friendsofcoloradobend

Reports on the activities of the Friends of Colorado Bend State Park.

Friends of Colorado Bend Reports

These are the weekend reports of the Friends of Colorado Bend State Park from July 2014 back to January 2014 and a few added posts from 2013.

To see the activities of the Friends of CBSP from September 2015 back to September 2014, go to http://friendsofcoloradobend2.wordpress.com/

To see the activities of the Friends of CBSP from Memorial Day 2007 to December 2013, go to https://friendsofcoloradobendarchives.wordpress.com/

To see the activities of the Friends of CBSP from October 2015 on, go to https://friendsofcoloradobend4.wordpress.com/

and to get information on the annual Trails Day in the spring, check out: https://friendsofcoloradobend3.wordpress.com/

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Gorman Falls Is Flowing On July 26, 2014!

Many times in the summer we are dealing with a drought and there isn’t much water flow.  Not in 2014!  With an unusual amount of rainfall, Gorman Falls is flowing and beautiful!  It’s still summer in Texas though, so be sure to take a WHOLE LOT of WATER with you when you hike there!  Or get in on a guided tour for a nominal fee that will cut your hike significantly!  But still bring water!

Click on pics to make them larger.

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National Trails Day – June 7, 2014

The first Saturday of June is always National Trails Day.  For the past three years Colorado Bend State Park has celebrated this day since there are such awesome trails to show off!  Whether you like to hike, run, mountain bike, or just sit and enjoy the serenity of the great outdoors, CBSP has a place for you to enjoy yourself!  There were a lot of people who took advantage of the special activities the Friends of Colorado Bend State Park offered this year.  Check out the report below!  (Remember you can click on the pictures to make them bigger.)

Guided Mountain Bike Ride-Experienced:  There were no takers for this ride so the volunteer who was going to lead it found another productive thing to do.  He took a weedeater to a number of trails and cut grass that had grown up because of the recent rains!  Maybe you had a chance to enjoy the results of his work that day!

Gorman Falls Tours:  Rickey, our Gorman Falls guide for the day, had 53 participants on his 3 hikes ranging in age from 8 months to 78 years old. The smallest tour group had 5 and the largest tour group had 33!  As usual, most people did not carry enough water, but they were able to take advantage of the water the Friends group had placed at the trail head for refills.  As a bonus, those who wanted to were able to hike the Gorman Springs trail with Denise. 

Denise and Rickey are on the left below, pictured with one of the tour groups.

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Parts of the trail to Gorman Falls.

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Couples, families, and groups took their pictures in front of Gorman Falls.

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Gorman Falls as it looked on National Trails Day 2014.

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Cave Tours:  A number of people took advantage of the extra cave tours that were offered.  Five volunteers led the tours at different times throughout the day.  Participants were able to crawl, climb, and wiggle their way through some of the caves in the park.

Trained cave guides Kris & Will, Genia, Adrian, Tyler, and Denise.

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First picture below: One tough grandmother and her granddaughter were two of the folks who took advantage of the cave tours.  Second picture:  Ready to jump in!

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Cave Guide Adrian gives important instructions and information before entering.

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Then away they go!

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Fun underground!

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Going out is as much fun as going in!  Showing off your muddy caving clothes afterward is great fun too!

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Guided Tour of the Tinaja Trail:  The Tinaja Trail is the newest trail which just opened in the spring of 2014.  This trail has some amazing views and an awesome tinaja!  Eleven people took advantage of the guided tour including the guide, two rangers who hadn’t seen the trail yet, two new volunteers, and six visitors, several who said they were interested in being volunteers and helping build and maintain the trail system!  New volunteers are always welcome and we can’t wait for these folks to join us!

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Most of the tour group is pictured below.  The guys (volunteers) were waiting at the trailhead.

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The guide gave some information before starting the hike on the trail.

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The first stop of many to look at a view and continue.

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Photo op!

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As the group worked their way down the hill, the tinaja came into view.

