We’re big fans of the Weaver Basin Trail System, so we enthusiastically headed out to do our part for the trail workday.
We showed up on time, at 8 a.m., but realized just as we were getting out of the car that we both forgot essentials (boots, hats, sunglasses, etc.) so headed back to town.
When we finally arrived for real, Mike McFadin of the USFS was just wrapping up the instructions with, “Everyone claim your own 50-foot section of trail and build it just as we discussed.” Uh-oh. It was then, in that very moment, that we realized we were building a new trail, not just doing a little bit of forest raking to clean up an old trail.
OK, we got this. We both grabbed a tool and headed out to claim our section. We were hard at work when folks from neighboring sections started offering suggestions; sometimes taking the tools out of our hands and demonstrating. Apparently, neither of us has a future in trail building.
After taking some photos for our column, we settled into a new job and cleared debris for a couple of hours. We excelled at this. We really got a lot of clearing done.
It also gave us the opportunity, dragging tree limbs back and forth, to chat with some of the volunteers. There were folks from the Trinity Trail Alliance, the Trinity County RCD, the Weaver Basin Trial Committee, the Redding Trail Alliance and the Bigfoot Trail Alliance. We met Judy Fox from the Backcountry Horseman Association who had driven up from Cottonwood. That group does so much to support Trinity County trails and they are amongst our heroes.
There was a wide variety of skill levels represented, ranging from novices like us on one end to Aaron Boals, a professional trail builder, on the other end. Aaron was there as a volunteer, but his day-job is with the California State Parks Statewide Trail Crew.
There was a section where water was flooding the new trail and Aaron dug it out and placed big rocks like puzzle pieces for hikers to get across the wet spot. It was amazing to watch him work. The art of trail building.
Did we mention that Tracy McFadin brought the best brownies we’ve ever tasted?
The trail builders kept on building and by noon they had built a quarter mile of sweet single-track trail meandering through the woods. This new trail bypasses a section of boring, straight trail that has berms on both sides and channels water down ruts. The work was done on the property of the Weaverville Community Services District with the district’s permission. It’s incredible what 18 volunteers can accomplish in one morning.
If you are going: The new trail starts at the water tank just past East Weaver Campground and will be used for the LaGrange mountain bike race and also the Mayor’s Mountain Bike Challenge. There are plans to bypass more of the original trail in the future. Look for announcements in The Trinity Journal and come on out and help. We’ll be there clearing debris.