Strolling Amok

Pops goes on tour.

A Trail

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A trail, just like any other trail, only more so. In the middle of 3 days of overcast and variable rain, the skies opened for close to two hours, and I went for a walk in the direction that I had initially rolled in.

Originally intended merely to show the Intrepid in camp, this photo decided to place its own emphasis on something grander, don't you think?

Originally intended merely to show the Intrepid in camp, this photo decided to place its own emphasis on something grander, don’t you think?

What strikes me about this trail is that it has signs of long but infrequent use. There’s very little slope to this plateau but, as with all such trails, what there is in the direction of travel causes erosion along it. At first it’s just a path, then a trail, then a mini-canal with a partial trail next to it, then the same with drivearound loops added to keep it passable at the points where it isn’t any more.

I'm standing in the middle of the original trail, which has developed a ditch to the left. With that and tree growth preventing passage, the new workarounds go around such trees on their other sides.

I’m standing in the middle of the original trail, which has developed a ditch to the left. With that and tree growth preventing passage, the new workarounds go around such trees on their other sides. Nothing wider than a Jeep can pass here without risking a bank collapse and/or dropping a wheel in.

Switchbacks seem to be the worst for this, since they have plenty of rain-gathering ground above and can develop some real volume and momentum in the water flow. Erosion may be notable near the top, but it’s a real trench at the bottom, typically. The trail I was walking today doesn’t aggressively gather water, but simply transports some from one end to the other, down its mild slope.

This gives a better view of the same area. with the bushes and trees here acting as wire brushes, leaning into them carries a cost. this squeeze-point is just at that width where it can still be done, but preferably not with a high-CG vehicle. a flat workaround is to the left of the bush, off-camera.

This gives a better view of the same area. With the bushes and trees here acting as wire brushes, leaning into them carries a cost. This squeeze-point is just at that width where it can still be done, but preferably not with a high-CG vehicle. A flat workaround is to the left of the bush, off-camera.

At any rate, the view down the trail was interesting because its straight path was now passable with difficulty, while the working pieces of trail coming off and rejoining it disappeared behind bushes and trees. In one or two spots, the erosion justifies another branch, but the bushes there won’t allow a simple path through. I have no idea why, but there’s something in me that wants to return to FS573 and the highway using that straight path, avoiding the new, easy steer-arounds. But, since this little jaunt and its hardware are entirely on my dime, and since edge collapses and drops in two areas would result in quick movement and a lot of sudden tilt, I’ll be taking the lazy-butt way out, thank you!

This is an unusual abandonment because it's simply rough. All the dirt washed out, and so around the bush to the right we go. 65 PSI takes a lot of the "just for fun" out of short sections like this, since it's not worth airing down for and there's a way around.

This is an unusual abandonment because it’s simply rough. All the dirt washed out, and so around the bush to the right we go. 65 PSI and stiff springs take a lot of the “just for fun” out of short sections like this, since it’s not worth airing down for and there’s a way around. I pack it pretty well, but tossing around a fully-loaded camper has proven to be a bad idea, and the only solution has been to go incredibly slow. When rough trail distances are measured in miles, it can make for a very slow errand or next-destination trip.

Despite the surrounding low trees, this camp still has a good start on the “big sky” view, and wandering further down it just a little ways in the other direction revealed a couple more campsite possibilities. Considering I’m at the midpoint of FS9011D and have yet to investigate the second half, that bodes well for future usability. There are other MVUM-approved trails in this general area as well, and may be worth checking out, too.

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4 thoughts on “A Trail

  1. Linda Sand on said:

    Your descriptions make me aware I’m not that interested in getting that far in. I would have stopped much closer to the main road.

    • Bingo, Linda! That’s the point of selecting a problematic side trail off the main drag. Sometimes, solitude is available simply by going to a little-used area a long ways down an an easy dirt road, and in other more popular areas, it can only be gotten by pushing past trail conditions that others would tend to be intimidated by. Most times, like now, I’ll try to be on the periphery of popular areas simply to save gas and tires. In dry conditions, the main trail in here, FS573, offers multiple campsites that even the Defiant TT can access, and big fifth-wheels reside here on occasion. Time, distance or practicality may often constrain me to pack in among radios, generators, yelling or barking, but when conditions allow, the only noise or fanged physical threat in the area will be me, when I don’t get my morning coffee.

  2. Ming on said:

    informative travelogue, perhaps I will learn from osmosis and be more prepared for the next trail I hit!

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