Point 05 is east of the trail on the Little Muskingum River flats and from south side road access, it's shorter to access it from. When I got there, I took the weed whacker out, put some gas in it and tried to start it. It would turn over, but it wouldn't run very long.
By now, the grasses in the river flats have to be very long. And until September 17th at the latest, I'm recommending that all hikers bypass Points 05 - 06 (10/2010 edition map & guide) on Brooks Road/ T94, which will start the on-road in the clockwise (CW)/ westbound (Wb) direction at Point 05, instead of 06.
The Little Muskingum in the flats has been very low lately. It's low enough for me to ford using the thick of my boot heals and not get my feet wet in the process. And low surface water levels are common for Southern Ohio this time of year. But I think I'd like to keep the door open for them just in case and if we can manage to. On a year with more rain, they might be able to fish there.
Personally, I'm not a fisherman and I have no idea what's been caught there before. But I do know that there are some fisherman trails behind the campsites at Lane Farm on OH-26, which is also along the Little Muskingum.
We have a site down there that I plan on using to help maintain the flats that allows us to ford the river at low water. It's easier than having to haul equipment up and down from our 200ft gain/ loss on the east side and our 300ft on the west side. And because one side occurs on private property, only I have permission to access it.
Until now, I've been too busy with maintenance lately to be concerned enough to gather projected dates on local reoccurring events. Now, I plan to publish a calendar of these events for the section and link it somewhere in my person section supervisor's webpage.
|This is Felter Road/ T381 at the Whipple Section - Buckeye/ North Country National Scenic Trail in Independence Township, Washington County, Ohio, USA.|
|This is the Whipple Section - Buckeye/ North Country National Scenic Trail in Lawrence Township, Washington County, Ohio, USA.|
|The unincorporated community of Caywood in Washington County, Ohio, USA as seen from the Whipple Section - Buckeye Trail (on-road)/ North Country Temporary Connector.|
|Stanleyville, Washington, Ohio as seen from the Whipple Section - Buckeye Trail (on-road)/ North Country Temporary Connector in the summer of 2015.|
|Fearing Township, Washington County, Ohio as seen from the Whipple Section - Buckeye Trail (on-road)/ North Country TemporaryConnector in the summer of 2015.|
|The community of Whipple, Washington County, Ohio as seen from the Whipple Section - Buckeye Trail (on-road)/ North Country Temporary Connector in the summer of 2015.|
|Salem Township, Washington County, Ohio as seen from the Whipple Section - Buckeye Trail (on-road)/ North Country TemporaryConnector in the summer of 2015.|
|The community of Warner, Washington County, Ohio as seen from the Whipple Section - Buckeye Trail (on-road)/ North Country Temporary Connector in the summer of 2015.|
|Aurelius Township, Washington County, Ohio as seen from the Whipple Section - Buckeye Trail (on-road)/ North Country Temporary Connector in the summer of 2015.|
|This is Main Street in the Village of Macksburg, Ohio , as seen from the Whipple Section - Buckeye Trail (on-road)/ North Country Temporary Connector in the summer of 2015. The road bridges over the West Branch Duck Creek.|
|This photo was taken in the community of Crooked Tree, Noble County, Ohio as seen from the Whipple Section - Buckeye Trail (on-road)/ North Country Temporary Connector in the summer of 2015.|
This is a photo of the old Hackney Store in the Community of Hackney, Morgan County, Ohio as seen from the Whipple Section - Buckeye Trail (on-road)/ North Country Temporary Connector in the summer of 2015.
|The Whipple Section - Buckeye Trail (on-road)/ North Country Trail Connector (NCTC) in Center Township, Morgan County, Ohio, USA at the 3 way intersection with the Stockport Section facing clockwise/ westbound. It is here that NCTC westbound turns actual south (left) onto the Stockport Section heading clockwise/ west.|
Personally, I'm a very formal, "proper protocol" driven kind of guy. I like doing things by the book as much as I possibly can. On my former east segment of the Norwalk Section, I'd like to believe that it worked out for the hikers. My blazes were so steady and regular there that the hikers probably had it ingrained in their subconscious. Should they miss a turn, they probably didn't have to go far before they somehow got uncomfortable (from a subliminal suggestion) and realized they were on the wrong road. And that was good because the purpose of my on-road segment was to get them to complete the 6 day on-road expanse and then get them off-road as efficiently as possible.
