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  1. #1
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    Backyard trails during quarantine

    First week of quarantine was a little sloppy and I had other projects. Welp, the weather done got gorgeous and I'm itching to ride. The damn tourists are still swamping the local trailheads, and I'm just not willing to deal with that BS right now, considering most of them are from NY and FL, two states with more widespread outbreaks than NC. Hopefully the statewide stay-at-home order the governor announced today will start knocking back on the tourist population.

    Until then, I started on a trail in my yard. Something I began to envision before I even bought the place.


    0327201824 by Nate, on Flickr

    It probably won't be much more than rake-n-ride, because face it, traffic will be low. Once I get a full loop roughed in, I'll get to adding things to it. I've got a little bit of treated lumber floating around that I can use maybe for some drops or skinnies or something. I'll probably add some dirt pumps and berms later on, as I can get my hands on dirt. I also have permission from the HOA to build a path between the retention pond and the creek on the community land behind my house, so that'll technically be able to be part of my "loop" when it's all done, even though that part won't have any obstacles or anything on it.

  2. #2
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    I look forward to watching your progress.

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    We have been doing the same were on 5 acres and have 10 next to us to use also. This was the motivation to really get rolling on it. Up to 3/4 mile of trail, two creek crossings rocked in, little rhythm section with a couple jumps and berms. Some climbs, handful of punchy leg burning climbs.... Good workout trail so far, the one rhythm section is really fun.

  4. #4
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    I've got a small patch of woods on the side of my lot I cut a trail through this past summer. My wife wanted me to do it so she could walk there rather than the driveway. It's not really finished, the last 1/3 needs more work but far enough along that I ride through it when I'm riding to my local trail. There is also a smaller patch of woods behind us I could add to it, our driveway circles around in back so it would be used to get back there. And there's room on the side to add a return trail back up to the house. So I'm thinking now would be a good time to restart this project.

    My son uncovered a couple of really old fence posts that were buried in the English Ivy we are slowly removing from the area. I thought about using them for a log over then figured my wife would object. So I decided I'd just line a very short section of the trail with them. Then my wife suggested I use them on the trail, thought she meant along the side but then she said across to provide some additional exercise. Yes! They are bigger than typical fence posts and round, they'll still be easy to get over but will add a little interest to riding.
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  5. #5
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    It's a gorgeous weekend and the statewide stay-at-home order doesn't go into effect until monday and lasts for a month (there's a county-wide one in effect now). The trail systems are probably going to be hammered all weekend, but hopefully most of the tourists will start going/staying home after that.

    I'll be getting at least a little bit more work done on it this weekend. Lots of briars I have to hack through in the next section downhill from what I built yesterday. Eventually, I'm going to be needing to spray a good bit of herbicide. I've got a ton of invasive japanese honeysuckle growing in the areas where I'm building trail. The area where I put the trail yesterday is an area where I've been slowly turning into a shade garden. I've planted some understory trees, shrubs, and native forest wildflowers and grasses in there already and the trail snakes among that stuff. The trail also gives me some future direction to planting efforts, as well. I've got a definite brush pile there that I'll need to address to clean it up and make it look nice, since it's on the side yard and visible from the street.

    The first turn at the entry to the trail (off the gravel access road to the community well pumphouse) is a bit sharp and off camber and I think I'm going to give it a wider diameter today before I cut anything new.

    I think I'll be able to put a fun pump section along the back edge of my property. The land drops off fairly steeply back there to the retention pond and there's a solid 20-30ft of elevation change down to the high water line. I'm not going to put my personal trail down there, since my lot technically stops at the top of that slope, but I'll be able to use a couple feet of it to make some rollers without importing any material.

    The return line will initially just run on the street back, but I COULD use the slope up from my yard to the street for more dirt trail. I have longer term plans to build a natural stone "retaining wall" to ease the slope and cut down on some erosion issues I have right now, and I could easily design the return leg of the trail into that.

  6. #6
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    Cut a little more trail today, so now I have a little figure 8 track if I cut across the yard from the end to the beginning.

    I also did a little bit of finish work in some spots to make corners flow better by either widening the radius, or doing a little bench cut to get rid of an off-camber spot that was making certain spots a little harder than I wanted them.

    My wife also set out to excavating some clay from a problematic flower bed so we can fill it with topsoil, so that clay got donated to my trail project for a roller. Nothing big, but a little spot where I can pump right after I exit a nice, wide corner. There's also a little roller where I cross a little drain that the developers installed.

    I had left a log on the trail initially, as it was a good size to practice bunny hops, but I don't really have long enough straights at this point to use it. So I removed it because no matter where I put it, it just interfered with the general flow of the trail.

    I took a little walkthrough video so you can see what I have so far. I'll be continuing the trail to the left of the bluebird nest box right at the top of the slope as it runs along the back of my lot. That section should have some good natural rollers that I can pump on.


  7. #7
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    Nice!

    I also worked a little on mine, did some raking and trimming. But managed to break my loppers. And I remembered what I'd run into when working on it before. At the beginning, it passes through hardwoods, biggest challenge was removing the English Ivy. But then it gets into Pines and trying to rake a path through decades of pine needle build up is tough.

    All the ground in the first photo was buried in ivy. You can see I haven't cleared it on the sides in the second photo.

    Backyard trails during quarantine-trail_start.jpg

    Backyard trails during quarantine-trail_obst.jpg

    Backyard trails during quarantine-trail_pines.jpg

    That big tree on the right in the last photo is the first pine. Past there, the trail bears right and then loops around to the left where it connects to the driveway. No real elevation change to speak of; if I do build another section behind the house, there is a bit more slope but not alot.
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  8. #8
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    I have a LOT of invasive japanese honeysuckle. I will be spraying herbicide for awhile to knock it back. English ivuly is no joke. Doesn't grow as fast, but harder to deal with. Herbicide does not work well because of the waxy leaves.

    The greenbriers are going to be an issue for me. Native, but they grow fast AF, and I have a lot of them, especially along the stretch I built today. Can't dig them up in any practical sense. I did it once and learned that lesson the hard way. And they still came back because I missed some tiny piece.

    Thinning the trees should help in the long run, though. The ones left should be healthier, and the view from my deck should improve once I get the pole saw out to finish the trimming.

