SCT Hwy92 and Old Harris

Worked on the Hwy92 bridge section of the Silver Comet Trail today. Build-up from erosion has been forcing mud onto the trail at this point and creating a hazard. I had removed the mud from the trail previously but didn’t have time or a plan to address the real source of the problem. Sorry, no before pictures for today’s work. The plan that I came up with was to create two berms to channel the silt laden runoff away from the trail. I then created a runoff channel adjacent to the trail. I was able to merge the three channels into the existing natural runoff.

In this image you can see the trail runoff channel on the left and the upper silt berm to the right. (click images to enlarge)

Upper Silt Berm and Runoff Trench

In this image you can see the drainage channel and the lower silt berm. A lot of material had to be moved to create the berms and drainage channel, as accumulated soil was well above the level of the trail. If I had more time and energy I would have extended the runoff channel as sections are still encroaching onto the trail. These mods will get the job done for now.

Lower Silt Berm and Drainage Channel

On the opposite side of the bridge, the silt accumulation had formed a bog with several inches of standing water. I was able to open the drainage and the bog is now draining.

Bog at Hwy92 bridge.

    Erosion Control at the new Old Harris bridge

A professional erosion control team came in and did an outstanding job of cleaning up the potential disaster area at the new Old Harris bridge. This action prevented imminent disaster as the hillside was on the verge of failing. I don’t know who was responsible for getting this work completed, but it was timely and well executed. The huge amounts of accumulated silt were moved, the drainage re-contoured and straw-matting was secured to the slopes.

In this image the silt was a foot high and the force of the silt had broken the fence stake.

Massive silt accumulation at Old Harris bridge.

Muck had accumulated into an sludge pool.

Massive silt accumulation at Old Harris bridge.

What an amazing difference. I hope we can get this team to repair other areas of the trail.

Old Harris bridge erosion control.

Old Harris bridge erosion control.

Overall the work was excellent. I wish they had removed a section of slumping (see image below), but the drainage provided should be adequate. I hope they re-seeded as part of the process.

Slumping on South side.

Tommy’s 24hr Ride for Livestrong

Stopped by Marietta High School Saturday evening where Tommy Foster was riding to raise funds for the Lance Armstrong Foundation.  Tommy was riding strong, taking longer pulls on his bike than scheduled.

Go Tommy, Go.

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Tommy has raised over $10,000 dollars for Livestrong and had many friends and family there supporting him.  He did an excellent job of organizing this effort and gaining community support.

Tommy riding his 24hr Livestrong Challenge

(click images to enlarge)

Tommy on Track for his 24hr Challenge


WG at the Tunnel

Frankie had a cute idea. With all the work we’ve been doing at the tunnel, what better than a photo of me at the tunnel.

(click image to enlarge.)

Coots Lake Mirror

Coots Lake Mirror

We rode from Coot’s Lake this morning. While getting ready to ride, I happened to notice the mirror like calmness on the lake. Pulled out the camera and shot this photo.

(Click image to enlarge).

Brushy Mtn Tunnel, Amazing Results!

The tunnel as we started Sunday morning.  These guys wasted no time, they had already shoveled the mud  into buckets that I had piled up on Friday and hauled it off down the trail.

(click the images to view enlarged).

Brushy Mtn Tunnel when we arrived.

Tuesday evening we rode out to the tunnel to inspect the results of our efforts.

Can you believe the difference???

The tunnel east entrance, Tuesday evening.

The Brushy Mtn Broom Brigade ROCKS!

What a wonderful bunch of folks, they worked hard and made a difference.

Silver Comet Trail mud and “washout” clean-up 20100604

Recent heavy rains had created several areas of potentially dangerous washout on the trail.  Even our most experienced riders, including me,  had incidents where the bike behaved “squirrel-ly” .   Some spots were muddy, some were sandy.  Of course Georgia red clay mud can be very slick and dangerous.    Poor erosion control and  silt accumulation  were the culprits responsible for most of the problem areas.  I’d have to say that GaDOT has been lax in their responsibility to manage erosion of embankments of roads crossing the Silver Comet trail.  In fact, every problem area and potential problem in the Paulding section of the trail was associated with a road bridge.

GA92 Bridge was where I started, just west of the Hiram Trailhead.  (Sorry no photos)
We had one of our best riders warn us about this spot.  I was out there the next day, taking the morning off from work.  Soil accumulations were no longer allowing normal run off.   A slurry of mud and water was accumulating on the trail; very dangerous , very thick and very slick when wet.   Using a flat nose shovel I removed the mud from the trail.   Where practical I removed accumulations of mud adjacent to the trail,  improving drainage and restoring normal runoff of rain water.    I also improved the drainage of adjacent pools of standing water.

Tools of the Trade: work shoes, flat-nose shovel, hoe, and stiff-bristle push broom.

Tools of the Trade

Mt Olivet Rd Tunnel

Tire tracks in thick sand at Mt Olivet tunnel

You can see the danger here. Deep tire tracks in the sand.  This turned out to be much more sand than I realized when I started.  The sand was wet and heavy.  I initially had thought about using a bucket to haul the sand out, but soon realized that was not going to happen.  I elected to shovel the sand into piles as a temporary fix and removing the immediate hazard.