In 5 years and work on 9 sections, I've never seen a BT/ NCT dedicated hiker while I was on maintenance. If I did, that would make my day. And if I met a thru hiker while I was out there, that would also make my day.
What I recommend to anyone who is prospecting a hike on the Buckeye Trail is to call, or e-mail the section supervisors on your route. You might be able to get some "inside information" on things like water, or trail conditions for example.
At this time, all of the auxiliary roads and paths that intersect the Whipple Section's off-road in the Marietta Unit of the Wayne National Forest have been tracked with my GPS. Some of them are maintained by the forest, while others may belong to oil and gas well companies. I had to explore these without a paper map for the most part. Some of them were dead ends.
This data was requested by the BTA's Trail Management Team. In the event that we have a "work week" or "trail crew" (for example) come to the Whipple Section, with the proper permission, we might be able to use these as access for shorter maintenance routes, or for the 300 - 400lb DR Mower that we use to cut brush. Some of our road intersections may not be suitable for those units, but the auxiliary roads and paths might be. Anyways, it's good to see how all of those "mystery skid roads" intersecting the off-road work out when their tracks are overlaid with that of the BT. And it's unlikely that I'll ever have to do this in this for this section in the forest again.
On to bigger and better things...
As for trail promotion, we need some place to put a flier up on. So, I'm also in the process of photographing cork boards and displays starting with public libraries that are local to the section, as well as those in the remainder of the metropolitan area first. Then I'll move to the local post offices and mail facilities in the area. Local coffee shops often have community relations boards, too.
The Whipple Work Week will bring in volunteers from all around the state to work on the 57.6 mile, on and off-road, Whipple Section - Buckeye/ North Country Trail in the New Matamoras, Marietta and Beverly of Washington County areas.
The BTA is getting ready to send me materials to promote and recruit with. As a section supervisor, this is not in my list of duties. But because I'm local, it's now something to where I should make it my business to learn the "lay of the land" because it concerns the growth and sustainability of the section.
Also on this day, The Wilderness Loop became camping/ lodging deficiency free with the addition of a new campsite that's near the Whipple Section's Northern Tier (on-road). It makes the loop "thru hike compliant." That's a measurement that's based on the days and mileages it would take to hike the 1,440 mile Buckeye Trail circuit in 90 - 110 days. Whipple and The Wilderness Loop, for the first time in their 33 year existence now conforms to these demands as far as camping/ lodging is concerned.
Whipple Section's on-road is designed to route hikers from the Marietta Unit of the Wayne National Forest to the AEP ReCreation Land. This part of the section doesn't get much regard, but I believe that it's importance is about to increase. Both of these areas are quite remote and for a certain audience, that's what they're really into. The on-road was designed to carry these enthusiast hikers, but because of the lack of support in previous years, many were probably hesitant to make the journey. As of today, that is not the case. I think the on-road now is going to finally live up to what it's designed to do.
The section crosses 35 stream beds in its off-road areas. It has 77 deficiencies at present. The entire 57.2mi section has 106 intersections. 18 of those are between roads on the off-road trail, 2 are for the Greenwood Trail, 2 are for the gated German Cemetery Rd/ T623 and the remainder are skid roads. I still have yet to compare the forest map to my data and see if I missed any former roads. The next step on those 18 are to explore and track them with my GPS.
The elevation profile on Google Maps' bicycling directions stated that it would be easier if I parked the car at Pt. 04 and cycled back from Pt. 01. But I just found out today how much my road bike despises gravel roads. It was rough. I now know that I need a mountain bike to loop with on the BT.
I used my master off-road track and deleted it from Pts. 01 - 04. It now reads this as being 5.53 miles, which is off by 0.14 miles from my data and the guide. What I'm trying to track down is a discrepancy between with the guide where the GIS track's measurement is off by 0.7 miles. At the moment, I'm one off-road inspection from determining which one is right so I can devise a set of "mile markers" using waypoints in Google Earth for maintenance and section administration purposes. I've accumulated so much data in the last 9 months, that the point system that we use on the guides isn't accurate enough to describe them anymore.
"Jolly" is was what the U. S. Post Office called the town that is now the unincorporated community of Brownsville in Monroe County. Brownsville is 5.8 miles from the Village of New Matamoras of Washington County and 3.3 miles from the Road Fork Section - Buckeye/ North Country Trail at the Ring Mill Campground in Monroe County in the Marietta Unit of the Wayne National Forest. A picture of the old town is located in The New Frontier Restaurant in New Matamoras of Washington County.
