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  1. #1
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    Question for the experts: Creeping Baby Head defense?

    In the TX hill country, this is what I have to deal with. Making the trail itself isn't hard, but those rocks are going to be constantly flowing down the slope and on to my tread. I'm open to any ideas.

    edit - I actually do enough hiking that clearing the trail is not as big of a deal as I thought it would be.

    The first picture is the general state of the hill side. The second is a particularly troublesome spot. I want to cut a trail from the opposite side of the wash toward where I took the picture. Yeah, right across the river of baby heads. When I'm done, I want it to be done, not require maintenance after every rain. Yearly maint. would be acceptable.

    I have access to T posts and I could buy stakes. Could I pound these into the ground and lay juniper trunks across them, forming a kind of protective berm?



    Last edited by Schulze; 10-29-2017 at 11:58 AM.

  2. #2
    FatBike Fiend
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    Is it just rocks you are trying to control, or are there seasonal mud flows too? I'm not a big fan of metal T posts in the backcountry but your idea of a barricade would work -- for a while -- although it wouldn't be pretty. If it's just rolling stones, you could dig a ditch/catch basin above the tread to intercept most of the errant baby heads. You'd probably have to clean it out once a year or so. Or just outslope the tread a bit more than usual, say 7 - 10%, so the rocks would tend to roll across without stopping.

  3. #3
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    No mud flows. Our hills are limestone with a veneer of clay like soil. There are harder seams of limestone sandwiched between softer seams. This gives the hill a step profile with the exposed harder layers constantly crumbling and sending these rocks down the slope.

    Outsloping is something I hadn't thought of. That's a pretty good idea.

  4. #4
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    I agree with outsloping with the tread being as narrow and offcambered as reasonably and safely possible. Most of the bigger stuff rolling from a distance should pass right over due to momentum.

    The idea of making it as zero-maintenance as possible is a good one. Building barriers and swales needing annual cleanouts would likely get annoying after a while.

  5. #5
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    just go through there and toss the rocks. done, blam. at least in the top pic.
    Keep trying to do the awesomest thing you've ever done.

  6. #6
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    Oh, they'd be back.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Schulze View Post
    Oh, they'd be back.
    Seems to me that such rocks are just part of the local terrain. Design the trail to keep speeds down so you reduce the risk of people hitting loose stuff at high speeds and eating $hit. Put fast sections of trail in places where you don't have problems with these.

  8. #8
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    Every changing terrain is fun. It looks like there's enough room between the rocks to maneuver, so I wouldn't do that frequent of maintenance except for the really big ones. I think putting in any sort of barrier or adjusting the trail now would take more time than it takes to simply hike the trail twice a year with a hockey stick.

    Hell, do an organized "kick a rock" hike once a year. Get a lot of people, bring beer, walk the trail, kick rocks off the trail.
    "a hundred travel books isn't worth one real trip"

  9. #9
    bigger than you.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold View Post
    Seems to me that such rocks are just part of the local terrain. Design the trail to keep speeds down so you reduce the risk of people hitting loose stuff at high speeds and eating $hit. Put fast sections of trail in places where you don't have problems with these.
    This. Just ride that jawn.

  10. #10
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    Use a rock crusher attachment on a skid-steer and crush those baby! (Damn, that sounds harsh). You would create fine-ish material with native rocks. That 3/4minus will stay there and resist sheet flow way better than just removing the larger rocks and exposing the fine clay, that will wash away at the first major rain storm.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QQ1PHf5MGUg
    I build trails for moose & beaver
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  11. #11
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    I've hiked the Texas hill country.

    "In the TX hill country, this is what I have to deal with. Making the trail itself isn't hard, but those rocks are going to be constantly flowing down the slope and on to my tread."

    I think this is your reality and you may need to embrace it. Pretty similiar to where I am.

  12. #12
    FatBike Fiend
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    Quote Originally Posted by HypNoTic View Post
    Use a rock crusher attachment on a skid-steer and crush those baby! (Damn, that sounds harsh). You would create fine-ish material with native rocks. That 3/4minus will stay there and resist sheet flow way better than just removing the larger rocks and exposing the fine clay, that will wash away at the first major rain storm.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QQ1PHf5MGUg
    Wow, that's pretty cool, I hadn't seen those before. The noise must be horrible, though. Do they make a smaller size for a mini trackloader?