    I'm kinda curious how much trail I will be able to fit in my little loop. It's seeming right now that it will be a surprising amount.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold View Post
    I have a LOT of invasive japanese honeysuckle. I will be spraying herbicide for awhile to knock it back. English ivuly is no joke. Doesn't grow as fast, but harder to deal with. Herbicide does not work well because of the waxy leaves.

    The greenbriers are going to be an issue for me. Native, but they grow fast AF, and I have a lot of them, especially along the stretch I built today. Can't dig them up in any practical sense. I did it once and learned that lesson the hard way. And they still came back because I missed some tiny piece.

    Thinning the trees should help in the long run, though. The ones left should be healthier, and the view from my deck should improve once I get the pole saw out to finish the trimming.

    I'm kinda curious how much trail I will be able to fit in my little loop. It's seeming right now that it will be a surprising amount.
    Remedy/diesel/water mix knocks out most of the waxy greens. We have green briar here and that knocks the heck out of it.

  10. #10
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    I managed to get stabbed through my glove by greenbriar yesterday. That's some mean stuff.

    I could cross the driveway and return on the other side but it is a tangle of honeysuckle, forsythia, big pines and some very dense, low branched trees/bushes of some type. And I'd rather leave it as a screen as much as I can, though it is only a field on the other side, hopefully for a long, long time. I guess I could ask our neighbors if they would mind if I ride through there.

    Another benefit of making this trail is that it breaks the ivy clearing into sections that make the task seem more achievable. I cleared it off several trees yesterday.
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by jakerfreese View Post
    Remedy/diesel/water mix knocks out most of the waxy greens. We have green briar here and that knocks the heck out of it.
    I have a state pesticide applicator's license...Triclopyr is the standard for this sort of stuff. I don't like the idea of mixing diesel fuel with it to break through the waxy coatings. Diesel is not a nice thing to be applying to an area where you'd like other plants to grow and be healthy eventually. My goal is not to nuke everything in the area, but more to specifically target individual plants as much as possible.

    Also, Remedy is more for rangeland uses. Garlon is made for use in forests, wildlife habitat, and other non-crop areas. I've always used Garlon, since I was always applying it in natural areas. They're both the same active ingredient (Triclopyr), so the difference is going to be with the "other ingredients" that affect application and consistency and whatnot. I've always mixed Garlon with water and a surfactant specifically made for use with herbicides (I forget which ones, it's been awhile since I actually did veg control for work).

    I've not had as much trouble with greenbrier as with english ivy. It's not an introduced species, so my interest in spraying it just isn't there. I'd rather just chop it back at intervals until it expends the resources in its root system. Maybe do cut stump treatment on any particularly large vines that are more well established.

    This document provides some interesting discussion (more relevant for chaz) about controlling English ivy. I wasn't ever involved in any english ivy removal, but I was involved with discussions about it and with monitoring sites that had been treated previously.
    https://www.invasive.org/gist/moredocs/hedhel02.pdf

    Quote Originally Posted by chazpat View Post
    I managed to get stabbed through my glove by greenbriar yesterday. That's some mean stuff.

    I could cross the driveway and return on the other side but it is a tangle of honeysuckle, forsythia, big pines and some very dense, low branched trees/bushes of some type. And I'd rather leave it as a screen as much as I can, though it is only a field on the other side, hopefully for a long, long time. I guess I could ask our neighbors if they would mind if I ride through there.

    Another benefit of making this trail is that it breaks the ivy clearing into sections that make the task seem more achievable. I cleared it off several trees yesterday.
    Breaking up the total into smaller chunks does help things appear more achievable. What it also does is help cut down on re-infestation once you've treated an area. The trail gives you well-defined boundaries to keep the untreated areas from breaking back into the treated areas. Nice thing about greenbrier is that once you clear the old vines with the sharp, stiff thorns, the new shoots remain very pliable for awhile and the thorns aren't so aggressive.

    There's a pretty thick blackberry thicket encroaching into my yard in an area where I'll be building trail coming up, and that one's going to be tough. Blackberries are pretty tenacious. I've mowed a big chunk of that thicket down already, but I'm definitely going to need to keep up on it as the year goes on. I might run a tiller through the area where I route the trail tread to break up the roots and minimize regrowth...so that then the only thing I'll need to spray is the area adjacent to the trail.

    Wild Blackberries Management Guidelines--UC IPM

  12. #12
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    Local trailhead closures continue. This one is just the trailhead parking areas. It doesn't include the trails themselves, though I do know of a lot of places people will wind up parking where they shouldn't (including in some people's yards) to access the trails affected by this. I could probably ride here from my house, with maybe 5mi or so of pavement on each end of the ride, but it's not a good route so unless the roads clear out (they most definitely have not so far), I won't be doing it.

    Which brings us back to my backyard trail. I did some more work today.

    I hacked my way through some serious japanese honeysuckle mess and did a short bench cut. I also did a bit of tweaking on stuff I built before. There was one turn that just wasn't riding very well. A small tree on the inside of the turn made it next to impossible to lean into the turn to carve it well. So I cut that tree out and did some more branch trimming to open things up a bit. That corner rides MUCH nicer now, and you can carry a bit of speed through it.

    The new stuff I cut today will be part of a nice rolling section where the elevation will begin to very slowly gain some elevation back. I'm making it rolling so it's not a long, straight slog. If I do it right, you might even be able to treat this section much like a pump track.

    I also started riding what I've got both directions, and it turns out that it rides pretty well as a bidirectional trail. That should help keep it interesting. Especially since the return leg along the street (unless I take the street itself) will be a long time coming, as I'm going to integrate it into a natural stone retaining wall/landscaping plan.

    Hacking through the japanese honeysuckle is tiresome, though. There's section after the trail I cut today where I did clipped some larger shrubs/saplings but I'm going to need to pull out some powertools to get down to the soil before I can dig.


    0402201824a by Nate, on Flickr

    After I built this section, I decided that I'll probably do another meadow garden just to the right of the trail in this pic. My bluebird box is just out of the frame, and planting bunchgrasses and wildflowers will be good for the bluebirds.

