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Log 2015073001

I attempted to change the rear brake shoes on my 2008 Chevy HHR LS.  And I was using a rubber mallet to properly position them after tensioning to put the drum back on.  In the process, I ruptured a seal on one of the calipers.  Since I'm broke, a hiker and somewhat of a cyclist, I don't plan on getting the parts to fix it until tomorrow.  This is weird because that caliper was still it's original blue color (and not caked in brake dust like usual).  That leads me to believe that they weren't replaced that long ago.  But I've got a theory about them.

After I did the last full brake job, I had air in the brake lines.  But it only broke on the opposite caliper.  So, that's the one that I bled.  And the brake position was ok, but not the best. About 2 months ago, I noticed a drop in the peddle position.  The mechanics in not so many words told me that I was crazy and that the brakes were still hitting.

Tomorrow, I'm renting a portable air compressor and I'm going to bleed the brakes all four ways around.  I've had new front discs in the trailers gear bay.  Tomorrow, I'll get new drums and get this all new and right the first time.

Labor Day is coming up and I'm eager to get my portions of the Whipple Section - Buckeye/ North Country Trail re-blazed.  And I'm looking forward to upgrading the navigation on the on-road


Link to the Whipple Section - Buckeye/ North Country Trail - Section Supervisor's Personal Page

Click here for the Whipple Section - Buckeye/ North Country Trail - Section Supervisor's Personal Page

The 1,440 mile Buckeye Trail is divided into 26 sub-units, or "sections."  The Whipple Section is 57.6mi/ 92.7km long from the Scenic River Trailhead on C9 in Independence Township of Washington, County to an on-road intersection that is just south of of the AEP ReCreation Land in Center Township of Morgan County.  The North Country National Scenic Trail (NCNST, always off-road) and North County Trail Connector (NCTC, usual designation for the on-road) are concurrent throughout this particular section and with the BT as a whole for 913mi/ 1469.3km.

This section passes through the following, places mostly in the Marietta area.

Washington County
      Wayne National Forest - Marietta Unit (on and off-road)
      Independence Township (on and off-road)
      Lawrence Township (on and off-road)
      Sitka (on-road)
      Fearing Township (on-road)
      Caywood (on-road)
      Stanleyville (on-road)
      Salem Township (on-road)
      Whipple (on-road)
      Warner (on-road)
      Aurelius Township (on-road)
      Macksburg (on-road)

Noble County
      Jackson Township (on-road)
      Crooked Tree (on-road)

Morgan County
      Center Township (on-road)
      Centerville (on-road)
      Hackney (on-road)

   Most of the BT is maintained by a section (volunteer) supervisor and other volunteer trail adopters.  It is unknown how long the section's on-road has been on it's current route?  But given it's purpose and the routing of the lesser used roads in the area, it is doubtful that most of it's route has ever changed since 1987.  Most residents along the Whipple Section have probably never seen a hiker.  And in the near future, they should probably expect the low hiking traffic to continue.


Log 2015071801

I gave a couple transit hikers a lift to Stockport today.  They're connection with a private transportation company fell through. Ordinarily, the best way to Stockport from interstate bus transit to Stockport is to disrmbark it at Zanesville, then having had a reservation, board the shared ride type Morgan County Transit there and have them transport the hiker(s) to Morgan County locations. But since this is a Saturday, most local transit operators in SE Ohio are out of service today. So, Marietta would have been the better option on a weekend for a trip like this.


Log 2015071601

The most of the section's off-road has been groomed 3ft wide by 8ft tall.  Pts. 03 - W to 04 still need to be checked.   We're really close to being able to re-blaze 10 of the off-road's 14.3 miles. But that we had a storm about a week ago that blew down some obstructions, but from what I've seen, they've been easy to get over.

Two years ago, a storm with tornadic winds devastated the area. It was so bad that NFS had to shut the off-road down and pay overtime wages to its workers to clear dangerous obstructions. Those day are long gone, but it's speculated that it weakened some of the trees that are still standing.  In the meantime, Whipple's off-road may be more subject to fallen trees now than usual.

