Monday, September 26, 2011

Trail Work At Valley View Hot Springs

Allison and I found ourselves at Valley View Hot Springs 
in Colorado in 2009 volunteering to do some trail work
on a steep trail at about 9000' on the west slope
 of the Sangre De Cristo mountains. 

Above are Allison and a wonderful
 fellow, Rob Bob, who wanted to help and as Rob Bob goes by 
both names we affectionately combined them.

 He was a wonderful, fun person to work with 
in this strenuous, hard work and we all had a great time. 

(Please Note: This is a rewrite of the post 
Trail Work from 2/25/10.)

I had done a lot of work on this trail some ten years ago
 and it was in dire need of some maintenance,
and for this project we were going to add more stone steps to stop erosion.

 You can see the bottom stone step is eroding from underneath, 
so we wanted to add a step below it
 so we could backfill to stop the erosion.

Above we are digging out before placing the step.

Once the stone was set we tightly backfilled with stone of various size
 to keep things from washing out.

Dirt and gravel is then put on top to smooth off the surface.

 The stones on either side of the step help hold the step tight 
and can be used to help direct people to stay on the step. 

Attention to detail is very important to make a safe trail.

In an effort to fill in the trail below the step
 we added a layer of small stone covered with dirt
along with a long narrow stone to hold things back.

The finished section of trail.

This is another step with much the same problem,
 as years of heavy use have caused the trail
 below the top step to erode.

 We are adding an extra step
 with a small stone fill.

And now covered and ready for use.

This step shows how deep the stone can sometimes be,
 and as you would think the larger the stone 
the more weight to keep it in place. 

It is very important to make sure the finished stone will stay secure.

Also make sure you pack dirt and small stones 
in very tightly as you back fill.

 I use the butt end of the hammer shown in the photo above
 to pack around the step.

 If the step is not completely firm do not use it. 

Safety is of the utmost importance.

The finished step. 

Notice the two steps near the top of the photo.

This is the same view after we have added two steps 
and moved a third. 

One of my rules of thumb in trail work
 is to never introduce foreign materials to the site.

 Use only what is naturally available,
and these stones we are using we got from along the trail. 

A good example is: please no rail road ties
 or pressure treated lumber.

My lovely assistant showing the importance of the level.

The steps should be level and when there is more than
 one step the rise and run should be consistent.

 This can be difficult with stone but is a detail not to be ignored. 

The finished section.

 The pile of stones to the left of the steps are actually carefully placed
 to prevent erosion as it is a spot that can channel quite a bit of water in a thunderstorm.

 They also keep people from shortcutting the trail.

 It takes quite a bit of thought to think
 of ways to keep people on the trail.

For more on stone steps see the posts:

You may also click on Steps And Stairways under LABELS
on the right side bar.