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And So It Begins

This is a journal of building a mountain bike trail on our five acre property in the Sierra foothills of northern California. I’m hoping to get 3/4 mile of trail with at least 200 feet of climbing per loop. I expect it will take a couple of years to complete the entire project but hopefully I can complete the first section sooner than that. 🙂

Building a trail on our property has been a dream of mine since we purchased the property ten years ago. However, it wasn’t until this year that we finally fenced the perimeter of the entire property (we have dogs that we let run loose, and more recently sheep but that’s another story). The new fence will allow us to tear down old fence that contained the house and an acre or two, thereby opening up the entire property. Finally, it’s time to build my trail.

Well, sort of. Unfortunately, there is much to be done before I can even start flagging the desired route. Most of the property is very overgrown. The fence guys cleared the line for the fence but left all of the cut branches and brush (per our agreement), so I’ve got to clear everything they left behind. That involves dragging vast quantities of brush up steep hillsides to get it to a place where it can be chipped or burned. Then I’ve got to start the much bigger task of clearing the rest of the property, including getting rid of a veritable forest of poison oak. Yay.

Someday, I’ll get around to identifying control points and trail anchors (on our steep property, these will probably mostly be trees and frequent turns), flag the (approximate) trail, clear whatever parts of the trail corridor weren’t already adequately cleared for riding, rake the trail tread to remove the loose leaves and other debris, test the flow, re-route the trail to improve the flow, re-rake, re-test, re-route, re-rake, ad nauseam. And then finally I will get to take tools to the ground and create the benched trail tread with the necessary berms, switchbacks, and perhaps a few wooden technical features. 🙂

Although I’ve been a volunteer on numerous trail building or trail maintenance projects over the years, this is my first solo project. Wish me luck.

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