Archive for the ‘Santa Monica Mountains’ Category

May Skills Clinic photos posted May 5

Saturday, May 5th, 2018

We had a relatively large group of 14 riders this month. It was a hot day in the park (a little over 90-degrees) and the park was very crowded. There seemed to be several events going on in addition to the Skills Clinic.

The Basic Skills Clinic is always held the first Saturday of the month at Malibu Creek State Park.

You can see the photos in our May photo gallery.

Report on Santa Monica Mountains Trail Days, April 27-29, 2018

Tuesday, May 1st, 2018

Two trails in Point Mugu State Park (Sycamore Canyon) had significant improvements made to them despite the light turnout this year for the annual SMM Trail Days. For Saturday, the major work day, only about 130 people had preregistered online, so we expected about 100 to show up.

Cutting back the grass to make room for a drainage dip on the Sin Nombre Trail.

Most of the volunteers headed to the Hidden Pond Trail to deal with seriously overgrowing brush and some bad ruts. Meanwhile, five mountain bikers who had signed up via CORBA headed to the Sin Nombre Trail to address the serious rutting. We have worked on this trail in the past, most recently in 2016. Most of the tread is holding up pretty well, but several sections have developed severe ruts where the trail goes straight down the hill (a ‘fall-line’ trail). The ruts develop because there is no place for rainwater to drain off other than following the trail straight down the hill. Short of rerouting the trail so it is doesn’t follow the fall-line, there is no way to repair these serious ruts. As a result, the trail has become very broad as users avoid the rut and create a new path next to the rut. This has happened more than once. All we can hope to do is to avoid the rut enlarging with the next rain, and to prevent another rut from forming in the middle of the new path. We do this by cutting a drainage dip in the trail at the top of the fall-line section to divert the water off the trail before it can erode (or enlarge) a rut.

So on Saturday, the five of us from CORBA, including president Steve Messer, built eight drainages along the entire 1.1 miles length of the Sin Nombre Trail. Digging these were hard work for three reasons. First, the drains had to be quite long to move the water away from the fall-line trail. Second, we had to remove a lot of very thick and robustly rooted grass to build the drain. Finally, the dirt of the trail was almost concrete-hard so was hard to dig through. But we put in a huge effort and even got back to camp a little early so we could beat the crowd to the showers!

On the Hidden Pond Trail on Sunday.

As always, the crowd on Sunday was only about a quarter of Saturday. We all headed off to Hidden Pond Trail (closed to bikes) to complete the work that had been started on Saturday. That involved cutting back grass and brush with a powered hedge trimmer, raking up the cuttings and disposing them of the out of view of the trail, cutting larger brush with loppers, removing a few yucca plants, digging a few drains and filling in some ruts. Most of the trail had been worked on Saturday, so the 20-25 volunteers were able to finish off the trail on Sunday by noon.

Back at the camp, we had lunch made from leftovers from Saturday’s barbecue dinner, followed by another prize give-away. Finally, we packed up, cleaned up the camp and headed back home, happy to have made so much improvement to the trails in just two days!

You can see more photos of the work in our photo gallery of the 2018 event.

 

Summary of Backbone Trail Restoration Done April 14, 2018

Wednesday, April 18th, 2018

Using a weed whacker to cut back the grass

Twelve CORBA and Santa Monica Mountains Trails Council volunteers turned out to help restore the Backbone Trail on the west side of Latigo Canyon Trail this past Saturday. With this relatively small turnout, we weren’t able to do much to repair the substantial ruts, so we focused on cutting back the brush. Power hedge trimmers and a weed whacker allowed us to accomplish much more than if we had been using only hand tools. Overall we cut back brush over 0.44 miles, and trimmed grass over an even greater distance! The work went so quickly that we were able to repair two drains that were completely filled in. We hope to schedule another event there in the fall when we can focus on fixing the ruts and building drains to prevent them from forming again.

Cleaning up the trimmings.

April Skills Clinic photos posted April 9

Monday, April 9th, 2018

This month we had six riders. The weather was clear and cool (a slight possibility of rain was forecast but none fell) but the stream had some slimy water in it, so we skipped the creek crossing and rode down to the Rock Pool instead. The park was getting really crowded as we were riding back to the cars with many large groups of people using the trails.

