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

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