The below image was forwarded to me as a suggestion for the trail name. Funny.
Benching. It's a term many of you probably can recall from your days playing baseball, basketball, etc.. For example, "Oxley, 5 ground balls through your legs is enough! Go to the bench!" Or, "Wingler, dribbling the ball off your foot is not a better way to get the ball to the open man. Get back on that bench!" Until Sunday, it had been decades since I had heard that word used but on
Sunday I heard it often.
Unfortunately, I don't have images to share but 8 of us showed up for the trail building fun at Lobdell Reserve, John Gorrilla, Kyle Wingler, Mike Smith, Flyin Tuna, Eugene, Matt and one other guy whose name I forget. Kyle had already been out to mark a stretch of the trail with orange paint and after divvying up the tools, we headed into the thicket. After an hour, we exceeded expectations and had cleared the marked route. Nothing beats time in the woods, cutting, raking, scraping and that we were finished so soon, some of us began looking at our watches and making plans for lunch. OK, kidding of course as now it was
time to begin "benching" which is to cut into the uphill side of the trail to flatten it and make water run-off more efficient. Check out this mean looking tool, used by trail builders the world over, as well as at Lobdell.
John G showed me the basics, had me follow him around for a mile or two to clean up after him, get the gist of the exercise and then I was off on my own. That benching tool, works great at hacking out tree roots and dirt with just the right weight and sharp edge. The main concern is what that tool's mass and edge would do to a foot but I managed to keep mine clear while having a close call or two with other people's feet. After awhile, we had benched almost all of the marked route, which set Kyle off into the thicket with chainsaw to blaze additional trail, followed by the rakers, followed by the benchers, followed by blisters and sore arms. Actually, it was very satisfying and shortly before our 4 hour planned stint was over, we packed it in and headed to the beer wagon. Soundslike there will be another work party in a couple of weeks with the ultimate goal an 8-9 mile trail, finished some time in 2013. So inspired was Kyle and John by my work ethic, good cheer and inspirational presence that they talked about naming the trail after me.