The Usual Suspects aren't afraid to try new stuff,
especially if the project will be difficult and dirty.
|Usual Suspects Meagan, Anne-Marie, Duana, and Patty|
Although Jim and I have been building trails since we took the AERC Trail Master class in 2006, the Suspects have mostly not been part of that.
This year, that all changed.
The Suspects came to camp early for the express purpose of becoming Lumberjanes.
|This awesome adventure series features five friends attending|
a summer camp for "hard-core lady types":
Camping out, hiking, and s'mores, plus secret caves, were-foxes and yeti.
We started by creating a new trail on a recently-logged sidehill.
|Duana wants a Pulaski for Christmas. |
I happen to know that Santa loves to give girls trail tools as gifts!
The soil here is dry and sandy, with minimal roots and rocks--a great place to get comfortable with trail tools like the Pulaski and the McLeod.
|Using a McLeod to scrape out a flat footbed for trotting horses|
|Cut, scrape, cut again and level|
|The Lumberjane Trail|
Running on a trail gives immediate feedback about where the tread feels solid and "right" underfoot.
Here's video from a trail test in 2010, featuring Madeline, Jill, Autumn, Ryan, Cassidy, and at a few others (including Bailey the dog). We have used this trail in every Renegade event since we built it, without needing any mending or modifications.
Silliness while running a trail is optional, but apparently unavoidable. Duana stars in the 2016 Lumberjane trail test:
(If you don't know why she's banging rocks together,
you flunk your Monty Python Cultural Awareness test,
and will need to schedule a remedial viewing of
When we finished the Lumberjane trail, we had enough daylight left to tackle a second project.
|Meagan ferried the truck back to camp. The rest of us|
hiked downhill and fixed the trail as we walked.
|Hard-core lady types|
The problem on this trail was a "jumping tree."
|The tree had rotted and broken from the root at about knee-level. |
Instead of falling all the way over, other trees held the rotten one,
upright and stuck, in the middle of our trail.
The rotten tree was too likely to explode (watch the video link HERE to see an exploding tree) if we tried to use a chainsaw on it, and too big to move.
So we moved the trail.
|Duana loves the Pulaski|
|AFTER: the trail has been moved uphill and away from the rotten tree. |
Debris blocks the area below the tree, so riders will not be tempted to go there.
The Usual Suspects are a fabulous trail crew. I'm so proud of them.