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Ridenfool

Rocky HIll Ranch Trail Conditions

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Posted (edited)

Glad you enjoyed the trails, Albert!

We got a ride in yesterday with a special guest, Jimmy, a long time supporter of Rocky Hill Ranch and rep for Sun&Ski Sports who met up with us to donate trail tools for volunteers to use for construction and maintenance. We took him on all the newly cleared sections for the full 10.5 mile tour and the conditions were great out there, though getting a little dusty.

 

Here's the bountiful boon we received represented in a glamour shot taken at The Wall feature where there are Sun&Ski banners proudly displayed.

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2 Bow Rakes, 2 McLeods, 2 Shovels, 2 Fiskers Loppers and a 40V Ryobi Chainsaw. Yay!

Paul and I got to thinking that we should create a name for this "organization" of trail volunteers. so that places like Sun&Ski have a reference for the donation. Over a few beers and tacos that afternoon, and after much deliberation, we may have found a winner...

Deranged Imagineers of Righteous Trail

Now y'all have the D.I.R.T. on this shiny new volunteer group hereby established in Bastrop County. We'll continue to strive toward meeting the expectations that such an auspicious moniker portends.

Edited by Ridenfool
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Posted (edited)

Opened another 0.2 mi. section of organic, fresh-picked trail late yesterday.

For RHR regulars, this new section is found as you approach Water 1 on the way out. After the second road crossing going up on singletrack, what was a short straight section now traipses about in the woods on both sides of that old trail before delivering riders to Water 1.

It utilizes all but about ten feet of the old trail as well. Jimmy said that I really did a "McGyver" on it to get this result.

This is the second expansion of Hard Boil. Signs coming soon. Paul is already choosing spots to put berms on it.

Next on the agenda is bringing online the 1.5 mi. Karaway extension with a lot of corridor and tread work done in freezing weather last weekend by Tejas Trails volunteers. Paul started on the bridges yesterday and those should be completed soon. This trail could go live by next weekend.

Edited by Ridenfool
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Posted (edited)

On Monday, Paul completed 4 bridges on the Karaway extension. Kudos for the massive effort!

This section will go live this weekend and open the 10.5 mile loop to visitors.

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Edited by Ridenfool
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Great to see the work out there, thanks for the continued updates.  Also, I like the new signage I saw out there when I visited last week (such as the Corkscrew signs, Lemonade, etc.)  The more signage the better, especially to point people to a full 10.5 mile loop. And especially given there are no current printed maps at the entrance, and I don't expect new printed maps for a while given the trails are currently in flux.  🙂

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Yeah, the Hills have been asking for a new map, and you nailed it about why I've just been updating MTBProject for now. I have suggested they put a sign about the map can be found on MTB Project in the sign-in, or mention it on their website.

Once Litterbox is done and a few more signs are installed I'll make a new map for them to print up. When finished, Litterbox could get the full loop close to 12 miles.

Thanks for the feedback on the new signs. It is good to know they are helpful.

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7 minutes ago, Ridenfool said:

I have suggested they put a sign about the map can be found on MTB Project in the sign-in, or mention it on their website.

That's a good idea, especially as they still have a pile of the old maps at the pay station.  I'm sure not everyone is aware of the changes taking place out there, so that could be pretty confusing!  A sign recommending people use MTB Project (especially during this transition) is a good idea, and I'm glad you've been keeping that up to date!

7 minutes ago, Ridenfool said:

Once Litterbox is done and a few more signs are installed I'll make a new map for them to print up. When finished, Litterbox could get the full loop close to 12 miles.

That's awesome, thank you for the work you are orchestrating out there, it's really nice to see new trails being built and existing trails getting maintenance.  As well as new signage--I'm a big fan of signage, which is usually terribly lacking in Austin, and I'm reminded of this many times when I ride trails in other states.  When will Litterbox be done?  Where is that trail?

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Posted (edited)

Litterbox will be between Y-Knot and Black Trac, going through the wasteland to the East of the fence-line double track that riders currently use to go from one to another. It will follow the tree line around almost to where Lemonade starts. (mostly done) Then, weave around a few scattered trees and into a wooded area that was left in the middle of that bulldozed field. After that, it will be anchored to a few more lone trees as it makes it way over to the entrance to Black Trac.

The focus for this trail is to utilize many of the pushed up clumps of litter left behind by the Cats 🐈 (Caterpillar 🚜dozers) so as to make an interesting romp from the carnage they left behind after taking out a couple of old trail sections.

I'm hoping to get back on Litterbox next week and maybe finish up in a few weeks. It is a creative process requiring trial and error and quite a bit of work with the McLeod. It is almost halfway done, I think.

 

As for the maps, I guess I'll have to stick my nose in the registration building and remove them. The old maps are useless now. That, and print up a notice about MTB Project, what's going on at the ranch, etc. to staple up in there. Thanks for the head's up. That must be confusing for the day riders.

Edited by Ridenfool
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Posted (edited)

Well, we got all enthusiastic and such today and went ahead and cut the new section into the loop.

