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Thread: Trail Smoothing

  1. #1
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    Trail Smoothing

    I have a pretty good trail system made in my woods but it is all very rough and rooty. I am working on a mile loop near my house trying to make it a smooth flowy type trail anyone can ride and maybe get a friend or two hooked. Lol. Slow but satisfying work.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Trail Smoothing-img_20181231_092450-1125x1500.jpg  


  2. #2
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    Looks like a sidewalk.
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    Thanks, I'll take that as a compliment, my Mom is in her low 70s and loves biking and being in the woods, trying to make this bike able for her.

  4. #4
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    Are you doing this on public land? Do you have approval to do this? Any support for your local mtb advocacy group?
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  5. #5
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    So, youíre building a road? I donít understand. Plenty of folks already hooked on roads.


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    I am modeling this trail after stuff I ride in Pocahontas state park. Its going to be smooth but not flat. It will be full of features, but all of them rollable. Yes it is MY PRIVATE PROPERTY but I forgot to ask myself for approval. LOL so ya got me there. Here is a picture of a berm section. The picture is old and it now has a jump into the first berm, a jump from first to second and a jump out.

    Hunting season is done this weekend so I can get out of the stand and back to trail work.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Trail Smoothing-img_20181111_160925-1125x1500.jpg  


  7. #7
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    Look sweet. You clearly have machinery at your disposal. Should be releatively easy work but will take time.
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    Looks awesome to me! Where I ride it's all rock gardens, roots, rock walls, tight, tech, etc. I love the riding around here but your 'flow' trail would be a welcome change as we don't have anything like that. Where did you say your backyard was (lol)?

    Very cool you can get your 70 y/o mom out there!
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    I'm 54. If your mom wants company, have her give me a call. I'd ride that with her!

    (pretty nice you're keeping your mom in mind!)
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    Quote Originally Posted by karthur View Post
    Yes it is MY PRIVATE PROPERTY but I forgot to ask myself for approval. LOL so ya got me there.
    Well, unless you have some multiple personality disorder and one of your alter egos is likely to call the cops for trespassing, or sue yourself for getting injured, I think you'll be OK.
    No dig no whine

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by twd953 View Post
    Well, unless you have some multiple personality disorder and one of your alter egos is likely to call the cops for trespassing, or sue yourself for getting injured, I think you'll be OK.
    That wasnít clear from his original post

    Actually knowing itís private property, go for it. And awesome you like to ride with your mom. Not many of us have that option!
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    What's you rainfall for the year? Seems like it's low and will just cup the water.

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    This subsoil drains really well. It's what the septic people look for to approve a drainfield. Lol. There might be a couple places in between rollers that I need to raise but probably not. The woods are thick so it takes decent rainfall before the ground even gets wet.

    I live in a flat area 65ft from highest to lowest point on land. This on higher land. The small sections I've done like this in the past are good to go a day to 3 days after rain. It's not as deep as it looks because the box blade spills alittle out the sides. I will probably put an angled scraper blade on to pull that back in. So it's really about 3inches below the top of leaf surface. One inch or leaf matter and 2 or dirt I guess, now I have to measure. Lol.

    All that is really to say it probably drains/drys faster than the surface dirt. If definitely rides faster, which really matters if you don't have hills.

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    Good to know. Check out something called rolling grade dips, sheds the water off the trail and slows it down.

  15. #15
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    You'll only get trail so smooth with a machine. As you're noticing, it tends to pull up a lot more roots than the other common "new builder" option, just raking all the leaves/pine needles out of the way. The fastest way to deal with all the loose roots is take a set of long handled pruners (loppers) and cut those roots out - by which, I mean stick the blades down in the ground and cut the root loose far enough back that it doesn't stick up.

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    I'll try some loppers, been using the tractor ripper to expose then them, then cutting em with a hoe. I haven't hoed or packed this section yet. Just took a pick where I finished for the day.

    I need to load up a pic of an area I've finished and packed. I really don't think it can get any smoother.

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    What are the other "new builder" options? I've made many trails with a rake, then upgraded to a backpack blower, and they are nothing like this...

  18. #18
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    Just get Mom better suspension.
    This post is a natural product. Variances in spelling & grammar should be appreciated as part of its character & beauty.

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    Maybe I should buy some gravel and a gravel bike for it Or maybe its so my wife and I can skip down the trail while holding hands. lol

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    Quote Originally Posted by sturge View Post
    Looks awesome to me! Where I ride it's all rock gardens, roots, rock walls, tight, tech, etc. I love the riding around here but your 'flow' trail would be a welcome change as we don't have anything like that. Where did you say your backyard was (lol)?

