I have long sleeve club Tee-shirts for those that helped up there. Will be looking to go back up and add more trails, but, not right away!
As of now (not set in stone) but enduro date of mid-November is proposed. Can't think too far ahead. As that date gets closer, it opens the chances of working the horse trails during the week ,when park is closed. Most of the grunt work is done on ATV side , so horse side is next area for scouting and bread crumbs.
There are still opportunities for club members to ride up there and bring their families. Very nice facilities, even better than National Forests (outhouses).
Went and rode ST Mary's Shoals with a few people yesterday. Although needing more work done it was in great riding condition and is a challenging ride. Kudos to Mundy for layout and to Dave Schumacher and John Bekanich for their individual time and effort for working on trail on their own. Talked to Steve Harvey for a minute and he was all smiles for efforts and bringing the club out there. Happy to have a nice trail again, thanks to all!
Post by johnnyb300 on May 16, 2021 16:14:43 GMT -5
I was up there today with Joel. Man, what a cool place! It's the driest I've seen it since late last summer. ATV trails a bit dusty but still standing water in the usual places. But our single track is in great condition. Followed a couple sxs's that I let navigate first through the still-flooded Turkey Trot trail leading to the St. Mary's River. Only about axle deep right through the middle. Augered my new helmet into the sand after misjudging a drop-off at the Clay Ditch. All in all a perfect day. See you at Gatorback next Sunday.
A couple weeks ago I had a talk with Tom Barton and asked him what's the story on so many of the Cypress Knees at SMS and why are they protected. He said a while back a couple State or Fed people came by the park and made it clear that they are not to be disturbed, but they didn't go into much detail. I did a little Google research and here's some of what came up:
Their function is unknown, but they are generally seen on trees growing in swamps. Some current hypotheses state that they might help to aerate the tree's roots, create a barrier to catch sediment and reduce erosion, assist in anchoring the tree in the soft and muddy soil, or any combination thereof.
It is illegal to cut the knees on cypress trees growing on state land without a state permit, according to the Orlando Sentinel. The knees are widely used for making tables and lamps. Cypress knees are protected under the wetland preservation laws in Florida.
Purpose Knees are more common on cypress trees that are growing in flooded areas, and possibly help the trees stay stabilized and anchored in muddy ground, according to the University of Florida Extension. Extensions of the tree's root system, knees help to absorb oxygen from the air. The rate of respiration in knees increases with the water level.
The big water spots on Turkey trot are spooky to look at but actually have aggregate bottoms, (not to say all deep water is that way) and not as deep as you think. I have been through all the water out there and just stay to the edges and haven't had any problems(knock on wood). John I know we need more heads up arrows and danger signage coming out of that section and crossing clay ditch, kind of a blind turn and a couple feet to get position to cross the ditch.
That section your talking about was never suppose to exist, I specifically had it laid out to go down the 2 way to the clay ditch for safer approach, but when I GPS'd the trail it was already laid out as it is today. Just didn't have the energy to change it back. Dry week coming up, the riding should be really good out there! Cypress knees, I coulda told you that. Every "state", "federal" , botanist/biologist/ecologist has their own little peeve, Ocala was butterflies, St. Mary's cypress knees, Osceola palmetto hearts, Francis Marion S.C. (Enoree ATV trail) they just didn't want to haul you out of the bottom of a 50ft. gorge!
Post by johnnyb300 on May 17, 2021 17:47:54 GMT -5
Lol. The single track crossing at the Clay Ditch actually isn't where I went down. I was messing around criss-crossing the length of the Clay Ditch, climbing up the banks and dropping off them. The front wheel was already over the edge of one when I realized it was a little higher and steeper than I thought. Oops.
Went to the shoals yesterday and did a couple laps. Continually getting better, needs work to be done in second half of trail. Already noticing new lines being made,(mostly by me blowing turns). It was DUSTY, no water or mud. Heard but did not see any other bikes out there. Oh, and it was freakin hot so go early and enjoy.
Section:(between crossings) 1&2 very tight 3&4 nice, 4 is a problem when really wet 5,6,7,8,9 awesome 10 good 11,12,13 awesome
All this from memory, stopping at 13 for now till I can visualize the next sections. Again I reiterate the danger in all the crossings because this is a public park and we can't control the public so you never know if someone is hauling ass down the main park trails.
THE GOOD-- Horse trails are all bone dry, and are incredible. From sugar sand, to hard pack, twisty, clean with a few loose small logs and very few faceslappers!!!1 Also, we are not limited to working on horse trails only during the week. we can access sections when no horse people are riding(summer they usually leave by 10), so we could trailer/tow out the DR or access sections by parking and walking. This is a big positive. We got a better overall route figured out. THE BAD--- YELLOW FLIES!!!! THE UGLY--- There is some cutting expected around July 1st, out from the fenceline trail north (big pines) and out on Rhodens 40, off one rough loop. It was not clarified if some was thinning and some was clearcut. I'll know more soon. GENERAL--- Bike ridership on single-track has picked up, PEE-WEE trail is being used by a family. They are implementing new restrictions on atv/utv's to reduce amount of wear and tear, and enforcing the need to trailer in all off-road vehicles (tagged bikes riding in O.K., no trailer) and paying fee. Soon there will be weekend parking patrol to aid in compliance. Some of the processes are slow due to county commisioner meetings and approvals. Overall, our presence is extremely positive and they are excited about the future! Thanks to the responsible members that represent the club, they are thoroughly impressed! Pass this info. on to others!