locations of tree planting, and a slight pause while Jahmaal & I helped decipher some blueprints for a Trailsman Worker who was building a new quad bridge...we headed out to an area where some people decided to use as a clay pigeon shooting range, and we picked up a TON of trash.....
This is about 2/3 of just what JUST OUR group had picked up.
There was a whole nother F250 that was brimming with garbage as well.
After the litter pickup, the work day was done, and it was time for the NAXJA crew to head out to Saddle Up so I could asses the condition of the area, re-examine the flagging/markings from last summer (many had disappeared or had moved form the weather/melt off)....and to re-walk the center-line to show the others how the new trail was going to be laid out.
Reforestation crews had already come in, and although were instructed not to plant within the boundaries of our markings, had done so in many areas regardless.
Here you can see a new planting (center) just in front of one of our center-line flags (top)
The other members of NAXJA that were there with me, were all very receptive to the layout of the new trail design. They all asked a lot of questions along the way, and had a lot of good feedback.
I'm confident that we're all on the same page now, and that they have a good understanding of the goal, concept, and what it's going to take to complete the project.
This winter had definitely taken its toll on the area of Saddle Up.
There was a ton of blow-down and broken trees all through out the still-forested areas.
It was so severe that at one point, the winds had broken a tree.....
(top center is the base - top-left is the lower portion of the break)
....the other half.....stuck into the ground like a spear.....
(Here you'll see that NAXJA member Kenny was "using the force" like a Jedi to attempt a relocation of the downed tree.... the force is not strong in this one)
As for the the actual Saddle-Up Trail..... I will try to keep you guys up to date on work parties, scheduling and progress, as it develops. There is going to be a ton of work JUST to get the trail ready for the cut-in..... I forsee a LOT of man hours involved in just the brush clearing to get back to where we were at the end of last summer.
Thanks again to any of you who came out and helped for the SOLV clean up, and I hope to see you again soon.
So disapointing to see shooters making messes like that. I've been shooting since I was a kid and I've always picked up my brass. Not a big deal to leave the broken clays, as they will degrade, but leaving shell casings and shooting TV's, PC Monitors and other stuff is fricking stupid as hell. Places to shoot on forest service lands are getting scarce, so you think folks would have the common sense to clean up their mess? Thanks for you efforts up there, keep up the good work.
UPDATE: June 2013
The first day of June was also the first day of formal work on our new trail....
We finally got to get some work done on the rough cut in of the new Saddle-Up!!!
We got to Saddle Up right about 8:30
From L to R ....Dustin, Gunner( in motion), Aaron, Shawn, and Matt:
From this point forward, I had forgot my camera in the Jeep,
so the rest was documented with my cell phone, I apologize for lack of quality in the pics
Jahmaal was not there yet with the Mini-Ex, so after hanging around for a few,
we decided to get to work in the small glenn of trees that separates the two halves of the new trail.
There was a lot of blow-down from this last winter, and it all needed to be cleared:
We got to work right away, four chain saws, and determination got a lot accomplished right away,
Gunner took the most important role of supervisor:
It also got our temps up so we started shedding hoodies pretty quick:
We got the glenn cleared in no time, and as we were making our way back down to the trucks,
we heard some "beeping" ....and figured ODF was finally there with the machinery.
We were right, and after Jahmaal got the mini unloaded....
he got right to work with getting it up into the staging area before the location of where the filter will be:
Matt up here from the NAXJA Socal Chapter, and not having any stake in this trail, came to help and help he did.
There was a lot of shovel work that needed to be done throughout the day, Matt certainly did his fair share:
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