    Very cool you can get your 70 y/o mom out there!
    Thanks! She puts me to shame with the miles she does both walking and biking. If you have actual hills or mtns you'll be pretty disappointed with riding around here.

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    We had 2.5 inches of rain over Thursday and Friday. The trail sections I have worked down to mineral dirt were packed and dry. The black topsoil sections we're still slimy and wet in some sections. Even though it is at a higher grade it is wetter. I got alot if work done today. The rogue hoe helps the tractor do it's thing. This is about the biggest root I'll use it on.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Trail Smoothing-img_20190106_140712-1125x1500.jpg  

    Trail Smoothing-img_20190106_140709-1125x1500.jpg  


  22. #22
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    Oh, you can see the soil texture there. Nice sandy tidewater loam.

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    Man, I'm in the same boat as you. Hunting season is over and I started cutting in new trails on my private property this past weekend. I need you to come do mine for me. Hahahaha. So far, all I've done is cut a trail through the woods about 5'-6' wide, maybe half a mile. I own a 2WD tractor and various implements, but the woods are so thick it doesn't seem feasible to make the trail wide enough to fit a tractor. Good for hunting, not so good for building a trail with machinery. Looks like my trails will just be natural, hand built stuff. I'm also building mine fairly mellow, with optional routes to hit some future wood obstacles. Need to keep mine fairly safe for my four year old to learn off-road skills on in the future.

    Any advice for building cool stuff?

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    Quote Originally Posted by MX9799 View Post
    Man, I'm in the same boat as you. Hunting season is over and I started cutting in new trails on my private property this past weekend. I need you to come do mine for me. Hahahaha. So far, all I've done is cut a trail through the woods about 5'-6' wide, maybe half a mile. I own a 2WD tractor and various implements, but the woods are so thick it doesn't seem feasible to make the trail wide enough to fit a tractor. Good for hunting, not so good for building a trail with machinery. Looks like my trails will just be natural, hand built stuff. I'm also building mine fairly mellow, with optional routes to hit some future wood obstacles. Need to keep mine fairly safe for my four year old to learn off-road skills on in the future.

    Any advice for building cool stuff?
    Just make it, if you don't like it change it. Sometimes a smaller tractor is better. I'm doing this with a MF1010. Only 16hp, 2wd and turf tires, its amazing what you can do with a low gear ratio! and knowing what to stay out of. lol.

    The tractor is really good for this, because the tightest turn it can make without using a wheel brake ends up being as tight of a corners as you would want on a MTB.

    I know this looks like a superhighway right now, but give it a couple months of leaves falling and it'll be back to looking like single track, with only the tire line worn in and visible.

    As far as wooden features go whatever you do don't put pictures on the forum. You will be blasted for not building something that will last 100yrs. Lol. Watch and see💣

    This has been alot of fun. I have since made the take off steeper for more height and less distance.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Trail Smoothing-img_20181025_182730-1125x1500.jpg  

    Trail Smoothing-00021xtr_00021_burst20181028134609%7E2-1500x1125.jpg  


  25. #25
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    Your woods and dirt look dern near identical to mine. Lots of young growth with medium sized pines. My soil is a dark sandy loam like yours as well.

    I won't be building my wooden structures to last 100 years, so who cares what the folks on the internet think. This is going to be used for my personal use, so if it lasts another 30 years, that would be great. I plan on making all of the wooden structures from timber that I cut off of the property. My daughter and I (well, really just me) built a prototype bridge in the yard about a week ago using fallen trees from the most recent snow storm and 2X4's that I had laying around. It worked out pretty good. My daughter loves it, but is still scared to try to go over it on her pedal bike. She's only 4, so she'll hopefully grow into it. If all goes to plan, I'll really only need to buy the treated 2X4's for the tread on the structures on the trail.

    Hoping to get about half a mile of trail fully built this winter with structures and all, and keep adding to it until I possibly get a 2 mile or so loop on the property. I don't really have any big hills or anything, so I'm going to really just try to make it a fast and fun trail that's safe.

    How do you work in the tread in the sandy soil? Just clear the leaves, shape up what needs to be shaped up, and ride it in?

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    These woods were logged in 2002 and just now are starting shade out the smaller undergrowth. I had a crazy trail system before that.....big ol trees.

