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  1. #1
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    Flat land trails on my property-open to suggestions!

    my farm is flatter than flat, with some farm ground, some prairie and some timber. I've got two kids who are getting into bike riding and we also have a 4 wheeler they ride around. I plan on chronicling my progress via this thread, and invite any suggestions. My main problem is that I dont have a lot of variation other than around 2 of my ponds which are right together. I've been needing to build a tide wall around the bank of the smallest pond, and since the water is so low right now, I am jumping in with that, and also some bridges across the boggy side of it. For those who arent familiar with the wood, it is what us local rednecks call "hedge", but the more common name is "Osage Orange" or french "Bois D'arc" (wood of the bow) as the Osage indians used it almost exclusively for that purpose.
    At any rate, it is the most naturally rot-resistant wood in our region, and generations-old fence posts still remain intact to this day.
    Enough history, I am going to post some pics! Thanks for looking, and any ideas on flaring up a flat-ass riding trail, shoot.
    First shot is coming in from the open prairie trail, and a jump over a small berm that was built to divert water years ago.
    second shot is the excavation for my tide wall to stop the bank erosion, and lessen the pitch of the pond bank/trail.
    The other pics are the other end of the pond, where I have bedded a large hedge log to serve as the footing for the first stretch of bridge.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Flat land trails on my property-open to suggestions!-top-trail.jpg  

    Flat land trails on my property-open to suggestions!-tide-wall-footer-1st-bridge-004.jpg  

    Flat land trails on my property-open to suggestions!-tide-wall-footer-1st-bridge-001.jpg  

    Flat land trails on my property-open to suggestions!-tide-wall-footer-1st-bridge-002.jpg  

    Flat land trails on my property-open to suggestions!-tide-wall-footer-1st-bridge-003.jpg  


  2. #2
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    can't wait to see more progress pics as you continue work.

    my first thought when i saw the pics was definitely some sort of bridge over part of the water. sounds like you've got something like that planned. how long is that bridge gonna be?

    you probably saw Trail Ninja's sweet bridge pic in the other thread:

    Backyard Trails

    are you gonna buy planks or cut your own from that wood on your land? seems like a ton of work but you seem to have the required chainsaw skills and the look of something built all-natural is priceless.

    good luck

  3. #3
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    Well, those are good questions I dont have answers for yet! it may actually be a couple of different bridges. I need to check grade on the overflow and get some grade stakes set. I was also contemplating getting some RR ties just for ease and speed, and the fact that I dont have that many big hedge trees that are easy to get to. For the deck, I have some rough cut oak in my shop that is a full 1" thick by 12" wide that I thought of using, but I hate to put a lot of work into anything with untreated wood.
    I did see the trail bridge in the other thread. Ninja is a craftsman. Im a rough carpenter!

  4. #4
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    Flat trail is hard to build. Getting the subtleties of drainage is going to be the hard part as well as avoiding soil that stays saturated and boggy (eg near the ponds). There's always a way. In the pic of the bench near the water, you have left the upslope edge vertical. While most builders will say to angle it off to avoid cascading water damaging the tread, you might be best leaving it that way for a while to locate subsoil water movement (springs) and then you can address them locally with armouring, rolling grade dips and maybe elevated tread and drains if not in a bridge area. Looking forward to seeing more.

  5. #5
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    Ridparadise-good ideas. I am going to get the transit on that overflow and get some grades shot along the tide wall/retaining walls. Not sure if I was clear, but that vert. Shelf is to be lined w logs as an erosion control feature. Red, hard clay- hard to work with! Thanks!

  6. #6
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    is this all gonna be shovel work or you have any machinery? i tried to put together a simple small banked turn about a month ago and that bit of shovelling alone was a pain. hope you've got some help or a sturdy back.

  7. #7
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    Hand built trails rule

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ridnparadise View Post
    Hand built trails rule
    I have a device that can access the total knowledge of man. I use it to look at pictures of cats and argue with strangers.

  9. #9
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    I'm involved in building a trail in a new county park that has something like 20 of gradient top to bottom. It's so flat that when it really rains the water just sheets downhill, not even in the 'gully'.

    And it gets submerged every spring for at least a couple of weeks. So I've put some thought into the same topic.

    When it's really wet out, like after several days rain, go out and flag around the areas that have collected water. Not the obvious ones, that you can always notice, but the less noticeable depressions that end up soggy while areas nearby are relatively firm. Knowing where these spots are when you lay out your line will save you lots of work later in trying to firm up soft trails. Sad to say I learned this trick the hard way.