  13. #13
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    Thankful for a place to work in my "Back Yard". Keeping the sanity during spring mud season. A little extension of existing trail in town that tours the old Slate Works, I found one more nice lost quarry to incorporate just down the ridge. Fun little roll-in along the rim of the quarry with a pumpy left-hander into this nice natural lip of ledge with some exposure, by eastern standards, on the right.

    A fantastic horizon line off the Prow, the back side was craggy and sharp with slate protruding the likely landing, so I smashed it down with a hammer, and filled out the backside with pilfered slate from the quarry.

    It should be a great roll-in floater, probably land back tire on the bottom of the rock pile.....1 to 2 bike lengths, potentially landing past the rock work, but the run-out is not wide open and the run in speed won't be much more than running speed. More timid riders can roll through left, right, or middle. Should finish this afternoon final lop, a few chainsaw spots, and a quick rake. Folding saw on the bottom crib rock for scale.

    Probably 20 hours total time invested scouting and working all said and done. Adds 30 seconds maybe to a 3 minute DH. New trail gets me stoked to ride.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Backyard trails during quarantine-20200401_115925.jpg  

    Backyard trails during quarantine-20200401_120422.jpg  

    Backyard trails during quarantine-20200401_120128.jpg  


  14. #14
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    wish I had big rocks like that in my landscape to incorporate.

    if there were any to begin with, I'm sure the developer sold them off, the way they sold off most of the hardwoods and left behind a bunch of ratty Virginia pines that like to snap in storms.

    the "return" leg of my trail running through the front yard will have some rocks, but I'll have to import them. THAT won't be happening during quarantine. Too much financial uncertainty, so money that was intended for house and yard work is going to mostly sit in the bank until this thing is over.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold View Post
    wish I had big rocks like that in my landscape to incorporate.

    if there were any to begin with, I'm sure the developer sold them off, the way they sold off most of the hardwoods and left behind a bunch of ratty Virginia pines that like to snap in storms.

    the "return" leg of my trail running through the front yard will have some rocks, but I'll have to import them. THAT won't be happening during quarantine. Too much financial uncertainty, so money that was intended for house and yard work is going to mostly sit in the bank until this thing is over.
    Yeah, I am luck to have this post industrial landscape to work in. Every steep hill has an old excavated network of forest, quarry, and farm roads from when the whole area was deforested the last time in the early 20th. Remarkably not too steep like most other area in Vt I have worked in. If I have to avoid wetness, it's never hard to route past a giant pile of old slate quarry tailing. Clay with slate chips turns out to be a pretty ideal soil type in all the the most wet conditions where clay starts to do weird shit with water. Expandable soils types are interesting, nightmare for engineers. The one down side is as we lose tread to general use inch by inch, these slate fins start to emerge. Every year I walk the network with a hammer and smash them down. Sometimes it's horrifying to see 3 inch tall slate ax heads sticking out of sections of high speed trail. General rule here for me is to not hit the ground.
    Last edited by DaveVt; 04-05-2020 at 06:08 AM.

  16. #16
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    all I got are some fist-sized granite cobbles. there's probably a few bigger ones scattered around, but don't feel like digging them up and leaving craters in my yard instead. maybe one day when I have a magical pile of extra topsoil laying around I can fill those holes with.

  17. #17
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    Today's progress. Added a couple of rollers. One of which is to cover a drain from my gutter that was exposed. Good solution rather than digging down to bury it and potentially damaging the roots of the tulip poplar I'd rather keep.


    0404201921 by Nate, on Flickr

    You're kinda climbing if you're traveling from left to right, but if you're coming from the right, they're very pumpable. Did some additional tweaks to a few corners to help them ride a bit better.

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    That is looking awesome! All our stuff is a swamp at the moment.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by jakerfreese View Post
    That is looking awesome! All our stuff is a swamp at the moment.
    I could use a bit of rain. Things are dusty and loose it's been so dry. Burn ban went into effect yesterday, too. A nice, soaking rain would let me check drainage and pack things down a bit better. My garden hose isn't long enough to reach most of the trail.

  20. #20
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    Oooh, awesome thread. I love seeing other people build stuff in their yard. Especially people that also dont have a huge property. It gives me hope, and ideas .

    Ive been slowly working on my backyard trail since almost exactly one year ago. Like others, now that the quarantine is here, Ive decided to dedicate the time I have every night after I put my kids to bed (7pm, theyre both under age 5) until sunset. That means Ive had about 30-45 min each night to get out and dig every day.

    Ive got a fair sized lot for a neighborhood home (just under 1 acre), but the only area Im using is against the property line, on a fall line down left side of my property from the garage down into the backyard.

    The trail is really short. About 15-20 seconds top to bottom, but it also has something like 25-30ft of elevation loss over maybe 250-300ft of linear distance of trail, so you can actually get going pretty quick in the one straightaway I have.

    The first photo is the very first day of digging. I'm standing at about the top of the trail there.



    The second photo is a few months later, when the first two switchbacks are roughly shaped, and the last turn is roughed out. The line of trees down the middle is the property line between my neighbor and I's lots (viewing the back of my neighbors house). Photo taken about halfway down the trail, when it was pretty overgrown. But it can serve as the "before" photo for now.


    I'll try to grab a photo tomorrow of the current status to upload. But I've reshaped/enlarged the two berms you see there, finished the half berm at the bottom.

    Off camera to the right, we lose about the same amount of elevation at a bit gentiler grade. And on that hill I've added a tiny kicker jump, and started shaping a catch berm at the bottom of the yard.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Backyard trails during quarantine-wp_20190322_14_26_19_pro.jpg  

    Backyard trails during quarantine-wp_20190514_20_14_29_pro.jpg  


  21. #21
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    Nice. I'm working on a shade over half an acre, but I'm also using as much of it as I can, rather than containing the trail to a smaller part. My lot is a weird shape. It's extremely wide, but not very deep at all. It also comes to a point on one side. I also have a decent amount of elevation change for a small lot, but the areas I've used so far have a pretty gentle grade. The steepest parts of my yard will be some of the last I work on, but I don't have enough space to work in switchbacks like this on them. I do have a couple wide, sweeping corners, though, and I continually work on them to make sure they ride well. I'm getting there.