With the recent news, it seems that the off-road may have to get re-inspected to give the Trail Management Team's sawyers an accurate count. I plan on saving that for a rainy day without lightning.


Log 2015071401

I'm looking at three good days this week to possibly finish grooming Pts 03 - W to 05 and then reblaze as much as I can, but that's hard to say.  Those three days are the only ones were projected to get and they still have a couple days to change, which has been the going norm lately.

Yesterday, I made contact with an employee for the Student Activities Department at Washington State Community College and Erin from Student Life at Marietta College asking about if they had any hiking clubs and making myself available for presentations and possibly to be an advisor for a new club at Washington State.


Log 2015071201

I just started pruning Whipple Section, Pts. 06 - 05 today.  This is my longest two points that includes a 300ft drop, rise, high growth along the Little Muskingum River and then my field of picker bushes in the east.  It's Whipple's longest distance between points at 4.1 miles.  Since we don't have the oil and gas access drives mapped yet, there's no choice but to do the whole thing.  Today, I found about new 3 downed trees.  We just had the sawyer (chainsaw) crews clean Whipple up in mid-May.  This merely shows that the section's off-road may have to be re-inspected just to take account of the obstructions so I can call them up to the Buckeye Trail Association's (BTA) "Trail Management Team..." again.  They're scheduled to come down in mid-September anyways.

That's fine.  The re-inspection will give me time to collect more GPS data on the location of obstructions so I can determine if there is a pattern to how they occur.  That might help us manage the trail better in the future.

But I did recognize one of the access roads closer to Pt. 05.  I could see Brooks Road/ Township Rd 94 from the Buckeye/ North Country National Scenic Trail (BT/NCNST).  It was getting dark and once I started at my pricker field, I had hand pruners and realized that I need to use hedge clippers instead and do a more "blunt" job.  Well, that's alright because Pts. 04 - 05 are short.

The only thing that concerns me is that on the access drive that I was on, ATV's have bypassed NFS's gate.  BT/NCNST is either so small that they didn't notice, or they generally know that our trail obstructions are only cleared 3ft wide and they could damage their vehicles.  As far as I can tell, much of our terrain does not support bypassing obstructions like it does in the other, or Athens Unit of the Wayne National Forest.


Log 2015071001

Today, I drove down towards Whipple Section - Buckeye/ North County Scenic Trail, Point 01 (as per BT's 10/2010 map & guide for the section) in hopes of re-blazing Points 01 - 02.  But as I got close, I determined that the trees were too damp to do it.  As I was driving on County Road 9/ C9 in Independence Township of Washington County, I spotted a hiker and came to a stop to see if he was on the BT/ NCT?  Turns out that he was and that he was on C9 because the off-road trail was too slick and may be impassable for the moment.

He's a multi mode recreationalist, where he hikes, canoes and uses a bicycle.  I heard about him many months ago on the Buckeye Trail's Facebook group.  To those who don't know, the BT has two Facebooks.  One is the "page" that is normally used by headquarters and the other is the "group," which is more like an end user driven forum.  I contribute to the group on most days.

After talking to him, I turned the car around at German Cemetary Road/ Township Rd 623.  As as I was aborting my mission, I came up with a second one.  Mostly for my own records, I think it might be advantageous if the section's GIS/ GPS data was broken down into miles (like mile markers).  Well, the BTA GIS/ GPS Depository contains a KML file that displays the trail, but its in hundreds of little baby tracks.  I once took the time to organize and label mine into their respective 26 sections. But in order for them to be useful to a hiker, they have to be merged into those sections.  I've done several successfully, but I've never got their total mileages down exactly in sync with what the official mileages are on the section guides.

Because Tittle Run Rd/ Twp Hwy 43 in Lawrence Township of Washington County is a four wheel drive road, I ended up having to start my test at Point 08 in Fearing Township of said county.  It took over an hour to reach the Whipple Section's west terminator @ Pt. 24/ Stockport Section, Pt. 07.  At the end, the trip tick on the dashboard read "40.5mi."  The official measurement for that trip is "40.4mi."  It's possible that both are correct if the Buckeye Trail Association's Map Team used a surveyor wheel on foot.  If I was traveling generally from east to west in the right lane, my vehicle would have to make a more elaborate turn each time I turned left (generally west).  Over 40 miles, it's possible that I could be off by a tenth of a mile.  So, the on-road trail lines up.

