TrailCrew Photos

May/June 2009

Summer has arrived and two perennial sights and smells have returned to the forests of the Zuni Mountains near Gallup-  wildflowers and cattle.  The flowers are incredible and will only grow more dramatic as the fields of early purple iris's are displaced with red trumpets, blue bells, and indian blanket flower that will literally blanket the meadows by fall.  The latter, cows, are a reminder of the Forest Service dictum of multiple-uses of our public lands, and for some of us, a smelly reminder of where our food comes from.  However, GT2010's volunteers haven't just been sitting around smelling the flowers and cows this spring, we've been busy improving the most popular hiking and biking trail area in the Zuni Mountains- The Quaking Aspen Trail.

On the third-Saturday of each month volunteers have met at the Quaking Aspen trailhead (5 miles south of Fort Wingate, NM 400) from 10 am to 2 pm.  Joined each month by a work crew from the local NM Youth Conservation Corps and GT2010 volunteers, we've had anywhere from 10 to 30 people helping out each time.  Thank you volunteers!  Regardless of prior experience, our volunteers work side-by-side with the professional YCC youths, and there is a task and tool for every level of experience and fitness.  Come join us this month.

To date, we've focused our efforts on improving a significant intersection of three trails at Andrews (stock) Tank, just two miles down the Quaking Aspen trail from the trailhead parking area.  Previously, these trails sections were badly rutted, too close to fences, seasonally under-water, and required hikers and bikers to awkwardly climb over two barbed-wire fences.  None of these conditions are desirable in a popular trail.  We re-routed these trails out of the valley floor, and up on to the more sustainable shoulder of adjacent ridge-lines.  The inconvenience and danger in crossing the fences as been removed through the installation of 2 custom cattle-guards.  These heavy steel structures, originally designed by GT2010 and a familiar sight to anyone who has visited the High Desert Trails in Gamerco, allow people to safely pass through, while still preventing livestock from crossing.  These cattle-guards aren't cheap, easy to build, or install.  Significant thanks are due to the individuals and businesses that have contributed money and materials for these substantial structures.  Thank you, Four Corners Welding and Supply!

We'll spend a couple more work sessions at this location, before moving on to the last fence-crossing on Quaking Aspen trail, where we'll install a special above ground cattle-guard on the bedrock trail surface.  Our trail maintenance workdays will continue each month through October.  We fund our trail building efforts through the sale of GT2010 t-shirts and stickers, and the contributions of our supporters, recently including a generous grant from a Californian cycling group, SHARE, who were impressed with our trails and work crews during a recent trip they took to Gallup.

(also published in the Gallup Journey July edition)

YCC members take turns carrying the 2nd cattleguard

GT2010 volunteers put the final touches on the installed cattle-guard with french drain

GT2010 volunteers and YCC crews putting their favorite Mcleod to use

April 2009
The GT2010 trail maintenance day, 10 a.m., Saturday, April 18th, at Quaking Aspen Trailhead
went very well.  A 100+ yard re-route of a submerged and unsustainable 
portion of Turkey Nest Trail was accomplished.  We had 22 volunteers 
help out during the day, which includes 9 members of  the NM Youth Conservation 
Corps (YCC) crew.  We were all impressed with the training, professionalism, 
positive attitude, and quality work of the YCC crew. We also appreciated 
borrowing their McLeod's.  Thanks Karl Lohman and Governor Richardson!

Hiking and riding 2 miles in on a slightly muddy trail, we started work around 
10:45 at Andrews Tank intersection.  The weather was dry, warm, and clear.  Most of 
the 100+ yard re-route was bench cut into the occasionally rocky, 
west slopes of the valley by Andrews Tank using McLeod's (a combined 
heavy-duty hoe and rake), with the occasional need for a Pulaski or heavy 
rock bar.  When we stopped work around 2 pm, the trail looked complete and
definitely ridable.  YCC returned the next day to complete the erosion control
measures and a supporting wall.  Eric Chisamore offered to arrange for
materials from 4 Corners Welding & Gas Supply for the 4 structures 
(3 cattle-guards and a small bridge at Andrews Tank, and a 'slick-rock style' 
cattle-guard on Quaking Aspen Trail) we'd like to install this year.  We also
have members interested in donating for the $500-$700 cost of these structures.  
We can arrange the FS final approval of design, acquire materials, 
and construct at least one of the cattle-guards to install at the May 16th 
TrailCrew day, or before.  

The GT2010 t-shirts in various colors and styles were popular.  We had shirts with
various designs on the front chest including the rock-art style 'hiker person' on our
original logo, 'mtn. biker person' synonomous with HDTS,  and the new TrailCrew 'shovel-person.'  
All proceeds from the shirts will support our trail-building costs like tools, materials, and 
support and recognition of our volunteers.  

Anyone interested, is encouraged to please join us at the upcoming TrailCrew events.

Kevin Buggie

Gallup Trails 2010's 'schwank' new trailhead info display.

YCC crew on new Turkey Nest Trail reroute near Andrews Tank.

GT2010 Trail Crew on Turkey Nest reroute.

We got a lot of work done with two great crews

Wrapping it up back at the trailhead after a satisfying days labor.