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Log 2015083101

Today, I got my loaned weed eater and drove my car down to Alexander Road in Independence Township of Washington County.  A family on ATV's invited me to use a ford that was located on one of their paths along the Little Muskingum River.  But I spoke to a local resident and there could be some problems depending on who's property it's on.  So, until I speak to the Washington County Engineers again to get the ownership of a certain site, I turned around and attempted to access the area from Whipple Section - Buckeye/ North Country Trail, Point 05 (10/2010 edition map & guide)

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.


Log 2015082701

It's been a record month here on the Treeman's Adventures & Volunteerism log.  Earlier today, it surpassed 3,000 pageviews in the last 2 years, 1 month and 13 days.  And about Whipple's photos, their captions read when they where taken.  I designed that not only to be a showcase of the section, but should the metaphorical "spiders" that crawl over the world and catalog websites for retrieval by search engines index this page, people who have left home from these areas can one day see a picture of where they're from wherever they are.


Log 2015082501

Today, I just found a brochure for the 2015 Ohio River Interstate Catfish Tournament that was locked away in my safe.  That event was 9 days ago and included tributaries of the Ohio.  Had I would have known this, I would have expedited the maintenance along the Little Muskingum River flats between the Whipple Section - Buckeye/ North Country National Scenic Trail, Pts. 05 - 06 of the October 2010 edition map and guide.

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.

Photographs of the Whipple Section - Buckeye/ North Country Trail

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.

Jackson Township, Noble County, Ohio as seen from the Whipple Section - Buckeye Trail (on-road)/ North Country Temporary Connector in the summer of 2015.

This is Centerville in Center Township of Morgan County, Ohio, USA as seen from the Whipple Section - Buckeye Trail (on-road)/ North Country Temporary Connector.

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.


Log 2015082401

The maintenance for the Whipple Section - Buckeye/ North Country Trail is starting to wind down now. So I put the first two hours in on the Ohio Transit Hiker's Resource. Last year, I couldn't finish the 2015 Edition, so I'm taking where I left off and hopefully, I'll have a 2015 Edition in February. With today's work, I went through all 51 Ohio counties to check the status of their dial-a-ride, shared ride, or curb-to-curb type services. So far, the only change is that Pike County is now for residents only, instead of the general public like they were before. Things like this happen, but it's disappointing because the GO bus stops in Piketon of Pike County. The two nearest regional bus stops in that area now in Lancaster of Fairfield County by way of the New Straitsville, Old Man's Cave and Scioto Trail Sections - Buckeye/ North Country/ American Discovery Trail in the east and Batavia of Clermont County by way of the Williamsburg Section - BT/NCT/ ADT in the west.


Log 2015082301

The barn for the Buckeye Trail Association (BTA Barn) on Tappan Lake in Harrison County is at 39.420722, -81.470985


Log 2015082101

I come to this post as a volunteer section supervisor of the Whipple Section - Buckeye/ North Country Trail having been a distance hiker.  From what I understand, there are few of us that are like this.  And as I understand in the Buckeye Trail Association, it's like their simply volunteers, or hikers, but not usually both.

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...


Log 2015082001

To be resourceful, you must first know your resources. I'm designing a "war chest" of data and today I finished collecting geotagged photos of local library communuty announcement coark boards.


Log 2015081901

German Cemetery Road/ T623 and one skid road that connects it to the Whipple Section - Buckeye/ North Country National Scenic Trail was tracked with the GPS today.  While the personal 4WD pick-up trucks of Buckeye Trail (BT) maintainers don't have permission to access these gated and skid roads, we might be able to get permission.  BT's Trail Management Team requested that I track and catalog these and with the Whipple Work Week coming up in September, I thought it was prudent to start this project now.

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.


Log 2015081801

At this time, with the BTA's Whipple Work Week about a month away, I am switching the section's priorities from being "maintenance" to more "promotion & recruitment" oriented.  Since I am a "transplant" in to this area, I must confess that I don't know the Parkersburg - Marietta - Vienna metropolitan area very well yet.  A couple of days from now, I'll be seeking to find ways to get myself "plugged-in."  What I'd like to do is learn the people and their going sub-culture in different places.

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.


Log 2015081701

Maintenance for the Whipple Section - Buckeye/ North Country Trail has been scheduled so that condition being perfect as according to defined parameters is the goal.  In doing that, I set up a re-blazing schedule for the following 2016, 2017 and & 2018 years and made note of where I park my car.  Turns and intersections for Pts. 01 - 02, 03 - W to 18 are scheduled to be reapplied annually.


