Saturday, November 17, 2012

2012 FWT Leaf Blowing

Once again I helped the Friends of Webster Trails clear the fall leaves from some of the trails using Frank's leaf blower. I cleared all of Whiting Road Nature Preserve, which looks to be about 5-6 miles.  It took me 3 hours.

Last year I was able to also clear the Midnight Trail and a few miles of Webster Park, despite being fatigued after Whiting.  This year I stopped with just Whiting as I was running low on gas, tired, and figured I could come back another day.  Once I was home and sitting around for a while, the sides of my knees and hips were killing me when I walked. My IT bands and hip flexors aren't used to hiking around like that!

I noticed the section Green trail that was built this year was very wet. Last year's section was wet in spots too.  Hopefully time will cure this.

The Friends of Webster Trails had filled some chronic mud pits with "oughts and ones" stone in the spring.  We don't like the look and feel of the stone but it does seem to do the job.  On these sections, I noticed the leaf blower blew off some of the loose surface stones leaving a hard packed surface that looked like gray dirt or worn concrete.  I didn't spend any effort to intentionally remove this stone, but in the future is might be a good idea, though it will probably happen naturally with trail use.

Also, like last year, I noticed in some places the leaves were well packed into a muddy trail surface, or blew off and revealed a wet trail.  This makes me think the leaves fell earlier in some areas and probably should have been removed earlier.  Certainly some trees drop their leaves earlier than others.  Maybe next year I'll see if we can clear the trails twice to prevent water from getting trapped under these early leaves.  I think some people like the leaves on the trails when they hike, so I hate to do it too soon, but maintaining the trails  and avoided problems is important too.

I may head out for some more trail leaf blowing in the next few days.

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