    All my other trails are just made with backpack leaf blower(like this one originally) and hand pruners/folding saw. They hold up just fine, but they get very little use other than me, so I walk em with the blower a few times a year. I don't think a 4yr old could ride them though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by karthur View Post
    These woods were logged in 2002 and just now are starting shade out the smaller undergrowth. I had a crazy trail system before that.....big ol trees.

    All my other trails are just made with backpack leaf blower(like this one originally) and hand pruners/folding saw. They hold up just fine, but they get very little use other than me, so I walk em with the blower a few times a year. I don't think a 4yr old could ride them though.
    That's what I was planning to do with mine. Cut the trail in, blow everything I can off with a backpack blower, rake/shape up the trail where it needs it, and then start riding it in. Once I ride it a few times, I'll know exactly where the place all my jumps and obstacles.

    As far as my daughter goes, I'm not really expecting her to be able to ride it anytime soon. I'm hoping by the time she's big enough for a 20" bike she might be able to get through some of it good enough to have fun. If not, I'll have fun on it and she can grow into it if she wants.

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    Awesome. That's a good plan. I like to leaf blow first. Just "dodge, dip, duck, dive and dodge". If your building in the spring or summer blowing the leaf crap off really cuts down on getting ticks. In the summer time I HATE(and there has to be a special reason to) to step off of my blown trails.

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    Quote Originally Posted by karthur View Post
    Awesome. That's a good plan. I like to leaf blow first. Just "dodge, dip, duck, dive and dodge". If your building in the spring or summer blowing the leaf crap off really cuts down on getting ticks. In the summer time I HATE(and there has to be a special reason to) to step off of my blown trails.
    I got plenty of ticks and chiggers to deal with too man. Hoping to get a lot done this winter while it's cold, but it's been so wet here the leaves are going to be hard to blow. Hopefully it'll dry out some soon, but I doubt it. Will probably just wind up cutting until it dries out.

    If you have to work in the summer, sawyers permethrin spray on all your clothes works wonders on keeping the blood suckers off here in my neck of the woods.

  30. #30
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    The trail you're doing on your land is very cool Karthur.

    That thread title though really got me going!

    Too funny.
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    Quote Originally Posted by life behind bars View Post
    looks like a future creek.
    ftfy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheDwayyo View Post
    fify
    Yall are WRONG

    Water is gone and its good to go the next day. We've had plenty of rain recently, on top of one of our wettest years. I appreciate the concern though. As long as I don't get down to the clay layer there is no problems.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Curveball View Post
    The trail you're doing on your land is very cool Karthur.

    That thread title though really got me going!

    Too funny.
    Thanks! I thought the title might do that, I should have put something about ebikes in it though to really get the clicks. lol

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    Quote Originally Posted by karthur View Post
    Yall are WRONG

    Water is gone and its good to go the next day. We've had plenty of rain recently, on top of one of our wettest years. I appreciate the concern though. As long as I don't get down to the clay layer there is no problems.
    Even in that first picture? It's literally cupped by more than an inch. I see no reason to do it that way and even if you're not seeing drainage issues now it is still not the proper, sustainable way to do it. That section could be rake and ride with little difference in rider experience.

    Your other pics look great though, I'm pretty jealous you've got private property to build on!

  35. #35
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    This is thrilling. No really, I love this post and want to bury the thrilling one.

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    I'm excited to have a new piece of equipment to hopefully try tomorrow before it starts raining. Sometimes it hard to decide whether to build or ride when you have limited time!

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    Made this Saturday. It's fun. 30ft from start to finish, pumping it really builds up speed. Tools shown we're used for this project. Hoping I can use feature to learn to jump and land riding a manual.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Trail Smoothing-img_20190119_171913-1500x1125.jpg  

    Trail Smoothing-img_20190120_161908-1500x1125.jpg  


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    Nice!!! My daughter has told me she wants to build a "bridge" on our trail this weekend. Planning on just making a 6' or so tabletop jump out of wood. She can ride over it, I'll jump it.

    I was thinking this week maybe I could get a buddy to bring me a dump truck load of good dirt from a job site if he can get it for free, then using my ATV and my dad's small dump trailer to take the dirt to where I want to build a jump. Seems that might be easier than trying to squeeze my tractor into the woods to a high spot where I can rob dirt from. Did you scrape all that dirt up into a pile with the box blade and then shape it up with the tools, or did you dig it all up by hand?

