This story comes courtesy of our own Julie Kramer – who spent her Saturday a few weeks ago lending a hand to a trail work party organized by our long-time friend Jim Thornton.
You never know what kind of weather a Saturday in October in Northwest Oregon might bring. We got lucky on Saturday October 20th, heading out into a deluge of cold rain, and arriving on the East side of Mount Hood in sun, light snow and crisp mid-30’s temps. Longtime Sellwood customer and friend, Ranger Jim Thornton and his trusty Forest Service volunteer Paul Gundlach prepared the area ahead of time, painstakingly marking areas with specific instructions on brightly colored flags along the trail system known locally as “44 Trails.” These trails branch Eastward, off Highway 35, fanning in all directions from FR-44, and include some of our favorites, like Fifteenmile, High Prairie, and 450. A group of about 40 volunteers came from Hood River, Portland, Vancouver, Carson, and all points in between. Ranger Jim immediately got to work on some downed trees, and the rest of us spread out, moving dirt and wet gravel to control erosion.
After a quick lunch break to inhale some sandwiches provided by NY Subs (a Hood River-based shop), we heard a strange noise. Soon enough, four motorbikes appeared, sputtering up the trail. Our man Paul approached them, standing firmly on the singletrack, to inform that they were in the midst of designated wilderness trail. The young men were extremely apologetic, unaware that the trails were off limits to them. They also expressed that they did not want to ruin the outcome of our obvious sweat equity. I exclaimed, “you guys look fit and strong–wanna help us?” The next thing you know, they parked their motos, and picked up shovels. They would have stuck around for the sweet bonfire and raffle prize giveaway, but they had to go get ready for their high school’s homecoming dance that night.
A good four hours of solid trail work ended in a celebration for some, huddling around a fire, and receiving small tokens of appreciation from Sellwood Cycle, Dirty Fingers Bike Shop, Dakine, 10 Speed Coffee and more. My friend Sam and I chose to brave a brisk wind and descending sunlight for a few miles of singletrack to check our work. We totally got all A’s!
Keep an eye on the Sellwood site for upcoming info about trail work in our area. This coming Saturday NOVEMBER 17th, is the Third Annual Charley LaVenture Trail Day. This entails a few hours of trail maintenance, followed by some riding. Meet at 9am at Dirty Fingers [1235 State Street, Hood River, OR 97031 (541) 308-0420] and depart for the trail at 9:30am. Whether you’re a veteran or newbie trail builder, all able bodies are welcome!