Saturday, April 22, 2023

Happy Earth Day from Woodsend Ave.

It was a good morning for a work party at Woodsend Trail.  We had a heavy turnout of volunteers, including a large number of Shelton High School students doing a community clean up for Earth Day.  I think that we had 26 people split up into 3 work groups handling different tasks.


High School students with Silvia from Shelton Youth Service Bureau after digging in the trail. 

And this week we tried to match up what people in each group was doing with the tools they carried in.  Rocket science eh!

One Group had it easy.  They had to go about a half mile down into the woods, empty a bunch of 55 gallon drums filled with rocks and dirt.  Bonus;  the lids of the steel drums were welded shut, so they had to be cut open first, in order to empty the rocks and dirt.  But they persisted, and then hauled the drums, plus tires, a steel plate, a truck hood (which had been cut up by Mark and Luis earlier in the week), and taken a half mile back uphill to Woodsend Avenue for pick up by the City next week.

Ethan and Noah hauling a tire up to the pick up site on Woodsend Ave.

They also made some improvements to a stream crossing, and cut brush along the way.

Group Two got to do some digging and dirt hauling.  They made improvements to the earlier benching in the hillside from the switchback to the stream crossing.  The high school students go to use pick mattocks and rock bars to excavate the upper side of the trail and bench it in better.  

The students digging in the trail along the hillside.


Other volunteers hauled 5 gallon buckets of soil down to improve the treadway thru the boulderfield.   

Some of the students after benching the trail into the hillside. 

The trail after all the soil had been placed in the treadway thru the boulders.  Much better footing now.

Group Three went to cut barberry and did out skunk cabbage on the end of the trail below Sinsabaugh Heights.   Now that everything is leafing out areas of trail that were formally clear are sprouting skunk cabbage and other vegetation.

 The pile of debris hauled out to Woodsend Ave.

All in all it was a very good work party.  All the goals were accomplished, there were no accidents, we didn't roll any boulders downhill into Route 110, and everyone go to appreciate leverage and teamwork.  Lots of improvements got done and some long standing junk and trash in City open space were removed.  Thanks to Terry, Noah, Ethan, Sam, Logan, Brianna, Gabby, Ellen, Emily, Caitlin, Dimitri, Ryan, Silvia, Luis, Anne, Elaina, James, Tommy, Serenity, Daniele, Ivy, Ralph, Mike, Marcus, Teresa and Bill.  .

Saturday, April 8, 2023

Woodsend Trail Boulder Rolling

Saturday was clear and crisp; a great day for a trail work party at Woodsend Trail.  And we got a great turnout.

We had 22 volunteers to continue clearing the trail, digging it into the hillside, cutting up debris, and moving boulders.  Which is good, because this is a new trail, and it requires a lot of work.

The trail volunteers had a number of tools to choose from.

 Ralph was cutting brush, roots, and vines along the treadway.

Luis and Mark had gone in earlier to cut up a metal truck cap.

We split into multiple groups; some cut roots and brush along the trail tread, some benched in sections of trail, and some headed down to work on the boulderfield crossing.  

With the aid of physics, some strong rock bars, and some strong backs we moved a number of impressive boulders out of the trail tread - visit the Shelton Trails News and Events page for some videos.  I think it became personal between Graham and one of those boulders, but we moved it.  James and Tommy moved some pretty impressive boulders, and walked some of the bigger slabs into safer locations along the trail.  Having multiple rock bars helped.  We tried to work carefully, and move the boulders slowly into pre selected locations, so they wouldn't get out of control.  We were pretty safe and did not roll anything down into Rt. 110, or get any fingers or toes mashed.

But, even with all the precautions, sometimes accidents happen.  There was one mishap when one person took a tumble into the boulders, but luckily it resulted in just some scraps and bruises.

Trail Safety Tip:  Plan for unexpected bumping from co-workers and always have stable footing to move to in a hurry.  Also wear heavy boots and keep your fingers and toes out from under rocks with using pry bars, in case the rock slips.  Be aware of you co-workers and keep the downhill work areas clear of volunteers when moving large objects that can roll.

After moving the large rocks, smaller rocks were placed together to stabilize trail edges, fill in holes of chink wobbly rocks.  Bodie is packing in smaller rocks along the trail edges.

Other volunteers then excavated the dirt into 5 gallon pails and brought it downhill to fill in holes between the boulders for a safer tread.
And they succeeded. 

Where once you had to guess where the trail was between the boulders, now there is a nice, clear tread.

Other people worked on finding and placing some stepping stones for better footing across the stream.

Bill Dyer worked his way down and is checking out the new step stones.  Big improvement.

We didn't get photos of everyone, but thanks to Annie, Luis, Mark, Ralph, Evan, Noah, Graham, Ellen, Jan, Rajan, James, Thomas, Bodie, Michael, Ilaina, Alysa, Bob, Bill, Evan, Mia, Tameria, Teresa, and Terry.  Lots of stuff got done, and it was a beautiful Spring morning.   More trail blazes were added and the trail is much easier to explore now.  Thanks for everyone who helped build this trail.