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Teton Pass POV!

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EJ’s Update – Teton Pass 9/6/10

Hello everyone. Diesel powered hydraulics continues to be a beautiful thing and is still kicking man’s ass. The “Shock Treatment” section of the Ridge Trail was once thought almost unbuildable. It was constructed by Drew and a 305 CAT mini-excavator in two weeks. Six switchbacks and six corners were constructed. The crew continues to follow the machine and do some great finish work. We are in-sloping the switchbacks and corners, and they are riding like a dream. Many trail users are already calling this their favorite section of the Ridge Trail. More finish work is required on this section, but it is already riding very nice. We are transporting lots and lots of fill into the new section. Like the rest of the Ridge there is a lot of rocks. We are trying our best to smooth her out with the “red gold”. A 4-wheeler with a trailer has been working quite well to transport fill to difficult areas. Thank-you Chris P., Mike Piker, and Randy Roberts for helping the crew move dirt this week.

We have the machine for two more weeks, and we still have some tough areas to get through. One more talus field remains. There are still several gaps in the trail, and we will be trying to tie these together. With some luck we will connect the entire trail in the next two weeks.

Erik Jacobsen

EJ’s Update Aug 29th 2010

Hello everyone. Diesel powered hydraulics is a beautiful thing. The 305 CAT mini-excavator is kicking butt up on the Ridge Trail. I had no idea that the mini-ex was going to work so well. Drew Kneeland is a very good operator. Drew and the machine are what we really needed to get the “Shock Treatment” section of the Ridge Trail done.

All I can do is laugh when I watch the machine work. Every time I watch the mini-ex scoop one bucket, I say “Wow! That would have taken me two hours by hand.” The machine rips through just about anything. “Shock Treatment” is full of brush. A lot of you all know how bad it sucks to try to chop through these root systems by hand. The mini-ex plucks out a root system in one pick. No problem, Mon. The mini-ex eats up stumps for breakfast. I watched Drew and the machine pull out a 24″ DBH stump on Thursday and I almost couldn’t believe it. Switchbacks…..? Smitchbacks…..! Drew and the mini-ex built our hardest switchback yet in roughly 7 hr.s. This would have taken a four person hand crew two weeks to build. It is nice switchback and big with a 12′ radius. It’s gonna ride like a dream. Rocks are no problem, Mon. The machine has pulled out some huge rocks, and sometimes it can just break them apart. Diesel powered hydraulics are a beautiful thing.


EJ’s Update – Teton Pass 8-20-10

Hello everyone.  The History Trail reconstruction project is now complete as of last Tuesday morning.  We spent last Monday putting on the final touches.  We also did a massive brushcut on most of the trail.  It is amazing how well the vegetation is growing this summer.  The History Trail is in a very dense and lush area.  Due to good growing conditions and lack of use, the trail was getting quite grown in.  We brushcut up to the upper turnpikes and then all the way down to the trailhead.  Now we just need to get folks using this trail.  I think it is our best horse and hike trail.

Now all of our focus is on the completion of the Ridge Trail.  This has been one massive project.  We are in the third year of construction here.  We, of course, saved the hardest for last; “Shock Treatment”.  I think you all know where I’m talking about.  What is it going to take to dig tough area?  I’m talking machinery. (more…)

EJ’s Update – Teton Pass 7/25/10

Randy Roberts and Tom Kholhart were busy yesterday picking out rocks and smoothing out the lower section of the Ridge Trial and Phillips Canyon Trail after the bridges.  Thanks for smoothing out this section.  I’ve seen it knock down several riders in the past.  This section of trail will now be much more user-friendly for our beginner-intermediates.

I forgot to mention the Inner City Youth group in last weeks report.  This group of roughly thirty inner city girls dug for several hours on the lower volunteer section of the Ridge Trail.  I wouldn’t really say that most of them enjoyed digging in the dirt, but it was a good experience for them.  Randy led a educational part of the volunteer project and let the girls ride a mountain bike.  The girls loved this, and were almost fighting over the bike by the end.  Several of the girls had never ridden a mountain bike before.  This was a great idea of Randy’s ,and we plan to include more education with our volunteer groups.