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    I pulled and piled the dirt with the tractor then used hand tools to shape it up, it was still a good core work out.

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    I got some stuff done Saturday and drank some beers. I have done more than this but it is hard to take pictures of dirt that show whats actually going on. The middle picture is an example of this, closest to me is the last of 11 rollers 1.5ftish hit and 12ish feet apart peek to peek. Plan is to build 40 of em in a row. Over a quarter of the way there!
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Trail Smoothing-img_20190202_142448-2000x1500.jpg  

    Trail Smoothing-img_20190206_075319-1125x1500.jpg  

    Trail Smoothing-img_20190202_142243-1125x1500.jpg  


  41. #41
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    Looking good to me!
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  42. #42
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    You can drag a heavily weighted, wide "I" beam chained to the tractor. I've seen modified and heavily weighted harrows that are very helpful in correcting trail imperfections such as cow hoof damage, etc. Scrapes the highs, fills the lows.

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    Thanks! If I lengthen the toplink the box stops cutting in and just glides over letting dirt fall into the low spots. Here is a pic of my rhythm section from the other direction.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Trail Smoothing-img_20190207_191144-1124x1499.jpg  


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    -Has anyone suggested a plate-compactor yet???
    A Burlap-Tarp & Plate-Compactor do amazing things for Flow Trails
    "There's two kinds of people in this world - Walkers and Talkers." Which one are you?

  45. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by DMFT View Post
    -Has anyone suggested a plate-compactor yet???
    A Burlap-Tarp & Plate-Compactor do amazing things for Flow Trails
    Tell me more! I just got a plate compactor for the weekend for my project. What is this burlap and Tarp you speak of?

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    This is all I've got done so far on my trail. Still have a little leaf blowing, cutting, and dirt work to do, but hopefully I can get some good Saturday work days in now that I've got all of my winter traveling out of the way. Keeping my fingers crossed for less rain.

    Trail Smoothing-img_4064.jpg

    Trail Smoothing-img_4066.jpg

    Trail Smoothing-img_4068.jpg

    Trail Smoothing-img_4070.jpg

    Trail Smoothing-img_4065.jpg

    Trail Smoothing-img_4067.jpg

    Trail Smoothing-img_4069.jpg

    Trail Smoothing-img_4071.jpg

    Trail Smoothing-img_4072.jpg

    As you can see, I don't have a ton of steep downhills, so I'm planning on adding some rollers and wood jumps/tabletops on the of the trail that fall slightly.

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    I like it! I have thought about getting a compactor, I'm not sure what my next equipment purchase will be. It's on the list of options thought. I got some stuff done this weekend I'm happy with.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Trail Smoothing-img_20190209_171405-1124x1499.jpg  

    Trail Smoothing-img_20190210_103908-1124x1499.jpg  

    Trail Smoothing-img_20190209_172236-1124x1499.jpg  


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    I've been making progress by hand. Its been too wet to do anything with the tractor. I haven't had time to resize and post the pics here, but you can check em out @ https://www.instagram.com/keitharrrthur/ I'll get them loaded up here eventually.

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    We just added this little "smoother" to our arsenal of tools at our advocacy group. It's an expensive little bugger but instrumental in providing the necessary compaction of lifts when working new sections or rebuilding older section of trail and berm work. It's allowing us to walk away from a finished product that we don't really have to worry so much about people riding it immediately after the work in most cases.


    Trail Smoothing-20190222_152858.jpg

  50. #50
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    How about some video?

    This is called Zack's Needle. There's room for an 800mm bar between the tree and the rock, but you have to square up right on it. A lot of people will walk this.
    https://www.instagram.com/p/BueBp_Kln5y/

    This is Two Stories. It doesn't look it, but the low spot the rider goes into is about two stories below where he comes into view. If this isn't your style, there's a ride around....
    https://www.instagram.com/p/BucXrWOFEnm/

    It's a good idea to let people know what they're getting into. Being able to ride the qualifier doesn't mean you can ride everything on the 4ish miles of advanced trail past it, but it lets you know things just got harder than they were on the intermediate trails.
    https://www.instagram.com/p/BubuWdolQ04/

    Finally, it's fairly well known I like rock gardens. This trail is going to come to a shade over 8 miles, and at least 60% of it is either on rock, or is actually a rock garden of some type. Here's a look at one of my favorites from the intermediate trails.
    https://www.instagram.com/p/BuZ8fmdFt_0/

  51. #51
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    Great videos Cotharyus!

