JANUARY 2015 WORKDAY SUCCESS

We had a PHENOMENAL work day last Saturday! We ended up with 24 volunteers (including two Forest Service representatives) so we got a lot accomplished!

  • We worked on the Clarke private property (through which we have a legal easement in place for public access) down at the mouth of Laborcita Canyon outside La Luz.
  • We filled most (not all) of the holes caused by the old water line failures.
  • Cleaned rocks and weeds from most of the rail bed (though there’s more to do).
  • We worked on most of the old wood culverts — cleaning out the input sides — we have more to do with those.
  • MAJOR IMPROVEMENT: We routed the rail bed around one of the more dangerous spots near the end of the property.

MORE TO DO IN THE FUTURE

  • More tree and culvert prep (amongst other various tasks)
  • The entire south side of the rail bed needs to be ditched for erosion control
  • Other moderately dangerous area (more holes) will need some serious work

Thanks everyone for coming out!

 

Jan 2014 volunteer trail workday - Culvert work

Culvert work

 

Jan 2015 volunteer work day - cleaning up the rail bed

Cleaning up the rail bed!

 

Jan 2015 volunteer work day - rail bed tread work

Tread work

As always, we’ve got many more photos! Check them out on our official Flickr page!

MARCH 2014 WORKDAY SUCCESS

Even though we had to reschedule this month’s workday at the least minute, we had another great turnout!  18 willing and able bodies showed up and met again at the top of the Bridal Veil Falls trail.

We ended up splitting into three groups and spread out a bit on the trail — one group began working on the erosion control culvert area; another headed down the trail and worked on some erosion control (lots of rock-moving) and yet another group followed a forest service worker driving a small excavator, helping spread out the dirt and rocks dug out from the edge of the trail. The ultimate goal was to help give any future water a better place to go rather than wash away the existing trail! The pace was a little slow and some heavy rocks were hauled off the trail, but all in all it was a great success!

Next month, we will continue restoring the 100+ year old erosion control structure and continue trail repair, all in this same area.

Working on the erosion control culvert area

Relocating rocks big and small!

Spreading dirt

As always, we’ve got many more photos! Check them out on our official Flickr page!

FEBRUARY 2014 WORKDAY SUCCESS

We had yet another very successful workday this month! We had a great turnout with 21 volunteers to include two out of state visitors — Roger and Holly Rosin — from Minnesota. They were corralled in to our workday by Rails-to-Trails member John Reimer.

Thirteen volunteers gathered at the parking area at the top of the Bridal Veil Falls trail and walked the 1/2 mile down-trail to the worksite where 2 Forest Service representatives, Dario Samora and Heather Burman (along with other volunteer trail workers) met everyone after using a private back road to deliver an excavator and hand tools needed for the job.

Dario, under the guidance of Heather, dug almost 450 feet of drainage ditch with the excavator.  The huge amount of resulting dirt and rocks had to be moved and relocated by hand and wheelbarrow to fill in eroding sections of the trail and to smooth the trail tread.

The new ditch, and another 600 feet or so of existing ditch, had to be cleared of debris, rocks, shrubs,  and some of the original rail road ties.  Of course, all the railroad memorabilia was carefully repositioned along the trail out of the path of potential water damage.

One particularly large rock in the path of the excavator had to be broken with chisel and sledge into several manageable pieces for moving — it was a really back-breaking and bone jarring ordeal!

All this “chain-gang” type rock and dirt work, and a warm day, proved to be very exhausting, even to the five Holloman volunteers whom we relied on for their strong backs while those who were a little older and smart enough not to get caught up in the heavy rock stuff and pushing wheelbarrows, cleared culverts in the area and “beautified” the trail by smoothing the dirt and lining the trail with rocks.

Next month, we plan to  begin restoring a 100+ year old erosion control structure and continue trail repair, all in this same area.

Just a few of our volunteers for the day

Rails-to-Trails crew heading up the trail

Some volunteers hauling some of the seemingly endless dirt and rocks

Regulars Glen Fess and Doug Holcolmb along with another dedicated volunteer hauling more dirt!

Making big rocks into small rocks!

As always, we’ve got many more photos! Check them out on our official Flickr page!

JANUARY 2014 WORKDAY SUCCESS

It was another cool day at the Dog Canyon trail above Oliver Lee State Park main building. Everyone that showed was ready to continue our work from last month in getting the trail in good shape and ready for summer hiking traffic.

This month we had 14 volunteers show up ready to do some work. We had a bunch of regulars as well as 3 new faces in the crowd to include some younger, more able bodied airmen from Holloman willing to carry 5 gallon buckets of dirt (around 60 pounds each — a welcome and significant bit of help to us old guys!).

Once again, we were reminded of how steep and rocky this trail can be but the view is worth the extra effort in getting up there. We split into two groups, one led by board member Doug Holcomb and the other by our longtime dedicated volunteer, Glenn Fess. Both groups essentially dug up loose dirt where we could find it (out of view from the trail) and hauled 5 gallon buckets to the trail wherever it was needed to shore up the large rock “steps” along the trail. On the way down near the end of the workday, Doug and a few others cleared the loose gravel that accumulated at each trail switchback.

Some of our volunteers for the day

Again, Jeremy Evans, the Forest Service employee that has been joining us over the last several months made the long drive from Cloudcroft and brought all the tools we needed for the day.

Again, we feel like it was a very successful work day and we really appreciate everyone that participated. Next month we SHOULD be hitting the Bridal Veil Falls trail — more to come on that as always!

