In which Fiddle and I explore some eroded trails (and some good ones)
I used to ride at the "Bracken Tract" of the Pilchuck Tree Farm every week. The trailhead is only 15 minutes away from our house via truck/trailer.
|This commonly used trail has been "armored" -- reinforced with roadbed rocks|
Eventually, there will be trails from our house to the trailhead, but that will probably be YEARS in the future. The land for the connecting trail is already set aside, but money for developing a heavy-use public trail is scarce right now.
|Un-armored trail next to the creek. This turns into a bog in winter.|
|This trail is so eroded that my stirrups drag the ground on the sides when I'm riding Hana. Fiddle is taller, so the stirrups clear the dirt by about an inch when I ride her.|
|When your trail runs through a swamp, there's no way to build it so it will stay dry unless you bring in a LOT of rocks.|
|A trail on the side of a hill stays dry much longer. |
This one, however, has trees growing almost on top of the trail tread.
The trail (below)
|"fall-line trail" <--cussing in trail-builders parlance|
|Overcrowded! These trees will only get bigger!|
|Sidehill trail in a wetter section of the woods.|
If the right side berm of the trail got knocked down, the water would drain out of the tread
instead of running right down the middle of it.
Although this trail (below) looks wet because it's been rained on recently, the tread has about a 5% cant to lense right, so water doesn't puddle on the tread or wash down the centerline.
|A little bit of slope to the trail means that water leaves the trail!|
|Blackberry bushes on both sides of the trail...good erosion protection, |
but it will need to be patrolled with weedwhackers...or blowtorches
|This is a beautiful trail in good repair. |
The tread is sand, the berms are gone, there are no puddles.
Once the trucks move out, we are left with very sturdy "trails" to ride.
We ride retired logging roads almost exclusively in winter--the natural trails are too muddy.
|The common trail back to the parking lot shows damage caused by many hooves.|
Life is good!