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3rd Trail Builder - Lake Shore - 07 Mar 2009

By Mark

80 photos of Lakeshore are here!

Despite the weather forecast and the promise of rain, we drove to Pittsfield for the third trail build of the 2009 year.  On the morning of Saturday March 7th we woke up to lots of clouds and 55 degree weather.  Breakfast at the VFW was excellent as usual and in spite of the threatening weather we had a good turnout.  Four trails were open for the day, Ridge Rambler, Lake Shore, Myer’s Mayhem, and Atlas.

We chose to go with trail guides Chad Suhre and Carey Levoy to Lake Shore, a trail that hasn’t been used in several years and that is being prepared for the 2009 season.  Twelve Jeeps headed to Lake Shore and it looked a lot like the Safari was here already. 

Once at the property everyone aired down and we split up into two groups.  One headed to the top of a ravine and the rest of us headed into a creek bed with the intent of each group meeting in the middle.  After about an hour both groups met and it was time to test the creek.  With some really decent rock ledges to climb and the rocks being very slippery it was really important to have aired down and lockers were definitely an advantage.  No one was towed or winched  through this area but several without lockers had to really work to find a line that would work for them. 

After a long hill climb the entire group removed a few trees and then we ate lunch.  It looked like Chad had been working pretty hard and his head met with something at least as hard.  We looked at the skies expecting it to rain at any time but the weather was great, 72 degrees, cloudy, and dry.  After lunch we cut up a large downed tree for the property owner and then started working on a narrow creek and V notch.  Once this job was done several Jeeps drove the new trail and several had to be winched.  With a lot of slippery rock and some off camber it was a lot of fun.

By this time it was 3:15 and Chris and I decided to call it a day.  It would be five hours before we got home by the time we got to the trailer, got tied down, and made the drive.  A couple of other Jeeps called it a day at the same time but the rest of the group continued on.  We were on the road driving north about thirty minutes from Pittsfield when we hit the rain that was headed south. 

The cleanup on Lake Shore hasn’t been completed yet but Chad and Carey have it pretty well figured out and certainly know how to lay out a great trail.  When we exited the creek we did so at a point in which two creeks met, we went up the right side creek and then left it going up a long hill.  What we didn’t get to see in the left side creek was that around the corner there was a waterfall, ice, and a lot more great wheeling area.  The ground is excellent with many challenges,  creek beds, lots of rock, long and steep hills, V notches, and definitely mud if it gets wet.  They aren’t sure if the name will be changed and the trail hasn’t been assigned a rating yet but it certainly will be a 3 or better and a lot of fun.

Chris and I are hoping that the next trail build will be as well attended and that with better weather a lot more members will participate.  All the trails need some work and testing to get them ready for the year.  Ridge Rambler still has a few miles of trail that was damaged in the ice storm of 2007 and at the same time they are trying to open up a new harder loop.  We hope to start and finish our new V notch on New Salem at the next build and there will be other trail guides there hoping to get their trails ready.  Don’t let the term “Trail Build” scare you off, trail building is really not work, it’s a great way to meet everyone, enjoy the trails, and have a great day wheeling and being with friends.  A lot of information is exchanged and a lot is learned by everyone.  It’s also a great time to take your Jeep on a trail that is rated higher than your Jeep is rated for.  During the Safari and the Blast there are too many Jeeps and there isn’t time to allow this to happen.  Hope to see everyone in two more weeks.

Created: 08 Mar 2009