    Is there anywhere around that you can scrounge rock? Our site is almost rock free, but within 50 miles there are a bunch of spots where we can get rocks - hand movable size only, though. Any that you can get will be a bonus. We've used some for armoring, and have some saved for making some short rock garden features.

    Same deal with logs - whatever sizeable logs you can get can be made into features. A little imagination and some skill with a chainsaw can make a good sized log into a great tech feature. We're also using onsite logs for turnpikes across a couple of moisture susceptible areas.

    Build skinnies as a way to add interest. The easiest and least material intensive wood feature, they can be a lot of fun. I made some using treated wood, like landscape timbers for the stringers, and then decked them with oak scrounged from pallets (yeah, it's not that thick, but only spans 8" so is plenty strong). Be imaginative where you put them - like between trees or over logs. Same thing with small ramps

    Good luck, looking forward to seeing your progress.

    Steve Z
    Pedaling when it's dry
    And paddling when it's wet

    My insignificant blog:
    http://swampboy62.blogspot.com/

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by lowpolyjoe View Post
    is this all gonna be shovel work or you have any machinery? i tried to put together a simple small banked turn about a month ago and that bit of shovelling alone was a pain. hope you've got some help or a sturdy back.
    I've got a tractor and front end loader, but its big, and id end up in the pond in this spot. Going to be mainly by hand, and Im not going to worry too much about how pretty it is. I used to have a landscaping business, and owned a skid steer, and wish I had it back. To answer Steves question, I do have odds and ends of rock laying around that I collected, from old foundations, jobs, etc. I will find some of those flat ones to put into the soft spots.
    I would like to find about a 24" log to rip and make a skinny my kids would be able to handle.
    Thanks for the ideas!

  11. #11
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    I got some more done on my tidewall and started on my bridge. Also got lazy on hunting and cutting big enough hedge logs, and used some old powerline poles I had. Post pics later, havin trouble.
    Last edited by bayoulee; 09-17-2012 at 07:40 PM. Reason: Add pics

  12. #12
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    I got lazy and used these old power poles. Also cut some rebar to pin the landscape timbers to the footers.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Flat land trails on my property-open to suggestions!-power-poles-bridge-pond.-002.jpg  

    Flat land trails on my property-open to suggestions!-power-poles-bridge-pond.-001.jpg  

    Flat land trails on my property-open to suggestions!-power-poles-bridge-pond.-003.jpg  

    Flat land trails on my property-open to suggestions!-power-poles-bridge-pond.-004.jpg  


  13. #13
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    Looking good. That's pretty quick progress on your tidewall. What did you cut the rebar with? Can bolt cutters do the job or you run a cutoff saw or something?

    FYI a bunch of your pics posted sideways ... not sure if that's how they look when you preview them before posting. If you're using a fairly modern version of Windows you should be able to right-click a pic, select Preview, then use the little "Rotate Clockwise" and "Rotate Counterclockwise" buttons on the bottom of the preview screen to quickly remedy that.

  14. #14
    I build my own.
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    Looks like he cut the rebar with a torch.

    I like the tide wall. It reminds me of a feature a friend built called the "shallow grave". He buried the logs at different heights like you did and then rode along the tops of them. If you have that much Hedge, you can add all kinds of wood features like that. Teeters, wood rollers. I've always wanted to float a trail. I never had a swamp that was suited to it. All the water I had was fast moving.

    Does Osage split into boards well like red cedar or is it too knotty and twisted? I understand it's at least as rot resistant or better than cedar.
    I have a device that can access the total knowledge of man. I use it to look at pictures of cats and argue with strangers.

  15. #15
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    I cut the bar w torch. Will use cutoff saw next time. Thought I could get more pointed w torch, nope, you can't split the hedge (like for rails). It is very knotty. Occasionally, you'll see an old, old one that's huge and straight but noine on my farm. I've heard of guys taking those to the sawmill and having lumber cut. I would love to make some of these events you all tell about. Worked more tonight but can't post pics off phone.

  16. #16
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    I'm jealous.

    Clay aggregates work well.

  17. #17
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    Here is the latest progress.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Flat land trails on my property-open to suggestions!-second-tier-bridge-pond-001.jpg  

    Flat land trails on my property-open to suggestions!-second-tier-bridge-pond-003.jpg  


  18. #18
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    I like it!

    Will that center log float if it needs to? Looks like it will. It looks like some sort of post just inland from that log. If so, and you were concerned about that section floating away, you could attach the log to the post with a bar so it could raise and lower but not move sideways.
    I have a device that can access the total knowledge of man. I use it to look at pictures of cats and argue with strangers.

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