I also received report that the Fuzzy Bunny Trail is almost competed.  Harlan and his crew have been working very hard this early summer on this new trail construction.  The “Phase One” hand dig is now complete.  “Phase Two” will include some machine digging with a mini excavator on the lower Fuzzy Bunny trail in a wicked brushy and sidehilled section.  Harlan and crew will also be busy the rest of the summer reworking the Powerline Jumps with a machine and constructing the Candyland Trail which will connect Jimmy’s Mom and the Parallel Trail.  Harlan’s crew and the Freedom Riders are also having a huge summer of trail construction.
Mike Piker has also been busy this last couple of weeks clearing line of sight on our trials.  He especially focused on the Nelson Drive section of the Putt-Putt where we were starting to have a few user conflicts and blind spots.  Mike also worked with Jim Verdone and his backhoe to clean up several gravel sections of the Old Pass Road.  Mike also swept the entire Old Pass Road with pathways new Sthil paddle broom.  The Old Pass Road is now much safer for road bikers.  Thanks Mike and thanks Jim.

Have a nice week.

Erik Jacobsen


EJ’s Teton Pass Update 7-7-10

We had another huge week in the trail building world last week. On Friday we had a grand total of 42 diggers on the Ridge Trail with the FS/FOP trail crew, the Henry’s Fork Fire crew, the Student Conservation Association, and Waldo’s Nordic Diggers combining forces. That was a lot of workers in the woods! It was something to see.

On Tuesday we headed out to the Ridge Trail with the Henry’s Fork Fire Crew. We started up high and tied in the Hunt Trail section on Tuesday. It was a project that we started last year, but did not finish. The crew connected the dots, and now there shouldn’t be a question on how to find the Hunt Trail section.

Wed.-Fri. we worked with the Henry’s Fork Fire Crew on the lower Ridge Trail section after the BPA bridge as you head up-hill. Teton Helitack got a good start for us last week. It was nice to see that they had already busted out a bunch of brush, roots, and small trees. It was a huge boost and gave us a great start for Wednesday. The crew dug uphill and encountered very difficult digging. They called it the hardest that they seen. There were a lot of roots and rocks, and there wasn’t too much good dirt to work with. By the end of the day the crew started a long side hill section, and that is where they found the “red gold”. They found some great red soil. We brought out a couple of wheelbarrows on Thursday and used this good soil to fill in several rough sections of trail. We also worked the long side hill section, and a beautiful wide bench was constructed. On Friday we had the large force of 42 workers on the trail. We built a whole bunch of trail and made a nice connection to the road for the weekend. Over a mile of trail was constructed in just three days.

Waldo set up a great Pica’s dinner for the Henry’s Fork Fire Crew at the end of the day on Friday. The crew loved it and truly deserved it. It is the best that they eat all year. Thanks Waldo for setting this up and motivating the crew. Thank-you to all of Waldo’s donators-
Jim Verdone, Andy Olpin’s friend, and others.

Randy Roberts is back in the woods working hard. You can definitely tell when he is out there working. The woods suddenly get a lot louder. Thanks for keeping it fun Randy.

The Student Conservation Association worked the Ridge trail through the holiday weekend. They continued to work uphill, and made two more connections to the road. They are a good bunch of kids, and they have been working hard. Teton Helitack continued to work on the Ridge Trail last week and through the holiday weekend. I thank them for all their help.

This Tuesday the SCA’s made the connection to what we are calling “Shock Treatment”. This section really wants to be built by a mini-excavator. We have skipped this section for now and headed uphill to a section after the Hunt Trail. It should turn out to be a great section of trail. Galen did a great job with the layout in there.

Have a nice week.
Erik Jacobsen

Piker’s Report from Blacks Canyon 6-30-10

I patrolled up to Mt Elly and down Blacks yesterday.  With the exception of a few snow patches up to the summit, the trail is 100% clear.
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