  52. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cotharyus View Post
    How about some video?

    This is called Zack's Needle. There's room for an 800mm bar between the tree and the rock, but you have to square up right on it. A lot of people will walk this.
    https://www.instagram.com/p/BueBp_Kln5y/

    This is Two Stories. It doesn't look it, but the low spot the rider goes into is about two stories below where he comes into view. If this isn't your style, there's a ride around....
    https://www.instagram.com/p/BucXrWOFEnm/

    It's a good idea to let people know what they're getting into. Being able to ride the qualifier doesn't mean you can ride everything on the 4ish miles of advanced trail past it, but it lets you know things just got harder than they were on the intermediate trails.
    https://www.instagram.com/p/BubuWdolQ04/

    Finally, it's fairly well known I like rock gardens. This trail is going to come to a shade over 8 miles, and at least 60% of it is either on rock, or is actually a rock garden of some type. Here's a look at one of my favorites from the intermediate trails.
    https://www.instagram.com/p/BuZ8fmdFt_0/
    Very cool. You have much different ground conditions than where I am working.(Major Understatement)

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    I am selling my tractor and a couple other pieces of equipment. Trying to decide on replacing it with one of these. https://www.jansenusa.com/product/mi...ansen-mb-1500/ or spending the same $$ or slightly more $ on a mainstream brand used piece of equipment. I have talked to a couple people that own the Jansen and are happy with them, but they have only had em for a year or so.....

  54. #54
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    Those video were great! Trail looks awesome!
    2020 Turbo Levo Comp
    2019 Strive CF 8
    2018 Farley EX 8

  55. #55
    NTX
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    Man the trail is looking real good! I started a small trail last year and just finished it up a month ago. Itís a ton of work for one guy to do.

  56. #56
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    Thanks!
    I've been slowly plodding along. Mainly been working on the pumptrack I'm building at one end of the trail. Close to the house. Here are some pics, I need to take some news ones, I've made more progress since taking these.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Trail Smoothing-sketch-1554473622219-1400x786.jpg  

    Trail Smoothing-img_20190315_074955-1050x1400.jpg  

    Trail Smoothing-img_20190311_184314_956.jpg  

    Trail Smoothing-img_20190228_084838_914.jpg  


  57. #57
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    I have a mini-ex for the 3day weekend. Hoping to finish the flowtrail loop and get some other dirt moved!

  58. #58
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    I've been working hard on the pump track and the end is in sight. Should have something to be proud of done this week. Its awesome having it in the woods for the shade but the splotchy light makes it hard to take photos that turn out looking good.

  59. #59
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    I just want to stay this is awesome. Hope to do something similar someday.

  60. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by MarcusBrody View Post
    I just want to stay this is awesome. Hope to do something similar someday.
    Thanks! It's hard work but I enjoy doing it. Here are some more shots of the pump track I've been working on when I have time. Sometimes before work sometimes after.











  61. #61
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    The first two pictures are my close berm and the jump out of the berm.


    The next ones are of my far berm. It has two rollers in the berm and a jump out into another berm. The picture after the one with the bike resting on the berm, is a picture back in the direction the first was taken from.(if that makes any sense)!

    Last picture is the bike parked between one of the many rollers. I have all the dirt piled for the other half of the loop, I just need shape with a rake and then compact. I'm buying a plate compactor this weekend

    For some reason I can't get the pictures and the text in my post to line up like I wish, oh well.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Trail Smoothing-img_20190918_190140-1400x1050.jpg  

    Trail Smoothing-img_20190918_190113-1400x1050.jpg  

    Trail Smoothing-img_20190918_182814-1400x1050.jpg  

    Trail Smoothing-img_20190918_182839-1400x1050.jpg  

    Trail Smoothing-img_20190918_183039-1400x1050.jpg  


  62. #62
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    I worked on this triple humper before work this morning.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Trail Smoothing-mvimg_20191007_073324-1400x1866.jpg  

    Trail Smoothing-img_20191007_074006-1400x1866.jpg  

    Trail Smoothing-img_20191007_074029-1866x1400.jpg  

    Trail Smoothing-img_20191007_074051-1866x1400.jpg  


  63. #63
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    30yrds and one big berm is all that is left to finish the pump track up.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Trail Smoothing-img_20191013_160009-1050x1400.jpg  


  64. #64
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    Making this berm taller. One of the few spots I can't dig around because my power line runs under here.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Trail Smoothing-img_20191026_072657-1400x1050.jpg  


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