Log 2015081501

I met the adopter for the Whipple Section - Buckeye Trail/ North Country Temporary Connector today.  And I helped him paint navigational blazes between Pts. 18 - 23 of the section's 10/ 2010 map and guide with my car.  It was a great experience.

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.



After completing the re-inspection for Whipple Section - Buckeye/ North Country National Scenic Trail off-road, I downloaded the track that I made for Pts. 04 - 01.  I have concluded that the BTA's GIS/ GPS Depository merged Whipple track measurement is accurate and that the guide on the Whipple Section, October 2010 is off by 0.4 miles between these points.  The actual measurement of Pts. 01 - 06 is 14.72 miles, for which the depository is 0.28 miles high and the guide is 0.42 miles too low.

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'm sifting through the some of the data that I accumulated on the re-inspection of Pts. 04 - 06.  And while I was out there, I made a track over the route with my GPS and reset it's trip computer (like a trip tick) at the beginning.  The track came out bad, but the computer's reading was 5.39 miles.  I can now confirm that mileages stated in the Whipple Section - Buckeye Trail's guide are consistent with my data.  And I reported earlier that my car's trip tick reading corresponded with the guide as well.  The GPS may not be as accurate as the Global Imaging System (GIS) that is used professionally and by the Buckeye Trail Association, but it's distance and curves should be correct.

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.

Log 2015081102

I drove though all of Bear Run Rd/ C25 and part of Archer's Fork Rd/ C9. And I can confirm now that the bridge construction on both roads are complete and they are no longer closed at the points that I mentioned on my personal section supervisor's page.
On this log, I mention counties in addition to unincorporated areas, townships, cities and village names in Ohio because Google Maps & Earth doesn't always snap. When you have trouble, try writing your seach query something like:
"Brownsville, Monroe County, Ohio."
"Sitka, Washington County, Ohio"
And 9 times out of 10, that will get you better results. Buckeye Trail maps only display a little more than the area it needs.  Often times, it may not be able to display every town within 4mi. And with out additional overlays in Google Maps and Earth, they won't display counties.  So, if the prospective hiker is more of a "low tech" person, I'd recommend using an Ohio Atlas by Delorme to estimate the trails position in relation to what's around it. In fact, I might even go so far as to highlight it's roads and use a pencil to approximate the off-road trail.  Several members of the Buckeye Trail Association's "Trail Management Team" (which include it's "sawyers," or chainsaw operators) continue to use this paper book map because it displays Ohio's township and county roads.

Log 2015081101

"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.


Log 2015081001

The inaugural post for this log was made on July 7th, 2013.  Which means that in 2 years, 1 month and 3 days, I have published 297 posts and have 2,779 page views.  In my opinion, that's spectacular.  Should it keep up it's pattern, it should surpass 300 published posts and 3,000 pageviews.

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.


Log 2015080803

Correction... today will just be for scouting for a fording opportunity from NFS land on Alexander Road to the BT/NCT in the Little Muskingum River flats.

Log 2015080802

There's been a change in plans. I'll be reinspecting Pts. 04 - 06 from Bear Run Rd/ C25 to Brooks Rd/ T94 near Cow Run Rd/T19 in Lawrence Township of Washington County.

Log 2015080801

The DR Mower is a big 400lb machine.  From what I'm told, it's like a large lawn mower with a snowblower's front end and using it is very physical.  But I've been told that the 200ft gain/ loss on either side of the Little Muskingum River flats is just too much for it. And I should look for some kind of way to ford it when the river is real low.  The problem is that I can't guarantee that we can do that while we have access to federal property on both sides.

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?


Log 2015080701

Whipple Section - Buckeye/ North County Trail is scheduled to be re-inspected on Pts. 01 - 04 on Saturday, 8 August 2015 and then have obstructions removed that stand to impede the blazing process.   While I'm at it, I also intend to collect waypoint data on the location of former township, or skid roads along the section's off-road in the Wayne National Forest - Marietta Unit so that they can be explored and tracked with a GPS later.  Also, I'll be out to obtain the location of every stream that the off-road runs parallel with, or intersects.  I'll be making a note of it's cellular coverage areas on Verizon Wireless for other hikers to use in planning if they own a current copy of the Whipple Section's map.  Then finally, I intend to try and confirm the trail's off-road milage.  Right now, the BTA GIS/ GPS Depository doesn't agree with the paper guide's mileage and if off by 0.7 miles.  My goal is to find out which one is right and then base the sections digital mile markers off them for maintenance purposes.

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.


Log 2015080301

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.