But I have dependencies with the off-road trail.  The number that Google Earth comes up with is 0.7mi higher for it and the total combined section length.  The way that I see it, either I did something wrong during the merging, or there's something wrong with the stock tracks there?  Well, there's only one way to find out and that is to get out there and measure all 14.3 miles myself on foot with the gps.  I can reset the trip computer to zero miles and draw a new track for comparison with it.


Log 2015070901

According to information from my point of contact and federal property shapefiles from the National Forest Service, I believe that part of the off-road for the Whipple Section - Buckeye/ North Country National Scenic Trail is on nine easements in the Marietta Unit of The Wayne.  At this time, I do not know how wide they are, or if there are inaccuracies with the BT GIS data, or NFS's shapes?

Until I do know, all BT/ NCNST hikers in the Marietta Unit should refer to the federal property shapes on the maps from either agency.  In my opinion, the North Country Trail Association's (NCTA) OH-105 map displays them better, but the Buckeye Trail Association's (BTA) October 2010 Whipple Section map and guide is more up to date by 7 years.  They'll both do fine, it's just that the NCTA's map illustrates this better.


Log 2015070801

New public parking areas were added and linked to the KMZ file on my section supervisors page here on Blogger. The file is incomplete for the entire trail except Whipple. The probe for public parking along the Whipple Section - Buckeye/ North Country Trail is complete. I do have somewhat of a gap and the only way to do it better is to probe off trail with my car. 

      Right now, I'm satisfied with what we have so far except, there are no all weather parking areas for smaller front wheel drive vehicles in the winter. Those hikers would have to have to park in a private lot, such as one for a church, or business then. Hiker's who fit this description need to select a location with a plowed lot that is off a plowed road.

Yesterday, I got Whipple's "Y" blaze painted at the 3-way Intersection with the Stockport Section. But we have a couple of blazes that need to be canceled with the official Yuma Green color that we use for this. Well, my last can turned into a solid from being in unheated storage last winter and I won't be able to get a replacement until next month.

And the last 30 days have been almost impossible to maintain the section due to lightning in the forcast because there isn't anywhere to take shelter for most places on-road and none on-road. Even with the hour by hour reports on my smartphone, which you can't updates for on half of the section (no cellular signal), it could be risky. At 73°F, it probably takes our exterior latex paint about 20 minutes to dry. If it rains, everything painted within the last 20 minutes will streak and that will be a bad day.


The Wilderness Loop 3-way Intersection - South

This is the Whipple Section, Buckeye Trail [North Country Trail Connector (NCTC) concurrent] heading clockwise (CW)/ west as it approaches it's west terminator at the Stockport Section, just south of the AEP Recreation Land in Center Township of Morgan County, Ohio, USA. This is the south intersection where The Wilderness Loop meets Buckeye's main loop.

According to the direction that this picture was taken, the NCTC turns left on to Stockport Section heading CW at the intersection shown.

Washington County, Ohio Flag


Log 2015070304

I didn't get out to do maintenance on the off-road like I mentioned on the Buckeye Trail's Facebook Group. So, I got some shopping done today. Currently, I live in the Harmar Hills neighborhood in Marietta of Washington County. It's temporary, but things are getting settled in here.  I'm hoping that the weather forecasts give me a break from the lightning soon. And I finally got my engine work done on the 1st. Before, I've had to confine my volunteerism to strictly clerical work. I'll get DSL here on the 6th at 2pm or later.

I'm planning on doing somewhat of a trail patrol in my car on-road tomorrow  (Independence Day 2015). NFS already has the program defined to its ATV trails and I haven't asked them if Buckeye could do something similar yet.

My trail patrol supplies consist of speatamints, 10L of water and a first aid kit. I just cleaned off the front seat in my car from the dirt that my brother's dog tracked in 8 months ago.