    My property is pretty much surrounded by "community" land, which is basically just some property that has purposes that aren't building houses on it. It's nice for giving me a little extra space. I got permission from the HOA board last yr to build a path through it to sort of supplement the sidewalk you can see on the other side of the creek in my last pic. When I finish with the portion of my trail that runs through my backyard (the front yard stuff will have to wait for other much more expensive/significant landscaping projects), I'm going to start on that trail. It'll run along the creek from the street where there's already a dog clean-up station to a little foot bridge you can only see in my pic if you zoom in.

    It'll be something I can also ride on, but the primary purpose will be walking. It'll honestly also not even be dug into the dirt. I'm just going to rough the trail in and mow it. And maybe the landscaping crew the community hires will pass their commercial mowers on it.

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    Pretty much finished my trail last night and started roughing in the return with a swing blade (that's what I've always called them but I see they are know as a Double Blade Weed Cutter https://www.homedepot.com/p/Ames-Dou...5300/204476217 ) through the ivy. Earlier, I found a couple of big rocks so I added them to my rock crossing you can see in post #7 second photo (and that's an old 1/2 round log beyond that). The rocks are some my neighbor had purchased and dumped on my property before we purchase it but they had gotten buried under ivy.

    I was getting excited as I discovered a natural berm on one side of a pine tree but then realized I can't really get enough of an approach for it to be worth much. Mine is not a high speed trail at all. I also came across some more blueberry bushes. I wasn't 100% sure that's what they were and didn't see any flowers but they are heavily shaded and then I found one did have flowers.

    My lot is 1.17 acres. It's also weird shaped but deep and not wide, especially at the street. Starts out narrow and goes back, then widens where the yard and house is, then a shallow backyard and then a narrow strip extends back.
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    My lot is shaped somewhat like a trapezoid. Think a square, but with the top right corner aggressively lopped off. Its depth and width are almost identical, but the backyard is way narrower than the front (like 80ft vs 230ft). Its 0.97 acre iirc, but much of that is in the front yard by the street, or lost in our hills.

    I hear you guys on the blackberry thing. Last year I cleared a huge old patch of blackberry. It was roughly 20-30ft wife, and about 150-200 long. In places the stand was 12ft tall or more. It had a fair number of thumb to wrist sized saplings throughout it as well. I cut it all down by hand with a 26in blade length machete. That took some time.

    Currently my wife and I are trying to figure out the landscaping, so Im trying to keep the trail pretty well contained at the moment. In the future I may try to utilize more of the lot though, well see.

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    Cool stuff guys.

    I have a project going in my side woods. Dug a hole for the good dirt then filled the hole with top soil and a couple big pine stumps.
    Backyard trails during quarantine-img_20200324_165144-1400x1050.jpg

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by karthur View Post
    Cool stuff guys.

    I have a project going in my side woods. Dug a hole for the good dirt then filled the hole with top soil and a couple big pine stumps.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Thats going to make one heck of a berm.

    You have your own mini excavator? That certainly enables another whole level of trail building at home, thats for sure.

    Where are you getting the speed for that berm? Is that part of the project already done, or is it future work?

  26. #26
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    yeah, for sure, a mini ex enables some serious work. the work I plan to do along the steep slope in front of my house is going to involve a mini ex and some big boulders to shore up the slope. Not sure yet if it'll be better for me to rent one to place them or just hire someone to do the whole job. But considering that I want my trail to go through that landscaping, renting one may be the better course of action. That way I have more precise control over their placement.

    didn't build on my trail today, but I did ride it a bit after doing some bike maintenance.

    There's one particular corner that I think I need to inslope. It's rideable with the current outslope, but that outslope makes the trail a bit off camber and with the speed you can carry on it, that's a little sketch. I don't think an actual berm is warranted, at least. Just need to figure out how I'm going to get it to drain.

  27. #27
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    Welcome to the jungle

    Backyard trails during quarantine-jungle.jpg

    This was after I wacked thru with the swing blade yesterday. I spent about an hour today pulling up ivy vines that ran across where I had cleared. A ton of them hidden beneath the 4 inches of leaf litter.
    This post is a natural product. Variances in spelling & grammar should be appreciated as part of its character & beauty.

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    yeah that is a bunch of crazy ivy. I guess I am lucky not to have to deal with that here. But plenty of green briar.

    When I have done weed control work where I am not trying to just kill everything I use a sponge on the end of the spray wand and just wipe on the plant. Especially with the emulsified diesel. I have wondered about other natural oils like maybe vegetable oil instead of diesel. We have always used diesel as that was on the directions.

    This is one section we worked on the other day, I didnt get a picture of the creek crossing that is right behind me. I regret not putting drainage in the berm, I will have to do that soon.

    arg pictures wont upload

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    Quote Originally Posted by jakerfreese View Post
    yeah that is a bunch of crazy ivy. I guess I am lucky not to have to deal with that here. But plenty of green briar.

    When I have done weed control work where I am not trying to just kill everything I use a sponge on the end of the spray wand and just wipe on the plant. Especially with the emulsified diesel. I have wondered about other natural oils like maybe vegetable oil instead of diesel. We have always used diesel as that was on the directions.

    This is one section we worked on the other day, I didnt get a picture of the creek crossing that is right behind me. I regret not putting drainage in the berm, I will have to do that soon.

    arg pictures wont upload
    As I mentioned before, Garlon is better formulated for the kinds of uses we're talking about here than Remedy, even though they both use triclopyr in the same concentrations. Doing cut stump treatment works better if you use a MUCH higher concentration of the herbicide than you would use as a foliar spray (and really only works on stumps below a couple inches in diameter, anyway). Garlon can be mixed with oils like diesel/kerosene/whatever, but I always just used water, which is also on the label instructions for Garlon (though it doesn't look like it is for Remedy). Also mixed with a surfactant that's made for herbicide use to help it get into the cells. I sadly don't remember that particular product name.

    All that said, I don't use any of those products for home use with all of the storage, documentation, and inspection requirements that come with the state license. I just use whatever consumer products are available at the home stores with the particular herbicides I'm after. There's a "concentrate" tricopyr product I use for cut stumps. Not as concentrated as what I used to use, but better than the foliar spray. I've nuked a couple small locust trees with it. The products you get at the home stores are water/surfactant mixtures already, though sadly the manufacturers don't tell you what surfactants they use and some of them are actually more hazardous to people than the commercially available stuff.

