Friday, November 29, 2013

Early Snow Muni

I can't remember the last November when we had snow that stayed for more than a day.  We got a few inches several days ago and it seems to be sticking.  Today looked like ideal snow muni conditions.  It was 27°F out, sunny, and no wind.  So I rode at Webster Park.

pitted trail
It didn't take long for me to remember the pains of riding muni in the snow.  If the snow isn't smooth then it's a battle.  I saw trails that were fairly smooth and rode well, and some that were pitted with footprints and could barely be ridden.  There were enough difficult sections to leave me fairly unsatisfied.  We need another few days of high traffic on the trails to smooth them out.  Maybe it wasn't the best ride, but I know conditions will be better some time, so I'll be back.  It was good exercise too.

My GPS receiver must have gotten confused and didn't start logging until I was into the Midnight Trail.
Muni at Webster Park - 2013-11-29 at EveryTrail

Saturday, November 16, 2013

2013 Leaf Blowing

Two years ago I did some leaf blowing at Whiting and Webster ParkLast year I was only able to do Whiting. This spring I wished I hadn't skipped Webster Park because it was muddier than it needed to be.

The good news for this year is that a few of the board members of the Friends of Webster Trails took care of leaf blowing Whiting and the Midnight Trail.  So I could give my full attention to Webster Park.

I borrowed the backpack leaf blower from my friend Frank, who uses it to help clear the Tryon and Bay Park West trails.  His trail work and his allowing me to use his expensive machine are both great donations to our trail system.  Thank you very much Frank!!

Today I spent 4 hours out there and my GPS says I hiked over 6.5 miles. Due to backtracking, I probably cleared about 5.5 miles of trails.  Some areas required multiple passes, and some hills took about 6 passes.  It's hard to imagine how these areas of super thick leaves would be anything but a spongy wet mess in the spring.  I'm glad I took care of it.

Princess Leia approved of my work
I was able to clear a lot of the less popular trails that I like.  I'm hopeful that this will invite hikers to explore these and they'll get more traffic.  I think the concept works because a couple of hikers followed me onto such a trail before I was able to backtrack the more popular one.

Unfortunately it was starting to get dark and I was running out of gasoline, so I wasn't able to clear all the trails I like to ride.  There's a chance I'll return, but I'm pretty spent and expect to be sore.  I think most of the remaining trails have a significant number of pine trees.  The needles don't seem to create the same spongy mess as leaves, so it's probably going to be ok.  I wish there were a few more volunteers to help so it could all get done.

As always I was a bit nervous that other trail users might not approve of leaf blowing the trails.  I talked to a few runners and got very positive responses.  They love that they can see the roots.  Unfortunately I uncovered some wet areas that will take a few days to dry out, so the short term looks bad, but the long term will be good.

It was somewhat frustrating to see some downed trees and mud pits that really need to be taken care of.  The park rangers take care of some of these problems, but it will probably take a volunteer to get them done anytime soon.  I wish I had more time for these.

Leaf Blowing at Webster Park - 2013-11-16 at EveryTrail

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Another Night Ride on the Hojack

Tonight I rode the Hojack again.  It was a few degrees warmer than my last ride.  Still I was chilly for my first few miles.

I didn't see much aside from a cat and a walker on a cross road.

It's good to keep the muscles working, though I hope to do some real muni soon.

Night Muni on Hojack - 2013-11-14 at EveryTrail

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Night Ride on the Hojack

I missed out on the 60°F+ weather yesterday and didn't get out to ride.  Tonight I settled for the low 40's.  I also wanted to experience another night ride.  My last one was in February.

I rode the Hojack, starting from my house.  It started out cold and the wind was chilly.  I had a head wind as I rode west, but I still warmed up as I rode.  I had a few dismounts due to some small mud pits, and when I stopped at roads for cars.

I saw a few bunnies and a fox, and only one person walking on the road.

My lower back felt sore, probably because I've been working out more, but also because I was a bit more tense when I rode.  It was harder to relax because much of the trail was leaf covered and parts were soft, and of course it was dark.

It rained lightly during parts of my ride, and hailed for about a minute.

Night Muni on Hojack - 2013-11-08 at EveryTrail