Saturday, July 18, 2009

Moving Rocks

I signed up to volunteer with the Washington Trails Association. You can check them out at They are a great group.

So, I met some of my old friends who love to work, play in the dirt, and make the world a better place. I know it sounds amazing, but they're just a quiet bunch of folks. Well, not on the trail anyways.

So I went up the trail on Mount Dickerman, got a pair of tools and went up with a work party of a dozen of us up the trail. We were doing maintenance at the trail, particularly this one stretch of trail that crossed a rock slide.

The day was beautiful and you can see the 4 Rocks, and the Ice Caves from the clearing that was left by the rock slide. We were at about 1900 feet elevation, and only about 1/2 mile up the trail. The trail goes up to 5900ish feet to the top of Mt. Dickerman in 4.5 miles or so.

I was working with a couple people on a rock wall. We built up the rock wall and made a decent trail. Moved a lot of rocks. And it all started with one rock at a time.

So what say you is a rock wall? Well the trail is uneven based on the landscape. You build a rock wall to shore it up so it's even. A rock wall also helps prevent it from collapsing and should last for sometime. It's mostly built with natural materials and it's not joined by mortar, simply it's geometrically placed so that the pressure/weight of the rocks supports the trail.

It's harder to explain, if you're interested in more about Trail Building, you should read "Tread Lightly on the Land" It's a how-to manual on building trails. There's a lot more to trails than meets the eye as you have to look at the slope, grade, water drainage, materials, support, etc...

Anyways, it was a great deal of fun all around. Starting with one rock at a time.

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