Rails-to-Trails crew heading up the trail

Our dedicated volunteers from Holloman hauling a bucket of dirt up the trail

Laura Letterman, John Reimer and Don Draney filling up one of the 5 gallon buckets with dirt

Great view of Oliver Lee State Park campgrounds far below

As always, we’ve got many more photos! Check them out on our official Flickr page!

DECEMBER 2013 WORKDAY SUCCESS

We were reminded on Saturday why we normally take December off for the volunteer work days! This one was a bit different though simply because it was our rescheduled work day from our November cancellation (if you remember, it was due to the wet weather). Anyhow, we had a breezy, cool and successful work day this month up the Dog Canyon trail.

We worked over a mile and a half distance of the Dog Canyon trail above the Oliver Lee State Park main building. We were extremely fortunate to have 19 volunteers! Eight of us were regulars but we were very happy (and fortunate) to welcome an addition 11 young(er) airmen from Holloman! All I got out of them were that they were cops from base (Security Forces or Security Police? I always get them mixed up) and that their Flight Chief “encouraged” their participate. Well, thank you Flight Chief, whoever you are, and sincerely — thanks all of you that came out. You were a huge help!

The trail was pretty steep and rocky in many places, but the view was great! We managed to make a whopping 61 trail and water bar repairs throughout the mile and a half of trail (we think it was actually 60 repairs but our board President felt no one would believe such an even number so we rounded up a bit — you’d think he used to write EPRs (performance reports) in the Air Force!)

The weather was pretty cool but everyone seemed dressed well for it. Some of us unfortunately worked a side of the mountain that caught most of the breeze but later in the work day the sun started to finally break through the clouds and warmed us up a bit.

Most of our volunteers for the day (to include the motley crew from Holloman!)

Jeremy Evans, the Forest Service employee that has been joining us over the last several months faithfully showed up again and brought all the tools we needed from the Cloudcroft station.

One interesting bit about this trail is that two of our volunteers (one of which is a Rails-to-Trails board member as well) Doug Holcomb and Glenn Fess actually BUILT this trail way, way back when they were younger and more physically fit men (was New Mexico even a STATE then? No one knows for sure)! I don’t know Glenn’s past experience first-hand with the trail but I know Doug is a veteran Forest Service employee and he told me about his early years working on the very trail we were repairing.

Again, we feel like it was a very successful work day and we really appreciate everyone that participated. We hope to see you all again next month!

Rails-to-Trails crew heading up the trail

Those buckets are about to get heavy once they’re filled with dirt!

Building a much needed water bar across the trail

Great volunteer spirits even in the cold!

View from the Dog Canyon trail

Great views from the trail even in the gloomy weather.

As always, we’ve got many more photos! Check them out on our official Flickr page!

OCTOBER 2013 WORKDAY SUCCESS

Another successful work day down! We had 14 volunteers show up to the Grand View Trail ready and willing to get some needed maintenance crossed off our list.

Luckily, the good ol’ government shutdown ended just days before the work day so the Forest Service was back open for business and were able to supply tools and their monthly volunteer.

We did a temporary fix on a sinkhole located some 200 feet or so down hill from the wooden culvert we replaced last February. Our fix and fill ensured that the tread is safe, but probing indicates that a good sized cavity may still exist underneath. We’ll probably need to get some motorized digging equipment out there in the future to investigate further.

We corrected a maverick drainage situation that had developed during last summer’s heavy rains at the culvert we replaced last February. The drain now feeds into the culvert as planned.

We filled in about 20 feet of a large ditch that was washing away part of the railroad bed and built a major water bar to protect the bed from future damage. A lot of rocks and dirt had to be moved to get this repair done and required the effort of the entire work crew for a major part of the work time. It was a big accomplishment!

A small water bar was built at the top end of the “cut” located on the upper end of the Grand View Trail. There may be some additional attention required in the future to a few other water damaged locations.

Finally, on our way out, we repaired a rock step near the start (or end depending on which direction you’re heading) of the trail.

Getting ready to head up the trail

There was quite a bit of work to be done and our volunteers did a GREAT job! Thanks to all of them again and we hope to see you next month!

Horses on the Grandview Trail

We had a small welcoming committee greet us on the trail

Hauling rocks!

No time to admire the view!

For more great photos of the day, please check out our official Flickr page!

SEPTEMBER 2013 WORKDAY SUCCESS

We had another good turn out on our monthly volunteer work day! Again, we had 18 volunteers helping make the Bridal Veil Falls trail a nicer place to visit! We met up at the Harris Hollow gate and hiked in using a little shortcut that has been made available to Rails-to-Trails members only on volunteer work days. Heather Burman, the Forest Service representative, met us with all the tools and drove down and parked near the bottom of the access road. Heather took two volunteers and met up with Debi Maucione at the Switchback trail area to clear some fallen trees while the main crew work around the Bridal Veil Falls area.

A bunch of brush was cleared from beneath the falls area and several water bars were placed across the ramp leading up to the shelter area. The steps leading up to the shelter were cleared of mud and debris.

A couple of water bars were built across the trail uphill from the falls and a major water damage repair was done on the bypass immediately up trail from the Pinto site.

Water bar crew!

Surprisingly, most of the trails in the area were in pretty good shape considering the recent excessive amount of rain!  Thanks again to all our volunteers and we’ll see you next month!

Bridal Veil Falls

Bridal Veil Falls

Working around the shelter

Taking a break

For more great photos of the day, please check out our official Flickr page!