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!