The Basic Skills Clinic is always held the first Saturday of the month at Malibu Creek State Park.

You can see the photos in our April photo gallery.

Trail Days 2018: We Need Your Help to Restore Sycamore Canyon Trails April 26, 27, 29!

Monday, April 9th, 2018

New this year! The organizers request you register online at their website: https://smmtc.org/machform/view.php?id=11102&element_4_4=California by April 23, please.

Complete info from the organizers: https://www.smmtc.org/maint/traildays.php

For the 37th year running, we have an opportunity to work at rebuilding the trails and then BBQ and camp at Danielson Ranch in Sycamore Canyon. It is opened annually for the Santa Monica Mountains Trail Days! This is a unique opportunity to work on the trails that we enjoy so much in Sycamore Canyon, and the event is followed by a BBQ dinner and prizes (see photo), with free camping on Friday and/or Saturday night. This is hands down the best day to get in some trail maintenance work! Camping is optional; you may leave with the escort after the BBQ.

Schedule at a glance

Friday night April 27 – arrive for overnight camping (optional). Bagels and hot beverages supplied Saturday morning for campers.

Saturday April 28 – Trailwork, barbecue dinner, prize give-away. Bring your own lunch. Optional overnight camping. Bagels and hot beverages supplied Sunday morning for campers.

Sunday April 29 – Trailwork, prize give-away. Bring your own lunch.

You can volunteer to help out on Saturday, Sunday, or both.

BRING: LUNCHES, BEVERAGES, SNACKS AND WATER. Tools and instruction on using them are provided.
WEAR: Gloves, hat, long pants, protective clothing, and work boots or sturdy shoes.
REGISTRATION: Advance registration is required for the activities shown below, and appreciated by April 18th!
TRAILWORK: Saturday and/or Sunday. Help with trail restoratin on one or both days!
CAMPING: Free camping Friday and/or Saturday nights for volunteers at the Danielson Multi-use Area located under the sycamores and oaks in the heart of Point Mugu State Park. Bring your own gear.
DINNER: Sat. Night Barbecue Free FOR VOLUNTEERS. Bring appetizers and beverages.
PRIZES: Thank-you prize give-aways will be held Saturday after dinner and Sunday after trailwork.
VEHICLE ACCESS: You will be able to caravan into and out of the park by vehicle only at these few designated times:

ARRIVE

Friday – 5 pm and 7 pm
Saturday – 7:30 am and 4:30 pm
Sunday – 7:30 am

DEPART

Saturday – 4 pm and 9 pm
Sunday – 8 am and 2:30 pm

DIRECTIONS: Take the 101 Freeway to Wendy in Newbury Park; drive south to Potrero Road, turn right; at Reino bear left to NPS service road (first driveway). Cars will be escorted into and out of the park only at designated times shown above. DON’T BE LATE or you won’t be able to drive in.

MAP: http://bit.ly/1jvTBZP

Help with Backbone Trail Restoration on April 14!

Monday, February 26th, 2018
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Working on the Backbone Trail in November 2013.

On Saturday April 14th, CORBA and the Santa Monica Mountains Trails Council will be working together to restore the Backbone Trail from Latigo Canyon Road. It’s been several years since we worked in this area so we’ll be doing general work on the tread and cutting back overgrowing brush.

We will meet at the dirt parking lot on Latigo Canyon Road where the Backbone Trail crosses the road. Specific driving directions and map are posted on our Meetup event page.

As a thank-you, CORBA will be taking volunteers to lunch afterwards. Trailwork days normally run to about 2:00 pm, so bring a snack to tide you over!

Registering online at our Meetup event will help us plan for this event so we’ll know how many tools to bring and have a better idea of how much we’ll be able to accomplish. Thanks for registering in advance!

This is a popular trail so we hope to see a lot of our mountain biking friends there to help out!

No experience is necessary to help out with trailwork. Tools and instructions on how to use them safely and effectively will be provided. Children under 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian and be must over 7-years old to attend, and children under 14 must be constantly and directly supervised by their parent or guardian who brought them.

Please leave your 4-legged children at home!

And you don’t need to be a mountain biker to help out – Everybody is welcome! For more information on trailwork in general, visit our trail crew web page (http://corbamtb.com/programs/trail-crew.shtml).

