I hope you were kidding, the BBY mountain trails are closed at night between dusk and dawn.
It always amazes when one sees how much material comes down in a storm. I am amazed again! I rode Naheeno-Mel's-Sidewinder (out and back)-Mel's-Gear Jammer-Uppercut-North Road tonight in the dark and it was unrecognizable in parts. And: 9 trees (some quite large) down across just those trails. There is a hell of a lot of work, including chainsaw work, and digging, to do to clear and repair it all.
I know not everyone can do the heavy work. City/university (?) crews, and those who know who they are, will deal with the fallen trees. Other trail ghosts will shovel and make the bigger repairs.
But what would be great would be if everyone stopped for 15 minutes each ride and tossed the smaller branches and debris from the trails into the bush. I bet the whole mountain would be cleared pretty quickly.
Lots of trees down, but I think more importantly right now is that there are lots of broken, rotten, heavy as hell, trees that are not down yet, but are ready to fall, or are hung up (some precariously), leaning, cracked, and so forth. I cleaned up the lower 2/3 of Naheeno yesterday, and there are two or three scary situations in that short strectch.
So, BE SAFE OUT THERE and DON'T GO IN THE WOODS WHEN ITS WINDY!
You would be disappointed if you met me.
But thanks, I was surprised I got it that far. Impressed by the effort, but you wouldn't be impressed by the intellect behind it. My back is OK, but it could easily have cost me a month of riding.
I am known for doing the odd stupid thing. Definitely a two person job.
It is so much fun to whip around that corner - I don't get why anyone would want to take that little short cut. I have said in the past that not all braids, but perhaps most, are detrimental. This one makes no sense and will eventually lead to unnecessary trail widening and a muddy mess. A hiker's alternative? For reasons already expressed, that doesn't make sense. Nor does it seem to link up with the old portions of the older Lower Gear Jammer "that were deliberately left for hiking."
This afternoon, I rebuilt the block and added to it, including a medium large log. Nailing it together would be good. I also moved that big stump onto it. Heavy. It could be better positioned if two people did the work.
In response to whitehonky (through an email): I would love to see a number of new trails built in the area below University Drive East, dowm to Mel's and further down to the 'bottom.' I rode these two trails in particular many years ago when they were still open. I don't remember well enough to have an opinion concerning their viability.
Regardless, they were both 'officially' closed by the City and public users should not undo that without permission. I want more trail options as much as anyone and I am going to ride these trails to see for myself. If the City ignores their opening, I might ride them more regularly.
However, its a mistake to frustrate the City's operation of all of the BM Concervation Area. Especially now that they are at last becoming more active in new trail building and trail maintenance. While it might not satisfy everyone's wishes, moves by the City (like these closures) need to be respected. These trails should not have been opened up.
I have heard about the "war in the woods" since I started mountain biking 10+ years ago. I ride a lot, I ride all over, I ride at all times of the day, and I cross paths with countless people. I have never even once bumped into this war. It would seem there is less tension between individuals on the trails than between drivers on any given road, by a lot. Certainly less tension than between adults at kids sporting activities. Certainly less than in a lot of situations.
The only difficulties I have experienced were because of me: I can get upset when someone's dog is aggressive, or if a dog walker thinks its OK for their dog to jump all over me, regardless of demeanor. But I understand the nature of dogs - mostly just wanting maximum fun - and I accept that the mountains/trails are full of dogs and their walkers. I also accept the changing nature of the experience of our local mountains. I have even come to terms with mountain biking all over most of the trails over most of our accessible mountain terrain. I used to feel bad (still do at times) about coming down on someone like a freight train and destroying their peace, or worse, scaring/startling them. I still stop sometimes and discuss it all with the people I meet.
But it is a fact of our culture that the nature of outdoor activity is changing. It has changed greatly in the last 10 years, 20 years, and even longer. When we go into the woods, we now look to spark our bodies as much as our souls, and spark our souls through putting ourselves through bodily experience. This is no less human and profound than going into the forest to meditate, take pictures, run, walk, write poems, ski, paraglide and a thousand other things. Regardless, we need to understand that change ripples through. Some things displace others. It is more difficult to go for a quiet walk/hike with each passing year. I sympathize with those (and I am one of them at times) who miss the quiet. But, then again, I sympathize with anyone who misses quiet evening swims in English Bay. But those people have long since passed on, and all of the city's beaches (almost all beaches period) have become busy playgrounds for the millions who visit them. This is life. This is also what our mountain trail networks have become.