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    Thanks for the info! I have some surfactant that is normally used on the hay fields and rangeland that I have used with it that's part of the reason we're using remedy as we're using it reclaiming ranch lands. I'll look to see if we can get Garlon here for when we're more in the forestry mode.

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    Here is a photo from today. I labeled it a bit to make it more understandable, as describing things in photos can be hard.

    As I said, its pretty short. You can pretty much see the whole thing from here. Those first switchbacks are tight. I've widened the opening/approach on it twice now, but haven't ridden it after the most recent change (Friday night).
    Backyard trails during quarantine-trail_highlighted_smaller.jpg

    Here is the little kicker jump. I may beef this one up over time. But currently I suck at jumping, so some of the goal here was to have something I could session and get more comfortable on .

    The slope here is less than it is up by the switchbacks, but still pretty steep.
    Backyard trails during quarantine-kicker.jpg

    And here is the berm I've been working on lately. Its coming along, but still needs to be beefed up before using it. Also, that log there... is much larger than it looks in the photo. It comes up to mid chest on me, and I'm 6'1". I'm thinking I could maybe use it as a logride? Or maybe an option to ride up on top of it and drop/roll off on a skinny?
    Backyard trails during quarantine-wallride.jpg

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    Quote Originally Posted by ocnLogan View Post
    Thats going to make one heck of a berm.

    You have your own mini excavator? That certainly enables another whole level of trail building at home, thats for sure.

    Where are you getting the speed for that berm? Is that part of the project already done, or is it future work?
    Yeah, I bought "Bella" new after shopping for a used one for a while. These things really good their value. I couldn't find a used one with a wide bucket and a hyd thumb. By the time I added those things to a used machine the price was within a couple k of a new one. If you buy new equipment in December they will almost give you the extras. I got it with a hyd. thumb and a 36" bucket for 3.5k less than I was quoted for a bare machine in June

    This a flow trail line that comes off of my pump track, which is behind the point the picture is taken from. My takeuchi is actually sitting on a table top behind the future berm. That table top is part of my "normal" trail system. So you can ride the pump track, hit the flow trail, then jump to or fro between it and the normal system. The trail behind excavator leads to the wooden table top I made.

    So thankful to have the space right now.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jakerfreese View Post
    Thanks for the info! I have some surfactant that is normally used on the hay fields and rangeland that I have used with it that's part of the reason we're using remedy as we're using it reclaiming ranch lands. I'll look to see if we can get Garlon here for when we're more in the forestry mode.
    Also, take note that there are multiple formulations of Garlon and you'll want to pick which one based on what you're looking to control and where.

    https://riversedgewest.org/sites/def...lon3A_4FAQ.pdf

    I used 3A most of the time, and occasionally did the Milestone add-in for foliar spray, particularly on shrub lespedeza.

  34. #34
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    between this thread and berm creek videos I wish I had more property.... nice work guys, keep it up.
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    Quote Originally Posted by karthur View Post
    Yeah, I bought "Bella" new after shopping for a used one for a while. These things really good their value. I couldn't find a used one with a wide bucket and a hyd thumb. By the time I added those things to a used machine the price was within a couple k of a new one. If you buy new equipment in December they will almost give you the extras. I got it with a hyd. thumb and a 36" bucket for 3.5k less than I was quoted for a bare machine in June

    This a flow trail line that comes off of my pump track, which is behind the point the picture is taken from. My takeuchi is actually sitting on a table top behind the future berm. That table top is part of my "normal" trail system. So you can ride the pump track, hit the flow trail, then jump to or fro between it and the normal system. The trail behind excavator leads to the wooden table top I made.

    So thankful to have the space right now.
    Thats a really awesome resource for sure .

    Did you buy it for trail work, or was it something else? And what size is it?

    I rented a 12k lb excavator with a thumb for a bit over a week to help shape/grade/landscape our yard (was new construction, so there was zero landscaping when we moved in). So while I'm no pro with one, I've got about ~50 machine hours with one. Its astonishing now much work they can do.

    And it sounds like you've got a fair bit of land to play with, which is great. I'm currently trying to keep the yard normal looking on my end, but maybe in the future I'll try to incorporate a pump track or something fun like that.

  36. #36
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    No photos today, as nothing really looks any different.

    Last night I tuned up the roll in from the driveway, smoothed out the arc of the turn in the second switchback berm, added a few wheelbarrows full of dirt to the bottom catch berm, and worked on digging a drainage trench that I hope to turn into a french drain under that same berm.

    The old roll in from my driveway was pretty off camber. Its now "more" flat. The second berm used to have an inconsistent diameter around its radius. I'd beefed up the berm there with a few wheelbarrow loads of dirt on the outside, and that let me smooth the arc of the turn a bit.

    Before I do much more on the catch berm on the bottom, I may need to go get some piping to lay under there. Which means I may delay things a bit. Not entirely sure on that.

    Hope everyone elses trails are coming along nicely .

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    I've taken a couple days off of mine. the bluebird box I've been working around has eggs, so I'm giving them a little bit of a break from dealing with people. also, I'm sore from some workouts I did yesterday.

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    Finally got around to resizing them, uploader would not tell me why it failed.

    You come down off the hill, hit the little jump, into the berm, jump on the way out. I need to get back to hammering the grass down under the trees. That and move the horses back to this side to eat it all down. Ill have to get some of the creek crossing pictures, that is working pretty well.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Backyard trails during quarantine-img_20200326_193852488.jpg  

    Backyard trails during quarantine-img_20200326_190604984_hdr-1-.jpg  


  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by jakerfreese View Post
    Finally got around to resizing them, uploader would not tell me why it failed.

    You come down off the hill, hit the little jump, into the berm, jump on the way out. I need to get back to hammering the grass down under the trees. That and move the horses back to this side to eat it all down. Ill have to get some of the creek crossing pictures, that is working pretty well.
    Yeah, mtbr doesn't seem to like even moderately sized images. I had to shrink mine by 25-50% to get them to work as well :/.

    So you jump directly into the berm, as in landing right in there? That looks like fun.

    And not sure about you, but I'm finding that berms always take way more dirt than I think. That, and what looks "about right" before you ride it, is usually like 50% smaller than I want when I ride it.