Shoveling the sand.

The sand piles and cleared area

Sand piles

GA 61 bridge, east of the Paulding Chamber Trailhead

Trail silt washout

This is how problems like this start. Silt and debris accumulate at the edge of trail, eventually, run-off begins to flow over the trail rather than next to it. To correct problems like this I use a flat-nose shovel, starting usually at the low-end of the run off and create a scallop in the soil next to the trail. This forms a shallow trench for the water to run off the trail, rather than across. (click photo to see detail) If the mud not too thick I can remove the mud and create the drainage channel adjacent to the trail with one shovel stroke. Just removing the mud on the trail will not fix the problem, just temporarily patch it.

Cleaned section with run-off channel.

The worst section at GA61 bridge was on the east side. A large section of mud was spreading across the trail.

GA61 worst section.

Mud removed, channel created

Not an ideal fix, the mud has been removed and a shallow channel created next to the trail.  Much more work will need to be done in this area.   Soil accumulation will need to be removed and silt fences added to manage the erosion.

Brushy Mtn Tunnel workday #2

Thanks to Tibike and Hollywood for helping. We were able to clean-up an area that has been a problem for years, with some very dramatic results.

SCT Brushy Mtn Tunnel East entrance Friday 5/28

This is what we started with on workday #2. 1/2″ thick muck you couldn’t even walk on. To trim the silt fence I had to get Hollywood to shovel me a path.   While HW and I worked on the entrance, Tibike worked the mud problem in the tunnel, moving it over to the wall, we ended up with about 2″ of mud accumulated along the wall.

Brush Mtn Tunnel east entrance 5/28/2010

It didn’t take too long and we had cyclists using this space.

Tire tracks in the cleaned section.

After trimming the silt fence back for trenching. Tibike suggested we put the trimmed section at the tunnel entrance. Great idea! We trenched about 8″ next to the wall and trail to bury the silt fence. With a 2lb sledge we were able to get the silt fence sunk deep enough to secure the bottom with rock. We then covered the rock and fence with dirt.

the next day….

SCT Brushy Mtn Tunnel East entrance Monday 5/31

What an amazing difference. After ~1″ of rain the previous night there is absolutely no muddy runoff. In fact the rain has washed most of the residual mud off the concrete.

Tunnel entrance, mud and silt fence

(Click the image to see details.) In this image you can see the great job Tibike did accumulating the mud against the wall of the the tunnel, the placement of the silt fence and especially, note, there is NO new mud flowing into the tunnel even with 1″ of rain during the night!

Detail: tunnel entrance, silt fence

Detail at the tunnel entrance.  Look Ma, no fresh mud!  A small rivulet of clear water was actually flowing along the wall in this photo, but no mud.

Equipment trailer loaded with gear.

This is the trailer I got from Nashbar to haul gear to the work site.  It’s attached to my Surly CrossCheck rain bike.

the Brushy Mtn Waterfall or Mudfall?

The Brushy Mountain tunnel on the Silver Comet Trail has been a mucky mess, of varying degrees, for several  years.   We’ve had riders go down in the slick muck and the recent rains, of record intensity,  have washed a lot of mud into the tunnel.   Many of us now just refuse to ride through the tunnel as the passage will leave  bike and rider filthy.   I don’t have the time to clean the bike after these trips nor do I appreciate having my back side splattered with muck.  For the Polk County community there is a negative impact,  many cyclist will no longer make the trip to Rockmart.  Calls to the county have had no results, perhaps because the tunnel is in Paulding County, not Polk?