I am overstating things somewhat, but the local mountains from Pemberton to the Fraser Valley are what they are: the playground/park/alternative to the urban landscape, both of which are the territory of 2.5 million people and guests. The quiet wilderness is woven through these mountains, but its pure state has been pushed back some ways by more trails and more activity. Complaining about any of this by people who are participating in it is a stupidity. There is no judging of the merits of one activity (say, walking) over another (say, mountain biking). And here is the "overstating of things:" the rediculously vast number of our fellow people wouldn't even consider such a judgement. This is what we all experience, "everyone is happily getting along." Well, almost. As with all human activity there are a very few who don't, can't, or won't get along. Its up to the rest to keep moving, over and past, these few.
As far as the CBC goes, I generally like As It Happens, but this segment was oddly stupid. Usually they produce these kind of 'over the top' and 'one sided' segments about humerous and non-offensive stories. Now I am not going to treat this story as more than it is (hyperbole about a little confrontation), but it is not a funny one, and the CBC did their listeners a diservice by crafting the characterization they broadcast. It wasn't thoughtful, humerous or even correct; it was a poorly produced overstatement of what we all live and know better.
So, "Can't we all just get along?" We already are.
Thanks-again Whitehonky. Very thorough and I appreciate every detail. Your descriptions are good and I always know where you are referring to.
I said I wanted to get up their during the storm too. But at least from where I sit, I had a hard time telling when the storm was on and not. It was chaotic and the rain warnings were deceptive. I thought my roof was going to blow off yesterday, so I can imagine how much wood has fallen on the trails. I will bring my saw for then next while and help out.
Very good to hear that the trails dealt with the water so well. Its the long term that is key, right?
Thanks again, and don't stop reporting.
The Sidebandit trailhead in the picture is just downhill from the light/intersection of Gaglardi and University Drive East (the first light going up the hill). From there you get a gentle climb with a few switchbacks and then it's pretty flat until it hooks up with Sidewinder at about the halfway point. From there upper Sidewinder is also pretty flat until it hits Mel's/Watermain. The lower half of Sidewinder is steeper but still a fairly easy climb. It ends at the pump station service road. The plan (this coming summer) is to extend it down to the bottom area of Nicole's/Gaglardi. I think the idea, beyond just expanding the network, is to provide a climbing option to the Gaglardi super freeway. These trails have no challenges save what the topography provides but they can still be fun (with speed). I use them to extend the length of some rides: dropping down from Mel's and going to the two bottoms and then back up to continue on Mel's.
Don't worry, if I go up there in the storm I will be hiking.
And . . . I understand about the stormwater ponds, but I don't trust anything until it has performed for a good time. This is a tiny little lesson I keep in my back pocket. Substantial performance as a minimum, etc. As I coordinate with an endless list of structural and geotechnical engineers (let alone lawyers) for work, there's always an interesting story. Things can always fail; bridges collapse, though they have been inspected, buildings occasionally fall down, a nuclear reactor in Japan gets built (criminally) with 1/3 the required reinforcing steel, hell, on a personal note, I did a site visit many years ago in Montreal, and went across the street for lunch and the tower crane fell over on our restaurant (no casualties but it cut through the mansard roof and 1-1/2 floors). I know the ponds are fine. I know they are likely 99% properly constructed, and the storm drains too; its just a policy/quirk of mine.
The messes on Seymour and Fromme support everything you have said regarding day on day rain and ground saturation.
Everyone stay safe and out of the woods if the winds get up: 99% perfectly good trees and limbs fall down all over the place.
Everything we've been discussing is going to get a good test this week. We will see if the holding ponds are doing their jobs and if the trailwork is up to handling an extreme multi-day downpour. I hope to get out in the middle of this event, and if I do, I will describe what I find.
Thanks for all the information whitehonky. It is good to be able to understand what is otherwise a mostly invisible system. Sounds like things are being properly dealt with. We'll see.
We are back to the inglorious muck, but my two rides Wed. and Thu. were great: absolutely love the hard frozen dirt. GJ and UC were dry and in better shape than I had feared back a few days.
I just got back from a ride which included Gear Jammer and Upper Cut. I kept having the weird feeling that what I was experiencing made no sense, that it was different from what I remember was the case, which created doubt with my memory. Nonetheless, things seem quite different compared to similar conditions before this year. They have done a pretty good job with the drainage rework on Upper Gear Jammer. But it is surprising to see the amount of water flowing all over the place, including the large volume pouring through the new channel/culvert at the Mel's intersection.
There is work to be done below Mel's. There is still a small stream running down Mel's, north of GJ. The bit where GJ crosses the right of way has become a rocky gorge with a surprisingly large volume going down it. And as biggles604 noted, the bottom of UC is also an eroding little creek. I don't know where the water is coming from but my doubting memory says it was never like that before - under any conditions.
The City needs to get out there and see what actually happens with the runoff. There are plenty of small fixes required.
Water seems to be coming out of everywhere and the trails are suffering. I can only guess what they might be like come spring.