    Which means I need to move, and significantly increase the size of the catch berm I'm working on. So I guess that berm is my "gym membership" for the time being.

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    I'll have to get a better picture, yes your jumping down the hill and landing down the slope right before the berm, then there is the little jump after the berm. I intentionally have overshot the landing which puts you within about 2' of the apex, the berm is tall enough that you can still just hammer it in there and make it. If you land on the down hill slope and not scrub speed you can launch it on the second jump. After the second jump there is an off camber turn that you have to check up a bunch, as if you miss that one your in the creek. I think another berm is going to get built there. If you hit the first jump correct and carry your speed through the berm and second jump your having to hammer the brakes to not wind up in the creek.

    I have a skid steer to help.... Even with it there is still a bunch of work. But it's fun as can be!

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by jakerfreese View Post
    I'll have to get a better picture, yes your jumping down the hill and landing down the slope right before the berm, then there is the little jump after the berm. I intentionally have overshot the landing which puts you within about 2' of the apex, the berm is tall enough that you can still just hammer it in there and make it. If you land on the down hill slope and not scrub speed you can launch it on the second jump. After the second jump there is an off camber turn that you have to check up a bunch, as if you miss that one your in the creek. I think another berm is going to get built there. If you hit the first jump correct and carry your speed through the berm and second jump your having to hammer the brakes to not wind up in the creek.

    I have a skid steer to help.... Even with it there is still a bunch of work. But it's fun as can be!
    Sounds like a lot of fun . For some reason I have always liked the sensation of jumping directly into a turn. And it sounds like your system does just that. It sounds like you need to get that second berm built though, as slamming on the brakes as soon as you land from a jump is never fun (thats actually a bit of what I have at the moment).

    And I'm jealous of you guys with equipment to help move dirt. My lot is just large enough to give me the idea of what actual property would be like... but just small enough that it makes no sense to own a tractor/excavator/skid steer/etc.

    Last night I moved my catch berm out by a few feet. Took about an hour of shoveling, but after all this sitting around while working from home, I probably need the time digging to not turn into jabba the hutt :P.

    Previously the berm just started too far to the left (had to almost do an "S" turn just to hit the start of it), and the radius was too tight for the speed that you carrying right there. So I moved it forward a few feet, and made the radius larger (not as tight of a turn).

    Right now, I think I'll be able to use that giant log in my backyard as the high point of the berm, as long as I can figure out drainage.

  42. #42
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    Great thread Harold, hoping to get some inspiration for my own backyard trails.
    I added some new ones in the Fall, mostly rake and ride to start but now with so much extra time at home I hope to add some more features this year to make them more interesting.
    I've got 20 acres to work with, very hilly with 2 creeks so lots of potential for interesting loops.
    I look forward to seeing what the rest of you are building this summer!
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Backyard trails during quarantine-newtrail2.jpg  

    Backyard trails during quarantine-newtrail1.jpg  

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  43. #43
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    Spent the last few nights moving the catch berm at the bottom of the trail.


    Here is after the before picture I posted last time. After trying to ride it, I found that the berm was starting way too far to the left, and the radius was way too tight for the speed you carry there. It wasn't really rideable at anything close to trail speed.
    Backyard trails during quarantine-wallride.jpg

    And here is the updated version from tonight. The berm has been brought out like 5-8ft, radius enlarged greatly, and its taller than it was before. We'll see how it feels sometime soon.
    Backyard trails during quarantine-catchberm.jpg

    Still have to figure out something to do with the giant rock there. I may just burry it, and make a shark fin/kicker there, as I'm not sure I can move it (unless I get a bunch of guys with big levers out here).

  44. #44
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    Finally got a chance to get out and dig some more on Saturday.

    After a bit more work, I got the log berm feature to finally work, and rode it a few times. I got tire tracks almost all the way on top of it, which was a nice feeling.

    Backyard trails during quarantine-20200412_012929232_ios.jpg

    I'll have to get an updated photo of it, as its different than my last post, and different than what you can see from my gopro screengrab above (the burried logs at the end were a failed attempt at shark fin/hip, that are now gone).

    It took a few approaches, and tweaks to the berm to build up the confidence to do it, but with it complete, the backyard trail finally feels like a trail, with an actual feature now, and an ending that doesn't involve slamming on the brakes immediately after a jump.

  45. #45
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    I haven't worked on mine much in the past several days. I've been pretty busy with other projects. But, some insane rain the other day has given me an opportunity to assess how my trail drains. We got 3 inches overnight (and I live in one of the drier spots in the region!) so I could see where drainage was working really well and where it wasn't. I have a couple spots to work on before I cut new tread, that's for sure.

    One of the things I did was I bought a new truck late last week. 2019 Ford Ranger XLT.


    0414201328_HDR by Nate, on Flickr

    I got the spray-in bedliner (Rhino Lining) done this morning.


    0414201327 by Nate, on Flickr

    I've already used it to use larger batches of mulch around the yard (I got 6yds delivered last week) because my "drop zone" is at one far end of the property, whereas some of it is needed on the complete opposite end. Using the truck to move it was a bit easier than doing a whole bunch of little cartloads at a time.

    I'm already hatching an idea to use the truck to pull a great big oak tree trunk out of the community property behind my house and integrate it into my backyard trail as a big "skinny". I'll have to hack through a bunch of thorny brush to access it, but I should be able to put the truck in 4 lo and pull it out of there. Hopefully a neighbor has some nice, heavy chain I can borrow for the job.

  46. #46
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    I've made some progress on mine. It is cut all the way through and I've pulled up a ton of ivy; got more to pull.

    The way it goes is: cut the route thru with the swing blade. Go through and pull up all the ivy vines crossing the path. Get the garden rake and start raking, which immediately gets hung up on more vines. Rake lightly to get the leaves out of the way as best as possible. Pull up more vines. When you pull a lot of them, you find they are running under other vines that then need pulling. Then you try to rake again and it snags on more vines. I did cut down a few very small trees. I'm sure I'll need to dig them out at some point.

    It's cleared enough now that I could ride the new section but I haven't yet. I'm thinking if I cut a trail in the backyard, I might just swing blade it and see if I can get it cleared to a rideable surface and not worry about getting all the vines out at this point; I'd rather concentrate on ivy removal in the front at this point.