  13. #13
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    Noooo, I deny reality and substitute my own! lol

    I appreciate everyone who took the time to give input.

  14. #14
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    Well, these ideas may be impractical or too obvious, but here goes- Route the trail at the top of the slope or in the trees below the rocks. Route the trail on the flatest portion of the rock slope as possible. Lay limbs lengthwise above the trail to catch at least some of the rocks. Dig a small trench above trail and place larger rocks in it to form a little wall to catch rocks. Toss as many rocks from above trail as practical. Where I live, there are lava caps full of scree and and loose rock, and all those techniques are useful.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wildfire View Post
    Wow, that's pretty cool, I hadn't seen those before. The noise must be horrible, though. Do they make a smaller size for a mini trackloader?
    Mark, while FAE offer smaller attachment, you still need some good hydraulic flow to be efficient. I would not attach that specific version to anything smaller than 50hp. Red Rhino offer "stone crusher", much like what you would find in a large mine, but available for smaller machines. Sustainable Trails (Ontario) have one.

    Quote Originally Posted by bpressnall View Post
    Well, these ideas may be impractical or too obvious, but here goes- Route the trail at the top of the slope or in the trees below the rocks. Route the trail on the flatest portion of the rock slope as possible. Lay limbs lengthwise above the trail to catch at least some of the rocks. Dig a small trench above trail and place larger rocks in it to form a little wall to catch rocks. Toss as many rocks from above trail as practical. Where I live, there are lava caps full of scree and and loose rock, and all those techniques are useful.
    Many good tricks in there. Thanks!
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  16. #16
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    Six months later, and I did the first couple of loops yesterday on the completed the 6km singletrack loop on my property!

    It's hard to believe that working a few hours in the evenings, one dude chainsawed, hacked, benched, and raked every meter of it.

    This forum helped a lot.

    In the "river of rocks" pic in the original post, I ended up routing about 20 yards down hill where there was less slope. It makes the climb out longer but the trail is more stable. Incidentally, the baby head sized rocks are not the danger, it's the marble sized gravel that's just big enough that the knobbies won't grip.

    Some parts of the trail feel too "tight". Being new to this, I'm learning how the idea translates to the riding experience. I have a list of areas to improve for flow. But overall it's going to work out.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Schulze View Post
    Six months later, and I did the first couple of loops yesterday on the completed the 6km singletrack loop on my property!

    It's hard to believe that working a few hours in the evenings, one dude chainsawed, hacked, benched, and raked every meter of it.

    This forum helped a lot.

    In the "river of rocks" pic in the original post, I ended up routing about 20 yards down hill where there was less slope. It makes the climb out longer but the trail is more stable. Incidentally, the baby head sized rocks are not the danger, it's the marble sized gravel that's just big enough that the knobbies won't grip.

    Some parts of the trail feel too "tight". Being new to this, I'm learning how the idea translates to the riding experience. I have a list of areas to improve for flow. But overall it's going to work out.
    Sounds rad! Post up some photos man!

  18. #18
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    I got it ride-able, but is it good enough for the internet? Perhaps in a few months.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Schulze View Post
    Six months later, and I did the first couple of loops yesterday on the completed the 6km singletrack loop on my property!

    It's hard to believe that working a few hours in the evenings, one dude chainsawed, hacked, benched, and raked every meter of it.
    Good on you!!!

    I have a couple of miles of "Private Reserve" trails. A lot of work, but it's deeply rewarding.

  20. #20
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    I just mapped out an outer loop of an additional 4.55 miles. It's going to be a huge project, probably 18 months to get ride-able and another 6 to finish off.

    Combined with the other loop (but not taking advantage of all of it) the total big loop will be 7.5 miles. Not bad for a workout.

    One spot over a creek needs a bridge. There are some old mobile homes on the local craigslist for a good price. The frames are 50' long. That will be good.

    I'll also need to design some ways to get over a 4' barbed wire fence. I want to be able to ride unimpeded no matter if the field gates are closed for grazing rotation.

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