After finishing Maiden at the end of May this year we tackled the ever-ignored International Trail. This is one of the oldest trails in the HTF and was probably started around 1995/96. The only other trails in there at that time were logging roads and the Eagle Trail. With our RTP grant we wanted to create a multi use, beginner to intermediate loop as a base for this network that has had some haphazard design. International received its name by local bikers who rode around an old rusted International pick up truck. Today’s location of the trail is different than when it was established but it is more connected to the rest of the HTF system now.
The trail was installed as more of a climbing trail from east to west that followed up and down the contour lines of less than 75’ as it went past two small hills of about 1100’ just to the south and above the trail less than a 1000’. This area for years was popular with mud bogging and 4-wheelers. The forest has been logged extensively and this area housed a lot of the roads and log landings for staging lumber to be hauled away. The other challenges with this trail is it is a the bottom plateau of the two hills so it receives pressurized water from above through ledge rock and many natural primary seasonal streams that are intermittent through the year. Thus, lots of mud and flowing water going through during spring and when there is a hard rain. Probably the wettest trail in our whole system.
International can resemble a stream sometimes.
So needless to say we had our hands full with trying to solve this and create the best ways to make it rideable right after a storm. Our secondary goal was to make it enjoyable for walker and bikers because before it was a long straight trail. When you add that to the puzzle you have a fun problem-solving endeavor to play with. The 1.6 mile trail now has a: 125’, 30’, 40’, 25’,20’ and a 15’ bridge spanning wet areas throughout the year with a 32’’ tread for most. The use of the natural stone on the ground and on ledge rock that is able to break apart allows you to create these bomb proof “Roman Roads” I was discussing in the last part of this blog. We made a series of actual waterfalls on the trail that were gouged out over 2’ deep and had a length over 60’. So we employed our landscape skills and built a rock armored step system that could be rode or walked either way. These were some of the most challenging due to the amount of material to collect, funneling water through it but at the same time not letting it erode or move all the material away. Plus make them fun or with a feature!
One of our many bridges. Trail crew installed many feet of Roman Roads.
Several reroutes with features were added throughout the trail to go around wet areas and to change the monotony of a straight line for over 400-1500’. One of the best ones is to the east end where it meets Passing the Horizon and Homestead. We had the chance to use some natural boulders that were 10x12x20’ and we linked several together with different rock faces to take. We even added in some downhill berm turns.
Tim and Walt buffing out a downhill berm
Probably one the most ambitious and creative but yet functional projects was installing a new approach to International and Homestead through the old apple orchard and settlers cabin. We created a series of chicanes and switchback to climb from 700’-900’. Nice long rest areas in between short steep turning elevation changes with a few omega turns to get some speed. An omega turn is one that climbs in elevation, makes a directional change of over 180 degrees and puts in a little downhill glide after you make the elevation turn. They are unique and a blast to ride. All in all, it was a pleasure with our crew, Ben and Jerry’s, Dealer.com and volunteers on trail nites renovating a trail that was almost a rushing creek.
An example of an Omega turn
Maiden and International make an interesting, challenging, scenic, fun 3-mile loop to start your ride, make it your ride or to get to one of the upper trails. Remember these are multi use trails and you will see all levels on them so recreate appropriately and yield to the novice and slower mover. Nest issue part 3 Dragons’ Tail.
Volunteer night on International reroute
The Recreation Trails Program Grant is one major way that we fund our trails. Membership fees contribute a lot, too, but we’re always fundraising. If you haven’t checked out $5 a Foot Fundraiser, where we raffling off any size Giant Trance Advanced (carbon!), for just $5 a chance.
Raffle ends August 15th – Sign up Now!