The first trail day of Fall 2017 was a fair-weather ringer. Even more amazing is this was the second year in a row for such weather! Last year we had tackled a single project (on Island Run), but this year we had four separate projects on the go at four equidistant locations.
Some say that to a man with a hammer everything becomes like a nail. Perhaps it’s also true that to a club surrounded by rocks, everything looks like it needs to be armoured. In this light it only made sense that the first project we settled on was replacing the old wood-work in the Hammer Head/Oil Can trail with good ol’ rock. Though rock work is perhaps the most laborious path, when done correctly it’s the most sustainable answer and will last through many seasons and many visitors. The trail where the rock-work was done is one of the older trails in the Agreement Forest (or as it’s now called the Halton Region Forest Complex.) Agreement Forest was an old Ministry of Natural Resources term that was subsequently dropped when MNR handed off the land to Halton. At any rate, this older Agreement Forest trail was part of a continuation of the style of riding found on Stunt trail and B.C. Rocks; one which involved many skill testing wooden structures. A style of building that (among other reasons) has somewhat fallen to the wayside due to it’s relatively high up-keep.
We hope you have a blast riding the updated Hammer Head line and be sure to familiarise yourself with it before you ride it.
The second project of trail day had been on the back-burner a while and involved replacing an unsafe section (about 10ft) of boardwalk on Frank’s trail. This small section of boardwalk spans a seasonal creek and its runners had rotted so much that the decking screws were no long holding. Not a good situation! The club sprang for some brand new runners out of its own pockets and were able to up-cycle some of the off-cuts from the boardwalk build last Fall. The first step in this project was sending a few members all the way to Island Run with our new packs (courtesy of Freewheel cycle), loading them up to the brim with the various off-cuts, tossing them into some poor guy’s vehicle and then shuttling them over. This was no easy task as the wood had been collecting rainwater and other dangers lay in wait. Luckily we had enough volunteers to spread this work out and nobody ended up as exhausted as those involved in last year’s massive “bucket brigade” which hauled full-length decking and runners into Island Run from the secret stash.
A second task on Frank’s trail was to extend the armour at the bottom of a rock roll. The reason for this is that during spring this section takes a long time to dry and riders and hikers were creating an erosion ditch next to the thinner armouring line. Eventually this ditch will become deeper, wider and even more “bombed out”; thus we armoured the 5ft section getting eroded.
Our third project was to stack the boardwalk on the Turner tract double-track. Most of you will know this as the boardwalk closest to the I Will Allow It trail that always tries to float away late winter/early spring. You might also remember that last year a sign popped up alerting people to a tree thinning operation that was going to occur the following year (2017). Maybe you also noticed the orange markings on the trees that popped up this summer.
Anyhow, this operation is delayed as the Region has yet to negotiate a contract with an interested arboricuture company. However after the shotgun hunt is finished, which runs from dawn Nov 6th to dusk on the 10th, there will be a crew in to trim the double-track with machinery and remove hazard trees.
Speaking of hazard trees, we had a fourth impromptu project. This last project saw two crews circumnavigating the AF to remove trees that were blown over onto the trails during the last windstorm. We don’t have any images to share of this, but suffice to say they worked really hard to clear some seriously heavy dead-fall!
You don’t get trail days that are much better than this one. Afterwards many people loitered around the Mohawk Raceway parking lot enjoying the warm weather and sun. The board is a bit worried that people become a bit accustomed to these halcyon days as we’ve been very lucky with weather! Usually trail days in the Fall are grey and cold, however the company is always good.
Hope to see you at the next one!
Due to the positively spring like weather HAFTA has been tricked into emerging from hibernation to reinstall that boardwalk over the flooded area near I Will Allow It. The giant puddle hasn’t thawed yet so the boardwalk will settle a bit, but it will prevent you from getting a soaker. Friends of the AF, please enjoy and remember if you collect mud on your wheels or heels then turn around so you don’t do permanent damage to the trails.