    Backyard trails during quarantine-new_trail_01.jpg

    Backyard trails during quarantine-new_trail_02.jpg

    Backyard trails during quarantine-new_trail_03.jpg
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    Good stuff guys. I'm blessed to have more property, but I know guys who have done projects at their homes. Making a short track that's both interesting to ride and makes sense with the landscape is tough.
    Well my days of not taking you seriously are certainly coming to a middle.

  48. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by MOJO K View Post
    Making a short track that's both interesting to ride and makes sense with the landscape is tough.
    I'm glad I have what I do. None of my previous homes had enough elevation change to make things interesting, though I did have some woods at one former home (I was just too busy then to do anything with them).

  49. #49
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    I did finally get out and ride my trail last weekend. I combined it with my driveway, which goes around behind the house and also loops in front of the house so I can figure eight. I rode for an hour, 3-3/4 miles and a lot of laps. I was very happy with the new trail section. I've also enjoyed walking it everyday.

    Backyard trails during quarantine-front_trail.jpg

    Backyard trails during quarantine-back_trail.jpg

    Backyard trails during quarantine-home_course.jpg

    I drew out the route; the strava map was just a big blob. Still eyeing the woods in back and have walked it several times and pulled some ivy off some of the trees.
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  50. #50
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    Awesome work Chazpat .

    Like you, my trail is super short. The downhill portion is ~0.04 - 0.05mile (according to the GPS), which means its somewhere in the ~215-265ft range. Approximately 30ft of elevation loss from the top of my trail to the big log berm.

    However, I've connected it to a county access road that borders my property, which then takes me to the road, which I then take to my driveway, and start the whole thing again. Each full loop is ~0.15miles or thereabouts.

    I did about 3.5 miles last Saturday, with about 700ft of climbing. I should really ride it more, but its more riding than I'd be able to do otherwise with things locked down, so I'm happy with it.

    The first few berms are shaped well enough that they're actually pretty decent practice at carving tight turns. I'm trying to get my laps in to see if I can learn to stay off the brakes and actually commit to the turn.

    Stay healthy out there everyone .

  51. #51
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    I haven't worked on mine (or ridden it) recently. got a persistent case of poison ivy. now that the PI is leafing out, I see why. %$%^#$&#&$^$%# There's more of it than I expected and it's time to hit it with herbicide.

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    I'd posted a while back, but here's some of our continued progress -- did a lot last summer and have spent most of this year cleaning up / improving things.

    Just finishing up with a few new things on one of the alternate lines, but haven't had a chance to take more photos during daylight.

    https://photos.google.com/share/AF1Q...RDUFI0Y1NrS0l3

    For reference, the area of the yard with features is roughly 70x140 ft. & 1 lap around the full backyard is ~0.1 miles.

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    Building Trails

    i started building trails on my property a couple of years ago by hand and quickly went out and bought a micro x, Bobcat E10. I am working on my third trail now and won't quit till I run out of acres. I'm only three miles from the entrance to Pisgah Forest. Since the lockdown, I have built two backyard trails for others in the area and know of a few others that are doing them by hand. I'm waiting for them to call.
    https://youtu.be/jwC1NRaGtY8

  54. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by TimTucker View Post
    I'd posted a while back, but here's some of our continued progress -- did a lot last summer and have spent most of this year cleaning up / improving things.

    Just finishing up with a few new things on one of the alternate lines, but haven't had a chance to take more photos during daylight.

    https://photos.google.com/share/AF1Q...RDUFI0Y1NrS0l3

    For reference, the area of the yard with features is roughly 70x140 ft. & 1 lap around the full backyard is ~0.1 miles.
    I was wondering when you'd show up. I like how you incorporated the climbing wall in, I hadn't seen that.

    I cut my backyard section thru a couple of weeks ago. Rode it and was disappointed.

    There is a fallen tree that I can't get over, even with adding a piece of firewood on both sides (need a bigger diameter). My bike straddles it with the chainring badly hitting and there is an oak tree about 8 feet past it that makes it awkward from either direction. I replaced a few deck boards from our upper balcony recently so I'm going to make a little ramp to get over rather than cutting it. After looking at it and laying out some boards, I cleared the trail a little more to one side and the ramps will be angled at the top so that you cross the tree at an angle rather than perpendicular for better flow rather than immediately having to get around the oak. I'm sure I could get over it with some practice but having to go over it and again and again would get old fast.

    And I decided the curve at the bottom is too tight a radius. I had planned to make a looping "W" where the trail crossed itself but have decided I need to just make it a big "U" instead. I recut it this morning with a greater radius and cleared a lot of it.

    Here is the log:

    Backyard trails during quarantine-backyard_trail_log.jpg

    This is pretty much the lowest point on the trail and uphill from here. It's a bit of a rise, especially close to the oak you can barely see on the left. The trail came down headed right toward the oak but I shifted it so that it's more of a straight shot now.
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  55. #55
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    Oh my word Tim, you get the Dad of the Century award!

  56. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by ki5ka View Post
    Oh my word Tim, you get the Dad of the Century award!
    and most understanding wife award as well.
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    Quote Originally Posted by chazpat View Post
    and most understanding wife award as well.
    It's a give and take -- her approach is generally to let me have the rope to hang myself on as long as I keep the features on the back third of the lot behind the garage, give her a heads up for what I have planned so she knows where to plant, and let her have veto power for new ideas. (She did turn down my idea to try to build some miniature golf holes that doubled as features)

    What she doesn't let me get away with is leaving things undone -- if I get started on something, she's going to make sure that I get it finished ;-)

    Currently working on moving another load of wood chips from the driveway -- after that, I think the next phase of things is going to be to do a ninja warrior course... maybe with a small playhouse on top...

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    So I mostly lurk, but because of the stay at home orders I finally got around to cutting our first downhill course. Its a hair under half a mile and loses over 200 of elevation. Most of my riding is XC but Im slowly building my skills. As a Clyde and over 50 Im still not very good, but riding this trail 2-3 times a day is giving me more confidence. Were already building our first tabletop. Our agreement is if were still regularly riding it this time next year well buy full squish.

