Fall

It’s been over a month since my last entry.  There are several reasons for that, but I figured that I better get on here and give an update or fear removal from the bottom of the list of “irregulars” on Dicky’s Blog.    Dicky somehow manages to track and monitor the blogging habits of a few dozen people and I’ve been placed on the bottom of the list of those with irregularities to their posting habits.

Working the turntable on the Aerial TowerTruly, I try to post on here as much as I can.  I’m much better about posting race reports, new gear info., travel reports, etc.  But, when it comes to me enjoying my downtime in Idaho….flagging  & GPSing multiple new trails to be built next year, taking the Aerial Tower Engineer’s class for the Fire Dept., helping where I can with the XC National Championships that are coming to town next year, or just enjoying some quiet time on foot while chasing a deer through the hills; well, I just am not as driven to post that stuff.  Why?  Because I’m not obligated to, plain and simple.

The reality for me is that I hate blogging.  Some people, like Dicky, are very good at it and seem to enjoy it.  He can put a humorous twist on damn near anything.  Me on the other hand, well, I simply manage to spit the information out, usually not very coherently, and there you go.  That’s as good as it gets.  I won’t spend too much time on it because I’m on to the next thing.  I blame it on the fact that I’m a Capricorn, but really I have no idea what that has to do with anything.  I guess, in the end, I feel the same about my blog posts as I do most others…..it’s probably a great story, but I’m probably not going to take the time to read (or write) it.  Why?  Because, that requires time that I could spend doing something else, preferably outside.  Anyway, enough about why I don’t blog daily and why I possess a certain disdain for it.

John & I taking a break while laying out PunchlineSince Interbike, I’ve been back in Idaho thoroughly enjoying the beautiful Fall weather.  Work has been hectic, which is generally a good thing.  Through my position as the Wood River Trails Coordinator, I’ve been working on the trails in Croy Canyon quite a bit lately.  John Kurtz (BLM – Recreation Planner) and I finished flagging a new trail last week that will be called Punchline.  It was a great opportunity to break in my beautiful new Suunto PM-5 inclinometer.  This precision little tool is invaluable in the field when you’re trying to lay out a trail and stay below a certain grade in order to give a more consistent and ‘flowy’ experience.  Punchline will be a couple miles in length and, once you drop onto the descent, will be filled with mostly berms and tabletops.  Some of the tabletops will be 20-30 ft long.  There will be ample opportunity to ‘huck yer meat’ and due to the layout of the trail, ample opportunity for your buddies to watch the whole thing.  It’s the most excited that I’ve been about a trail in a while.

The only thing that might rival Punchline is the Eve’s Gulch Flow Trail, which is also scheduled for construction next summer.  This trail is to be built on the Eve’s Gulch Trail in Adams Gulch.  The new section of trail will be built along as part of a project that will include rehabilitating the existing trail from where it splits off of Adams Gulch Tr. up to the point where the upper section of the trail was re-routed last summer (2009).  The idea with the Flow Trail is to build a trail with multiple features that is meant to minimize braking while descending.  The corners will be ‘bermed’ and there will be multiple features that will either be ‘options’ or that will be built to accommodate cyclists of all abilities.

Ready to go!Another trail that I’ve been working on through the Wood River Bicycle Coalition is the Croy Creek Trail.  The idea with this trail is to give riders an opportunity to ride on dirt from town out to the Croy Creek Trail system.  As any cyclist knows, riding a bicycle on Croy Creek Rd. is sometimes a risky proposition, at best.  Croy Creek Rd. is an unstriped county road with a speed limit of 45 mph that is rarely enforced and even less frequently observed.  It is not uncommon to see vehicles traveling on this road in excess of 60 mph.

We approached the Blaine County Commissioners in the Spring and presented the idea of creating a basic single track trail in the County right-of-way on the north side of the road.  The Commissioners gave the idea a “thumbs up” and we were on our way.  The next hurdle was to find a little bit of funding to pay for construction equipment rental, signage, etc.  We applied for, and were awarded, a grant from the Specialized Advocacy Grant program to help cover some of the costs.

At this point, we’re half way done with the trail and hope to have it completed before the snow flies, which will allow it to ‘cure’ over the winter and be ready to ride in the Spring.

Between all of the trail work, I’ve also gotten back into hunting this year.  I grew up hunting in VA, but hadn’t gotten into it since I moved to Idaho.  Several of my friends are hunters and I started to get the “bug” last year.  I bought a license and spent a couple of days in the hills last year, but had no luck.  This year, I spent a little time ‘glassing’ (scoping the hillsides with binoculars) for a few weeks before the season came in and found the Mule Deer that I hoped to get.

My first Idaho MulieOpening day of the season was last Sunday and my hunt was about as ‘textbook’ and successful as I could’ve hoped for.  I spotted a beautiful 4×4 Buck (with a 25″ spread) at first light on opening day.  3.5 Hrs later he was within range and, shortly after that, on the ground.  I was fortunate that another friend of mine, Adam, was hunting in the same area.  Adam and a buddy came over and helped me field dress the deer and get him down to the truck.  We took the deer back to Adam’s place where he proceeded to show me a Native American technique for removing the hide (without using a knife).  We then quartered and de-boned the meat.  The next day I finished prepping the meat and had it all in the freezer.  It’s the first time I’ve ever “completed the hunt”.  All of my friends hunt for the meat.  The idea of hunting simply to put a “trophy” on the wall is something that, as an adult, I’ve come to abhor.  However, the idea of going out and putting the energy and effort into the hunt in order to harvest wild organic meat is something that appeals to me on a very basic level.  Adam explained his philosophy to me, which makes a lot of sense.  Getting the animal on the ground is only the first part of the process.  In order to “complete the hunt”, you have to get the meat to the table.  Many people take their meat to a butcher for processing which, in my opinion, is acceptable if you have no alternative.  However, taking your meat to a butcher gives away the control you have over guaranteeing the quality of the preparation given to what goes in your body (or even that you’re getting ‘your’ meat back).  Adam showed me how to separate muscles, how to remove every single bit of sinew, how to identify bad bits of meat, how to identify the various cuts of meat, and how to prepare burger meat and sausage.  It takes a lot of work but in the end, it seems to me to be the least I can do to pay respect to the harvest and to the animal that I took.

Other than that, life is good.  I’m enjoying some time off from training and racing and working on plans and a schedule for next year.  If things go well, I’m hoping to spend 3 weeks in Argentina in late February racing with Reba in the Tour de la Patagonia and getting in some good early season training.  Until then, I’ll mostly be here in Idaho exploring the playground that is my home.  Cheers!

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~ by ketchumgreg on October 19, 2010.

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