It will carry the Karaway name for the full length, and, there is more yet to be added to it. Possibly as much as another mile of trail.

At this point Karaway will bend sharply to the right just before the road crossing, cutting back to what was "Other Way" and from there will pick up some new trail in the field, rejoining the trail formerly known as Other Way up to the gate and road crossing near Freeride 512. Karaway will now continue across that road and into more beautiful, organically grown trail that eventually ties back into the legacy Karaway section after road crossing.

I think that Karaway is now the longest section of trail.

Enjoy!

BTW, it is Hero Dirt out there right now. Go get some before it loses the moisture.

P.S. removed the old maps from the Check-In building and put this in several obvious places on walls, clipboard, payment box, etc.

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Edited by Ridenfool
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Posted (edited)

We had a wonderful day at RHR today. Brian Nash brought out a toy to play with.

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This thing eats Yaupon like magic and we transformed a new 0.5 0.25 (correction) mile section from dense growth to groomed trail in about 5 hours. Incredible.

He had so much fun he plans to bring it back for some future work. We can't wait.

Rocky Hill Ranch loop now stands at 11 miles, measured from the showers out and back.

I've made some significant progress on Litterbox and should bring it into the fold in the next week or two with any luck. Another 1.25 miles of single track expected.

 

Edited by Ridenfool
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11 hours ago, Ridenfool said:

We had a wonderful day at RHR today. Brian Nash brought out a toy to play with.

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This thing eats Yaupon like magic and we transformed a new 0.5 mile section from dense growth to groomed trail in about 5 hours. Incredible.

He had so much fun he plans to bring it back for some future work. We can't wait.

Rocky Hill Ranch loop now stands at 11 miles, measured from the showers out and back.

I've made some significant progress on Litterbox and should bring it into the fold in the next week or two with any luck. Another 1.25 miles of single track expected.

 

We just recently met Brian Nash and his brother Tyler.  Their company, Nash Brothers Land Services, used similar toys to chip a couple of acres of juniper that we cut down.   They did good work and in the process of getting to know them we found out that they are mountain bikers (racers).

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15 hours ago, Ridenfool said:

I've made some significant progress on Litterbox and should bring it into the fold in the next week or two with any luck. Another 1.25 miles of single track expected.

I'll go back out there again once you have that additional 1.25 miles completed!  I didn't even get eight miles during my last visit, so I may have missed something.  I was following the race loop (still visible arrows on the ground and elsewhere), so I didn't think I missed anything, but it would seem I did. 

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Posted (edited)

The landowner helped today shredding some trails across open space to knit together trail sections. Another addition to Karaway and several stretches on Litterbox were recipients of his efforts.

Still have some dirt work and brush clearing to finish up Litterbox. Finishing this will also include a new entry to Black Trac. I'll keep y'all posted!

The section added on Karaway may add nearly another half mile.

 

When using the MTB Project Phone App be sure to update the "Texas" area in order to see the latest changes submitted to the RHR trails. Ran into a rider today using the app, but hadn't updated the cached map data, so was working off of an old map stored on his phone.

Edited by Ridenfool
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Posted (edited)
9 hours ago, Albert said:

I'll go back out there again once you have that additional 1.25 miles completed!  I didn't even get eight miles during my last visit, so I may have missed something.  I was following the race loop (still visible arrows on the ground and elsewhere), so I didn't think I missed anything, but it would seem I did. 

There is a double-top-secret optional left if an arrow is followed on Black Trac. It will get 0.2 mile more from the loop. This will eventually be added permanently after a little rework is completed, and it was part of the total distance being quoted at that time. Easy to miss.

It could also be that you missed some other section of new trail. I can't recall if we had rerouted Karaway to include the new trail behind the Freeride 512 area at that time, or, if it was necessary to take the trail formerly known as "Other Way" instead, and ride across the road by the gate that offers access to FR 512 member's playground. (now it is just Karaway for the full length, and Other Way was absorbed into it)

Also, GPS vs. Wheel measurement can often come up short for GPS on any given lap. Usually only a few tenths of a mile difference between Wheel and GPS after ten or so miles are covered.

Possibly, in another week or two, we'll be up to just shy of a 13 mile loop, as several ongoing projects will get finishing touches and be made available to riders.

 

Edited by Ridenfool
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1 hour ago, AustinBike said:

@Albert if you want to ride out there, midweek, in the next couple weeks, let me know. I can be flexible.

 

1 hour ago, Ridenfool said:

Post up! I'll be glad to join y'all.

That might keep me from working on trail for a change. 😉

I'd be up for that, maybe we can get together sometime next week when the weather is nice.

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Okay, everyone can play in the Litterbox now!

Yer in for a treat.

Just as I was finishing up where it starts at the end of Y-Knot (always leave the beginning of a trail for last) a rider rolled up just in time to be the first victim.

Ken, from Michigan, visiting his sister in Cistern, was trying out RHR for the first time. It was a little soupy out there after the recent rain, but he seemed to be enjoying himself.

I'll get a ride out there in the next day or so and see what the mileage is up to. Best guess is something nudging up against 13 miles.

