Nello Busdon had some concerns about the condition of the Chocolate Gulch Trail. In particular, he saw that the backside section, or southwest end of the trail was in poor shape. There, the trail had not seen much maintenance in the last several years, so parts of the route were screaming for attention.
After Nello got a hold of me we headed out to take a look at the trail together. We spent the bulk of our outing scouting the condition of the trail where it drops from its high point down a rocky open hillside. The trail was filled with loose rock, and down lower the trail need brushing (brushing, or cutting plants back that are encroaching upon the travel way). The existing drains along the trail needed cleaning out too. I suggested to Nello that the trail was available for adoption, and he jumped at the chance to take on that responsibility. Hey Chocolate Gulch, who’s your Daddy?
The trail’s character on this back-side section is steep, technical, and demanding. We want to preserve that iconic character, so the trail needs maintenance. Portions of the trail here cross rocky outcrops – these didn’t need much, if any, work. Rock faces are often good places to run really steep sections of trail, because they are extremely durable. But, it all depends on the character of the trail in question. This trail has always been technically challenging and its not for everyone or every kind of use. So here, having the trail run along a steep section of rock is in keeping with the existing trail experience.
Other portions of this section of the Chocolate Gulch Trail cross areas with soils that are becoming increasingly eroded and more deeply incised (“V-shaped”). These sections provide a different kind of desirable challenge, but they do require periodic maintenance. When they fill with loose rocks they can present trip hazards and the sides of the trail had become lined with large boulders that had not been rolled far enough out of the travel way. In the future we will be considering the addition of one or two well-placed and appropriately sized drain installations along this section of incised trail. Installing one or two effective drains along this section of the trail should help us keep it from eroding more deeply.
The 12 volunteers with Nello and Jenny and Friends raked the rocks out of the tread, brushed back plants that were encroaching on the travel way, cleaned out and improved existing drains, and swatted mosquitoes in what felt like 100 degree temps. Thank you volunteers (listed in order of how they appeared on the sign-in sheet): Nello Busdon, Jenny Busdon, Jim Olson, Heinz Schlosser, Alan Hogg, Kris Jarvis, Ralph Johnson, June Lane, Bud Crane, Mark Grassi, Tyler Hesse, and Steve Myers.
Thank you for your hard work and fun loving attitude Nello & Jenny & Friends Chocolate Gulch Adopt-A-Trail volunteers!