2013 was more than a great year for the ESA. It will forever be the year that Adam was busted for attempting build some trail, decided to get a group together and make something happen. In that moment the ESA came to life and Adam, together with Tanner, Robbie, and Chris, established the momentum and the support we currently enjoy. Thanks Gents!!

Now how about them trails?!

We finished 2013 with several short notice and highly productive build days. Between Christmas and New Years day we were able to put almost 40 hours of work into the lower most (aka The Meadows) trail. A special thanks goes to Brian and Chris W. Brian was out there with me every time and even a few times by himself. Chris, you are a digging machine! Thanks guys, when either of you show up, I know we are going to get some serious footage!

Suns out, tools out! Weather, what weather?

Suns out, tools out! Weather, what weather?

Our biggest day was on New Years Day. We cut and “nearly” polished a 100+ ft of trail and, at one point, had 6 volunteers, digging, raking, and building new trail.

The day started chilly and overcast. It was also the first day of the year, so as I was waking up, I was thinking to myself, “How do I REALLY want to start 2014?” the thought arrive quickly and consisted of one word, Bacon! Oh yeah!

Before long, the “Most Understand Wife Ever” and I were in the kitchen whipping up deliciousness. While I was focused on the meat candy, she was taking leftover mashed potatoes and transforming them into potato pancakes. Now a quick work about the “MUWE’s” mashed potatoes. They are other worldly. Basically what I’m saying is, I really don’t care how good you think your mashed potatoes may, or may not be, hers are better, period. 🙂 Now, to throw them on a skillet and fry the edges with little butter, oh man.

Bacon Gravy with mashed potato pancakes... Happy New Year to my Tummy!

Bacon Gravy with mashed potato pancakes… Happy New Year to my tummy!

As delicious as these bits of fried potato goodness were, they were lacking something. Gravy. Bacon Gravy. Oh yeah, it’s getting rehl up in here-ah! Happy New Year to my tummy.

Sustenance consumed, it was time to get our dig on.

Once onsite, I was quickly joined by Brian and Dave. We decided on an objective for the day, to build about 100 feet of new trail north of and starting from where Chris and I left off last week, and got to work.

We'll do wonders here.

We’ll do wonders here.

With a small, frozen exception, the dirt was awesome. Lots of root mats to pull out, but we have come to expect those and have been sharpening the tools to better deal with them. We were making solid progress and before long we were joined by a few more volunteers and really started to move some serious dirt and crank out some trail.

Sun was out, layers came off, hats removed… then it started to snow. Welcome to Colorado. Layers back on, hats replaced and, of course,  the flurries ended as quickly as they had started. The “warm” temperature and sun; however, did not return.

I took a minute to thank everyone for braving the weather and reminded them to stay warm and that no one is obligated to stay any longer than they are comfortable. I was basically told to bugger off… I love the people of Colorado! Hardy Bada$$es you all are!

We all continued to work for about another hour when I noted what looked like a slow moving front coming in from the north. I mentioned to Brian that it looked like we’d have some more weather coming in, and went back to work, figuring we’d have at least another 45 minutes to an hour before it arrived. I’m sorry, did I say 45 minutes? Silly me. Not 5 minutes after getting back to work, the wind picked up and we were swallowed by white. Visibility dropped to about 200ft and the build day was abruptly over.

Magical balls of trail awesome... when mixed dry soil, the snow "balls" release their moisture and make dirt a dream to work with.

Magical balls of trail awesome… when mixed dry soil, the snow “balls” release their moisture and make dirt a dream to work with.

Even so, it was a great day of building. However, because of the abrupt end of the day we were forced to leave a good portion of the work area chewed up and unfinished. Please use caution when you travel through the area. The dirt is loose with lots of uneven lumps. We’ll be out there to clean it up shortly.

What’s next?

First and foremost, we are focused on finishing the “Meadows” trail. We are currently working to cut and polish the trail from the south to the north.

You may also notice that we have moved the flag line in some places. As we have begun to use the trail, we have noticed that few minor adjustments would improve the playfulness and drainage of the trail. If you use the Meadows trail, follow the flags and tell us what you think of the new line.

Once we are finished with the Meadows trail, we will formalize the trail system with a couple of entrance monuments, some trail signage, and a few other improvements designed to make Sunset Park a lasting resource for the residents and visitors to the Town of Erie. We are working to have all of this complete, weather depending, before the heavy snows of February. Once the heavy, wet snows arrive we will cease our building efforts until the soils have a chance to dry out.

Come March/April, it will be onto the “Eastside” where we have 3 to 5 miles of trail planned. That is nearly double the mileage that is currently established on the Westside. With easier to predict weather and more time to get the word out, we’ll be scheduling some big build days with schwag, BBQ’s, and group rides.

There is also a rumor of a party coming up, but more details on that a little later. 🙂

In the meantime, keep an eye on the Facebook page. We will continue to build whenever the weather and soil conditions permit.

Happy New Year!