I miss those trips to Rockmart and some of the road loops that we’d use the tunnel to get there.  Our primary distance route, the Land of Sunsets Century also went through the Brushy Mtn Tunnel. This photo, taken in May 2004,  shows the mud flowing onto the trail.  The problem has gotten much worse over the last six years.    This is really a shame, as it is a beautiful section of trail to ride on, with  jagged rock walls covered with native plants, mosses and ferns lining this section of the trail. 
Summer Solstice 200K
With the third annual Summer Solstice 200K approaching it was time to make a decision.  Either change the route or fix the problem with the tunnel.
Based on recent success with fixing another mucky section of trail around mile-marker 16 on the SCT, I decided to give this “larger” problem a look-see.   On Wednesday evening a few of us rode to the tunnel entrance and I saved off a waypoint marker on my Garmin 305.  I knew Brushy Mrn Road (gravel) passed over the tunnel but I had no idea where this would be as the trail can’t be seen from the road.   My plan started by driving the road and see how close I could get to the waypoint I had saved on my Garmin.     This is where today’s “adventure” began.
My goal was to try and find a way to divert the water higher up the mountain and prevent it from entering the railroad cut and the Silver Comet Trail at the base of the those rock walls.
My plan for finding the tunnel entrance from the road worked well.   I could see the route track from the Wednesday ride and the two waypoints I had set to mark the tunnel entrance and the point I’d have to hike to access the trail.
Hiking to the tunnel entrance was easy.  No barbwire vines or poison ivy.
Above the tunnel entrance I found an existing network of silt fences.   The top of the tunnel entrance and trail below are in the center of the photo.  Not easy to see, the black horizontal bar is the top of the tunnel and gray is trail concrete.
What I also found was  unfortunate. Two large ravines drain into this area. There is already an extensive amount of silt fencing above the tunnel entrance and along a dirt road on the south side, which is likely an access road for phone cables.  There is a bog up the ravine that the current water problem is coming from and the water has channeled under what what looks like a primitive road that had formed a small dam.
This is a photo of the bog that is feeding the waterfall.  The water flows out the channel (lower left of the photo) and under the natural bridge I was standing on.   As you can see from the photo.  This ravine drains a rather large area.  No way this was going to be diverted.  Fortunately, the ravine above the tunnel entrance drains a much smaller area and not a continual problem.
the Plan…
Well, I guess I could have just given up, went home and popped an MG64, but that would be too easy for a webgeek.  I went home and thought about it.
I’m going to get a length of silt fence and see if that will help.  Next stop Home Depot.   Silt fences come in 100ft lengths, they’re not light either.  Humm, I’m an old guy.  Carrying a silt fence + gear around hiking down to the work site ain’t gonna be fun.
So there I am, back on Brushy Mtn Rd, loading up my Camelback with a 2 lb sledge, scissors, snacks, water, gps, etc.  So off I go.  Silt fence and shovel on the shoulder, ouch.  So I decided an a two forked approach.  Slow the flow of water and re-direct the flow along the trail.   I started with rolling up one section of fence (two stakes) and putting it at the mouth of the channel under the natural bridge and a second section across the channel.  That should slow most of the torrents during bigger rains, at least for awhile.   Sorry, no photos.
Next, hiking down to the trail.
It was a much longer hike.  As soon as I had a clear shot, I slid the remainder of the silt fence and shovel down the rock wall.  Phew, that was a relief to get rid of.   Heading east to the next ravine I was able to easily climb down to the trail.  My plan for the trail section was similar to what I did with the natural spring near mile marker 16, which to divert the flow along the side of the trail, not across it.   I probably had about 70ft of silt fence left to do this with.  At this point I could have really used a hoe to create a channel with.  The shovel would have to do.
Here’s what it looks like.  When I left it was actually working and channeling the water down the side of the trail.  It’s not finished and temporary at best. A meager effort, but it might help for the Summer.  We had a good rain tonight so that will be a good test.
Maybe I’ll see ya in Rockmart?
Yes, that’s TomA in the photo.  He showed up after all the work is done.  Serotta:Rick stopped by too, but I missed getting a photo with him.

May 15th: Polk Pedals for Parkinson’s Road Ride

I’ve offered to add a road ride to their event.
This ride will be self supported with two store stops thru the Taylorsville area. I’ll post the route soon, expect some seldom-ridden roads to make it interesting and a bit more challenging. Distance will likely be 45-50miles.
Lunch at Frankie’s, West GA WG route and a chance to ride with Webgeek for only $25, all for a good cause.

More details soon…

Event Details:
Please join us on our inaugural ride for Parkinson Disease and let us know how we can make this ride bigger and better next year. See Press Release Below:

James Trussell, President/Chief Volunteer Officer
NWGA Parkinson Disease Association.

The NWGA Parkinson Disease Association will be hosting the POLK PEDALS FOR PARKINSON’S Bike ride on the Silver Comet Trail, Saturday, May 15th to raise awareness about Parkinson Disease. Because this will be our first year hosting a Bike Ride event, we are only planning a short 14 mile ride beginning and ending at Seaborn-Jones Park in Rockmart followed by lunch at Frankie’s Italian Restaurant.

Here are the details:

•ONSITE REGISTRATION AND RIDE Begins at 9:00am, May 15th
•REGISTRATION FEE: $25.00 includes Lunch at Frankie’s and Commemerative T-shirt (While supplies last) Please pre-register by May 7th to guarantee your t-shirt
•Funds raised will support the programs and services of the Northwest Georgia Parkinson Disease Associaton.
•Riders are asked to raise additional funds if possible.
•Prizes will be given to the individual who rasies the most funds for Parkinson Disease, Rider who comes the farthest to participate and for the largest team participating.
You can register online at:
Frankie’s Italian Restaurant in Rockmart
Trussell & Associates Insurance Agency in Rome.

Registrations may also be mailed to NWGA-PDA, PO BOX 3211, Rome, GA 30164

For questions about registration or sponsorship of the ride, please call Jennifer Hulsey at 770-546-0286 or James Trussell at 706-235-3164/706-413-3264

James Trussell
Chief Volunteer Officer (NWGA Parkinson Disease Association)
Georgia State Congressional Coordinator (PAN)

Save the Date!
2010 Southeastern Parkinson Disease Conference and
2010 NATIONAL Young Onset Conference
October 15 – 17, 2010
Sheraton Gateway Hotel
Atlanta, Georgia

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