Be sure to wear protective clothing (sturdy shoes, long pants and sleeves, hat, gloves) and bring snacks, sunscreen and water. CORBA will provide the tools and training. Everybody works at their own pace.

February Skills Clinic photos posted February 3

Saturday, February 3rd, 2018

This month we had nine riders, over half of whom were in, or training for, the Mountain Bike Unit (MBU). Way to go! The weather was clear and warm but the stream had some slimy water in it, so we skipped the creek crossing and rode down to the Rock Pool instead. The park was really crowded because of a running event and visitors who arrived later were circling the parking lots looking for some place to park. That made it hard to find a safe place with enough room to practice the skills.

The Basic Skills Clinic is always held the first Saturday of the month at Malibu Creek State Park.

You can see the photos in our February photo gallery.

Bright Night Riding Lights Blind Other Trail Users

Saturday, January 20th, 2018

By Tony Hoffman, Resident of Thousand Oaks and frequent trail user

Fellow Trail Users, mountain bicyclists who are out for exercise and to enjoy nature are riding at night in greater numbers than ever before, likely due to improved lighting technology. The newer LED lighting systems are brighter and run longer than the previous generations of  bicycle lights.  But do you ever think of their impact on other trail users or wildlife?

I frequently hike at night and become momentarily blinded by the LED lights from oncoming mountain bicyclists. Often times it is group of night riders who also leave me seeing spots for 15-30 minutes after they passed me. I’ve noticed that most of the time it is two lights per bicycle, one on the helmet and one on the handlebars, so 5 bikes equals 10 extremely bright lights blinding me.

I’ve politely requested the approaching bicyclists “dim” their lights but have been ignored or told the lights will not dim. We all know that cars should dim their brights when approaching other cars to keep the driver from being blinded. Shouldn’t bicycle lights also be dimmed when approaching other trail users for the same reason? If the lights cannot be dimmed, what is wrong with turning off the lights and riding or walking past other trail users and turning your lights back on after you are past us?

Technology always outpaces the law but courtesy never goes out of style. Please consider the impact of your lighting systems on us hikers who enjoy a walk in the park in the dark.

Summary of Backbone Trail Restoration Done January 13, 2018

Wednesday, January 17th, 2018

Nineteen volunteers from CORBA and the Santa Monica Mountains Trails Council met where the Backbone Trail crosses Kanan Road, just north of Tunnel #1, to spend the next few hours restoring the trail towards Latigo Canyon Road. The trail was last worked in April 2016 and since then most of the drains had become clogged with silt and the brush was narrowing the usable part of the trail.

The trail had been flagged the previous day to mark 60 drains that needed to be unclogged or newly built. The flagging went 1.4 miles from the trailhead.

Locations of the 60 new/cleared drains are shown as red X’s along the trail. The parking lot on Kanan is the green star on the left.

We had an inch or so of rain a few days before so the dirt was quite soft. This made the progress go much more quickly than it usually does. It’s so much easier to dig out damp soil than the usual packed dry clay that has the consistency of hardened concrete.

Building a new drain

Most of the volunteers worked on the drains but a small group cut back the overgrowing brush. A crew leader used a hedge trimmer while the others gathered the clippings and hid them off the trail.

Because of the enthusiasm of the volunteers and the soft soil, we worked all 60 drains and got back to the car over a half hour earlier than expected. Of the 60 over 0.9 miles starting above the Kanan tunnel, 16 were new. With only one hedge trimmer, that work went more slowly so there is more work to be done there.

Enjoying lunch on CORBA at the Urbane Cafe and Hamburger Habit.

After the event, CORBA treated the volunteers to lunch at the Urbane Cafe and adjacent Hamburger Habit to thank them for their contribution to everyone’s enjoyment of the trails. Thanks, job well done!

You can see other photos from this event at the photo gallery.

January 2018 Skills Clinic photos posted January 8

Monday, January 8th, 2018

This month we had a larger turnout of 14 riders, including three youngsters. Way to go! The weather was clear and cool. Again we rode through the creek, which is completely dry, and most riders went down the steps on the way to the hill-climbing exercise.

The Basic Skills Clinic is always held the first Saturday of the month at Malibu Creek State Park.

You can see the photos in our January photo gallery.