    My other stay at home task has been to teach myself video editing. Im making better progress at that when I look at this video vs what I am making now.

    https://youtu.be/sPS-Lr2_x1U

  59. #59
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shibumiseeker View Post
    So I mostly lurk, but because of the stay at home orders I finally got around to cutting our first downhill course. Its a hair under half a mile and loses over 200 of elevation. Most of my riding is XC but Im slowly building my skills. As a Clyde and over 50 Im still not very good, but riding this trail 2-3 times a day is giving me more confidence. Were already building our first tabletop. Our agreement is if were still regularly riding it this time next year well buy full squish.

    My other stay at home task has been to teach myself video editing. Im making better progress at that when I look at this video vs what I am making now.

    https://youtu.be/sPS-Lr2_x1U
    Nice little trail! And good job with the voiceover.

    I got my reroute cleared and I finished my little ramps over the log last night. It's kind of funny, looks overdone with the ramps over such a small tree but the tree just was not in a good place to get over and I didn't want to have to grind my chainring over and over on a ride. I walked and measured the total trail twice, including the original section plus an extension at the bottom, the new loop in back and once around the driveway loop and got just under 1/3 mile and just over 1/4 mile. I need to do a little reroute of the extension as it's too close to my blackberry patch*.

    I'd like to film it but I don't have an action camera and wouldn't use one enough to justify buying one. I may attempt a phone record just to see how bad it comes out. Just thought about it, I have a mount and tripod and Premier so maybe I'll try just recording it all from static positions.

    *yes, I actually did plant blackberries, though they may be dewberries. The land next to me has a big patch of berries that are different than the ones that grow wild around here. I suspect someone planted them a long time ago (there's also an ancient fig tree). I transplanted some up-shoots onto my lot a couple of years ago and will get my first berries this year.
    This post is a natural product. Variances in spelling & grammar should be appreciated as part of its character & beauty.

  60. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by chazpat View Post
    Nice little trail! And good job with the voiceover.

    I got my reroute cleared and I finished my little ramps over the log last night. It's kind of funny, looks overdone with the ramps over such a small tree but the tree just was not in a good place to get over and I didn't want to have to grind my chainring over and over on a ride. I walked and measured the total trail twice, including the original section plus an extension at the bottom, the new loop in back and once around the driveway loop and got just under 1/3 mile and just over 1/4 mile. I need to do a little reroute of the extension as it's too close to my blackberry patch*.

    I'd like to film it but I don't have an action camera and wouldn't use one enough to justify buying one. I may attempt a phone record just to see how bad it comes out. Just thought about it, I have a mount and tripod and Premier so maybe I'll try just recording it all from static positions.
    Thanks!

    While the GoPro is nice, my iPhone 8 is doing a pretty good job making videos. The big thing is having another person to act as camera operator.

    This route braids around the driveway all the way down and our next step is to put in a second run that braids the other way so at each road crossing youll have a choice of trails. We have about four miles of existing logging roads on the Ranch and the long term goal is to make all of them bike friendly with features that go off the sides.

  61. #61
    since 4/10/2009
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    I need to get back to working on mine to finish the segment along the back property line. I got out a few weeks ago hitting a lot of invasives (and poison ivy) with herbicide. It takes awhile for tricopyr to really hit stuff, but I got a better kill rate than I expected. The trail has really started blending into the landscaping pretty well. On the next stretch, I'm going to be cutting a lot of small locust trees as I go. It's an early successional spot that they just LOVE, and they're thorny biatches that I want to keep distance from. I want to be able to mow and ride the trail without being slashed. At least they're black locusts and not honey locusts. It could be worse. I'll also be cutting out a bunch of virginia pines. They're fine as they are, but I don't like them close to the house. They grow crooked and tend to break in storms, especially if they're out in the open and not protected by other large trees.

    I found a nice, fairly inexpensive native seed mix that I'll be using moving forward, I think. Strong growth should minimize the brushy crap.

    https://roundstoneseed.com/construct...ssion-mix.html

    I'll be allowing selected trees/shrubs to persist. I like the tulip poplars that grow here, though I'll thin them out. There's also a nice shrubby willow already there. I'll probably be adding a few others like river birch and other trees that like stream/drainage edges as I can get them cheaply (or free).

    It'll be a lot more pleasant riding my trail along attractive native plants than a bunch of invasive junk.

    After the stuff in my yard is done, it'll be time to find a route through the community land along the creek. I'm not going to dig that part down to the dirt. Instead, I'm just going to mow it/trim it wide for general neighborhood use. I'll be able to use it as a return to the start of my personal trail, but I'm sure a lot of my neighbors will walk their dogs on it. There's some kids in the neighborhood I'm sure will use it, too.

  62. #62
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    I added 2 inches of dirt to the peak of one of my jumps and get a lot more air now!

  63. #63
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    Rode my trail this evening. As I figured, Strava on the bike measures it a lot less than walking. The reroute runs well, much better than the original cut. And the little bridge makes it flow much better and gives that nice wood sound as the tires roll across it. I'm thinking I might cut some additional lines in back to give some options, though I don't have much more room.
    This post is a natural product. Variances in spelling & grammar should be appreciated as part of its character & beauty.

  64. #64
    since 4/10/2009
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shibumiseeker View Post
    I added 2 inches of dirt to the peak of one of my jumps and get a lot more air now!
    I've been getting some extra dirt from my rain garden project (LOTS of digging). I didn't build any jumps, but I did build some rollers to pump, and I've been adding some of my extra dirt to the rollers.

  65. #65
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold View Post
    I've been getting some extra dirt from my rain garden project (LOTS of digging). I didn't build any jumps, but I did build some rollers to pump, and I've been adding some of my extra dirt to the rollers.
    I usually lock the bike at the bottom of the trail and walk back up the driveway or the trail. Then the next time I drive my truck up and down I stop and shuttle the bikes up. If I have a little more time to walk the trail instead of the driveway I do a little work each time, smoothing out the rough spots, moving a little dirt to the rollers or the jumps or trim some brush out of the way. I keep the tools down there just for that.

    So at this point I'm really just working on it a few minutes at a time.

  66. #66
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    Made this pile of dirt the other day.
    Backyard trails during quarantine-img_20200614_164543_copy_1400x1050.jpg

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