At present, there isn't a post office in Brownsville.
Today, I drove to the Community of Whipple to get my mail at the Post Office. And on my way there, I decided to go there by way of the Whipple Section on-road trail. When I got to the former village, construction crews had traffic forced onto OH-821 Nb because the Ohio Department of Transportation and the local oil & gas industry were demolishing the old rail bridge that went over the highway.
As I'm told, the story with this is that the local oil & gas trailers can get stacked high. With the bridge being low, it's been slammed into several times. And the re-route around Whipple (the Community of) is a long one. So, with the railroad being defunct, a local oil & gas company is paying to have it demolished and it should be completed on 08/15/2015.
But while I was in Whipple, I picked up my mail and a package today at the Post Office. It's too bad that they're closing this location on September 25th because even though I have to drive about 10 miles from Marietta (which also has a perfectly good PO) to get it, I like having my mail right there just off the trail. And so far, I've been able to listen and engage some of the residents there and I'm beginning to like them.
With that being said, I just received my Velocity Clip for my bicycle. It's a smartphone mount that cranks down on the device and keeps it from slipping out and hitting the road. And for the past few days, I've been having trouble replacing my front intertube. This is the first time that I've ever had to do this on a road bike. The tube on my previous attempt kinked and blew. Unlike a mountain bike, only about 80% of the flattened road bike tube would line the interior tire. But days ago, I got some advice from someone at the Marietta Adventure Company and he said that it needs to be filled with a little air first to get it's shape right. Well, I did that today and learned that because of my 1982 Motobecane's (bike brand) brakes, that I had to insert the wheel in with the tube uninflated and then pump them up. Afterwards, I got the Velocity Clip mounted and positioned correctly.
The plan for tomorrow is to re-inspect the Whipple Section - Buckeye/ North Country National Scenic Trail from Pts. 04 to 01 collecting the same information that I did on Pts. 04 - 06. Then ride my bike on road from 01 back to 04.
But I just got help from a colleague who lined me up two possibilities today. One is somebody in the area who owns a weed whacker and the other unit is in Michigan now and won't be back for a week. The problem with the weed whacker is that the flats are 1.1 miles long and the brush that has to get cut three feet wide is three feet tall itself. The only thing that we have going for it them is the fact that I can still see the forest floor though them, so it's not very thick. But I imagine that with two of us, it would probably take an hour and 20 minutes just to reach it on either end and an additional hour between the two of us to cleaning.
But it might be easier to ford the weed whackers across the Little Muskingum River from NFS property on Alexander Road in Lawrence Township of Washington County? When I was considering how the DR's might do it, the TMT and I discussed using a couple creek mouths that terminate into the river, but gradually incline from it back to the embankment. Maybe this is back on for the weed whackers and I need to go do some more in-person research?
The reason why I'm finding that we need the mile markers is because I'm generating so much data in the form of waypoints between water, obstructions, pictures and cellular service areas. For those who do use a GPS device, eventually I can just inform them what miles they'll encounter them at and it will be much more precise than telling them that something is about 1.5 miles W of Pt. 05 (for instance).
A couple days ago, I took a drive over most of the on-road. And while I was out, I charted the individual pockets of Verizon Wireless cellular signal out there. I still have to take the waypoints and use them for the basis of my new tracks which will tell others how long they'll have signal for in each. But at this time, my data reveals that the section's on-road has the longest streak of coverage from the communities of Warner in Washington County to Crooked Tree of Noble County.
At 155,743 miles on the odometer of my Chevy HHR LS, the rear brake shoes and drums, cylinders and one brake line between the axle and cylinder were replaced by Pioneer Chevrolet in Marietta of Washington County.
I attempted to do this here at the house I'm staying at, but when I went to remove the brake line from a cylinder, it twisted. I could have physically replaced it myself, but having an air bubble that big seemed like it was out of my league. So, I had it towed across town and my bill was combined to total $296.01 considering that I had already purchased about $190 worth of parts for it at Auto Zone in Marietta of Washington County.
The parking brake now engaged in three clicks (like it's supposed to) instead of nearly all the way up like it was. My driveway is so steep that I was chalking the car with it in gear, the wheel cocked hard left, the parking brake up and it was on chalks. But, not anymore. I'm confident to take it blazing on Whipple's on-road now.