I have always been interested in trail building, but I have never really had the opportunity to get involved with it. This past weekend the Tahoe Rim Trail Association (TRTA) put on a trail building class, so I decided to partake. It was a lot of fun. I didn't know anyone in the class, but the people were nice and I soon felt quite comfortable in the mix. A lot of the people in the course had been hired for the summer at various organizations through the Americorps program. They are either crew leaders or crew members who will be out working on the trails all summer. As for me, I think I'm just going to volunteer at some of the local trails--at least for now.
The class was interesting, I learned about the different tools that are used on the trail such as loppers, pruning and pole saws, Pulaskis, Pick Mattocks, McLouds, and rockbars. I really enjoyed getting dirty and the physical labor involved in building trails. We worked on a section of trail that had quite a bit of manzanita in it. The manzanita was difficult to work with, but made for an interesting experience. We had to deal with a lot of manzanita roots, but there was one huge manzanita root we had to remove, it was tough but we got it out.
There was an advanced class going on at the same time as our class. They were learning how to do really cool stuff. They learned how to set up a griphoist system to remove huge boulders. They also learned how to shape and split rocks to build stairs and shape unmovable rocks into safer forms. We got to watch them for a bit, i can't wait to take that class in the future it looks like a ton of fun.
For now I can't wait to get out onto the trails and help with some trail building and or maintenance. The TRTA is planning a Reno to Rim trail with building starting in July, that is definitely a trail project I would like get my hands dirty on.
See you on the trails!