Here is a shot of where it begins. The new trail shown in the photo parallels the doubletrack on the fenceline which will now allow vehicle traffic to pass without interfering with riders.

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Here is a shot from yesterday where I created a canal on a hillside to send drainage somewhere other than across the new trail there. That was a lot of work, but should pay off in the long run!

A trail that isn't obvious in this photo to the left of the canal is a new entrance to Black Trac coming from the end of Litterbox.

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Current conditions at RHR are okay, with standing water in the usual places. Should be fantastic this weekend.

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Posted (edited)

Rode a lap today to record wheel mileage. It is up to 11.7 miles with the newest stuff.

I was expecting more. Now have figured out where the guesstimating went wrong.

  • Uno: Forgot to subtract the length of a fence line section that is bypassed by Litterbox.
  • B: I think the mileage provided for the machine-cut section might have been from the machine's odometer. which likely included all the fiddling around it drove while building trail. Essentially, this resulted in doubling the actual trail length. It is actually 1/4 mile long. Another section running across the field and around trees was added to it for a total of 0.5 mi. for both sections, rather than the mile that had been estimated.

Still, very happy with the progress.

Conditions are good. A few wet spots, but nothing sticking to the tires.

Edited by Ridenfool
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I finally went out to ride it.  It was a little sad not having OTL and MM, but the new trails are pretty nice except for the swamp trail.  Is the plan to build a massive ladder through there?

I liked Lemonade and the loop before Black Track the best.  The open pasture area without features is OK...a nice change of pace to let the thighs cool off a bit (rode it SS).  I like the features in one of the open fields, the steep whoop-dee-doos add a nice break to what would otherwise be boring flat boring stuff.  The start is still the good-ol' lung and thigh busting RHR of old.

Great job on all the work out there!

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Hey Antonio,

Thanks for the kind words and the feedback.

Swamp Trail, ha ha, that would be a good name for it, but we just made it all part of Karaway. That area began collecting water after they cleared everything uphill while mining gravel. It is a bit of a mess, for sure. The fact that we had an inch or so of rain in that storm last week was the biggest "Swamp" factor.

I have a few ideas for dealing with that trail. Building ladder bridges will be the last resort. First plan will be to try and divert hillside drainage from collecting on the trail. Second plan, if that doesn't work, is a trail building technique I've read about called a Turnpike that uses landscape fabric, small diameter Cedar, and gravel to build an elevated path that won't sink into the muck or wash away. Not sure where we'll find gravel, or the Cedar, but I'm sure something will turn up. 🙄 In the long run I expect it will be solved with a combination of all three methods.

That bit with the whoop-dee-doos is probably Litterbox, and it leads into Black Trac. I was concerned folks might not like it, but feedback has been great so far. We needed the mileage and I didn't want to spend a lot of it in open prairie either. So, I used what I could find to spice it up.

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We are going out today to salvage picnic tables and structures from the Land of Lost Trails.

We'll also be retrieving some of the trail art and features, including: the Metal Lizard and the jump ramp on the downhill run into Leaping Lizards; the multi-headed Thing on Longhorn Loop; and the Gingerbread man ("the Bunny") from Omar's Howl. New homes for these items will be found on the new loop.

Expect to see some fresh new rest stops popping up on the loop, where riders can socialize and get some water.

This week I'll be finishing up another 3/10 mile section that will bring Litterbox into Black Trac on the back side of the First Water Stop.

A little bit of RHR history goes with this new section, as the original Black Trac used to begin at Water 1. It was a fall-line trail that eroded quickly and was abandoned a couple of decades ago. This new section crosses that original trail in two places and Black Trac will again start at the point where it did originally, only now winding its way back into the established trail.

Likewise, I gave the structure at Water 1 a makeover last week. It's roof was about to collapse and the place had developed a rather uninviting cave-like atmosphere. It is much nicer now. I even uprooted some Poison Ivy next to it so folks won't be itching to return. There may also be a crop of Dew Berries on the stump there this year, watch for them.

Rest Stop 2, with water, will be dubbed the "Lemonade Stand" and located at the NW corner of the property near where Lemonade hits the berm on West Fenceline, before you get to Loblolly.

Rest Stop 3, with water, will be situated off the middle section of Black Trac. Placed conveniently under the pines at an overlook with a great view to the West near where Black Trac crosses what we're now calling Wellhead Road. New trail is being cut to bring Black Trac over to this new rest area before heading down to The Grind and The Wall.

There will also be a picnic table placed in the shade on Karaway in the woods before the road crossing at Freeride 512 Road/Gate. No water planned for this stop.

Weather is looking good, and the trails are in great shape!

Come ride in the pines.

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Posted (edited)

Trail Art finds a new home

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The Two-Headed Bird Thingie by Boomer, perhaps this is a Boomerdactyl?

 

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Another Boomer-original metal sculpture

Eventually, the ramp will find a new location, for now it is a Lizard perch

 

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The Gingerbread Bunny from Omar's Howl

 

But wait, there's more!

The Lemonade Stand rest area

Officially christened with a Devil's Backbone from Real Ale

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Edited by Ridenfool
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