One way to slightly improve your chances in the Hardrock lottery is to do two days of trail work the previous summer. So I was up on Bear Creek Trail above Ouray again this year with some tools, gloves, and excellent instruction by Trail Boss Rick Trujillo. Here is the Master, overlooking the valley that runs down to Ouray:
We started with a section of trail that had a hump in it. Rick told us he had been up and down that trail hundreds of times, and each time it bothered him. So today we would be flattening it out. We were all for it, especially since this trail is part of the Hardrock course. Imagine how much energy we will save over the course of 140 runners per year for the next xx years... :)
Rick, on the other hand, has lots of energy to spare. Here he is starting in on the trail:
The rest of us getting in on the action:
That wasn't so hard!
Next Rick showed us a section of trail that had been buried by a rockslide and rerouted. This one had a larger up-and-down hump in it. We weren't so sure about building a new trail at first, but we agreed to try and see.
Part of the crew stood on the side of the steep slope (over a cliff) and chunked rocks off the edge. I opted for the saner section (on the right in the above photo) and helped cut a trail with a hoe-like tool called a McCloud. Jean-Jacques and Rick tossing rocks:
Allan helping cut a new trail:
A couple of hikers stopped to help move a boulder (and stayed for a couple more boulders - I think they were enjoying themselves!):
Each boulder took quite a bit of work - pushing, prying...
Until it finally slid off the side:
And down the slope toward the abyss - cool!
More "normal" work on the other end with an axe-like tool called a pulaski:
Another large boulder challenge:
The men succeeded!
And the boulder was on its merry way:
Our finished product:
Just call me "Marcy McCloud" :)
We did a second day of work on the Twin Peaks trail above the other side of Ouray, but that involved tons of schleping tools and lumber and telephone poles (well, basically) up a steep switchback trail. It was too hard to carry a camera and actually be useful at the same time, so I didn't get any photos. Trust me, it was rough! In the end, I did get to "widen and smooth" a section of trail with a McCloud, so I was happy. John even got to push a tree over the side of a gorge, so he was happy.
That's enough trail work for now!