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At one of the rest stops, Ranger Chris gave some information about the ice packs she had just handed out to keep some of the hikers cool.  The ice packs placed behind the neck, under the arms (armpits) and on the chest help to lower the core body temperature when a person is becoming overheated.

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Below:  Another view, a great path that some of the trail builders made out of rocks, a really neat cedar tree, a great rock slot, and more views!

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The group spotted several cacti in the shape of a heart.

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Ranger Debbie told the group about this plant named mullein.  It is widely used for herbal remedies and can be made into a tea.  It’s used in topical applications against a variety of skin problems and has been used as a bandaid. The plant has been made into a torch and also rolled and smoked like a cigarette.  These plants are all over Colorado Bend State Park!  Warning:  Do not use if you are pregnant!

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At one point on the trail you can see where Gorman Spring is by the very green and healthy trees that surround it!

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One section of the trail has some really neat rock walls with holes big enough to crawl into if you choose to.  Several of the group chose to, including the two rangers who took it a level farther by BOTH getting inside this small space!

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By the end of the hike, most of the group was tired, but everyone seemed to have had a great time!

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Kids’ Hike:  The Kids’ Hike led by Ranger Jason was a big hit!  Here are a few pictures from that activity.

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Guided Mountain Bike Ride-Beginner:  This ride was in the middle of the very hot afternoon and only the volunteers who were going to lead and help with the ride came.  That didn’t stop them.  They did the ride anyway! 

Wayne and Joe riding under a tree on the River Trail.

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Wayne and Joe standing by the ‘animal tree’ on the River Trail.  Some think this tree looks like a deer, complete with antlers!

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The end of the planned ride was at Gorman Cave.  A quick climb down the hill and… air conditioning on a hot day!  The temperature in a cave stays pretty much the same year ’round, so they are air conditioned in the summer and heated in the winter.  (This cave is currently closed/gated.)

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The flowers were out and riding through them was very nice.

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Moonlight Hike:  This was a night time adventure and ranger guided hike under the waxing gibbous moon.  It took the participants up on Spicewood Canyon Trail for a great view of the canyon below. For most of the hike, the light of the moon was all that was needed. The park intern brought binoculars and the group enjoyed passing them around and looking at and identifying stars.  Not too many pictures were taken because it was dark and no one wanted to mess up their night vision with a light!

The night hike group.

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Ranger Jason explaining what the hike was all about.

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It was already beginning to get dark when the hike started.

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The trail building project at Colorado Bend State Park in Texas is a family friendly project.  We welcome anyone who wants to help build and maintain trails, from children to great-grandparents.  To get emails announcing project weekends, email TrailBuilding@aol.com and request to be put on the trail building notice list. 

Building Trail Reroute – May 17, 2014

The Friends of Colorado Bend State Park got a message that there was desperate need for a section of trail that crossed a ravine to be rerouted.  The erosion was too extensive for it to be able to be fixed.  In answer to this call, 5 board members responded quickly to have the new section of trail finished by National Trails Day on June 7, 2014.  A park ranger and a park intern led the 5 board members to the area that needed to be worked over.  (Click on the pictures to make them bigger.)

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The area for the new trail started out looking pretty wooly, but with skill and determination, it was transformed into a nice trail!

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Before After

Various tools were used to build the trail including the McLeod, a rock bar and a rogue (all pictured below).

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Significant-sized rocks sometimes needed to be dug up and carted off.

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By far the most challenging work of the day was building a ramp from the trail down to the ravine for the crossing.  The work started with choosing a large tree to be the side support/brace for the outside of the ramp.  A large cedar tree was chosen and the lower branches were cut off and taken away.  Then the trunk was cut from various sides and finally, timberrrrrr!

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The tree fell perfectly, but what a mess!  The upperbranches had to be removed before the trunk could be used.

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7-WhatAMess-Rusty 8-CleanUpMess-Rusty

The upper part of the log had to go down the hill and into the ravine first, so there were steps taken to make this happen.

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Working with two at the top and two at the bottom (and one taking pictures), the log was finally in place!  Whew!

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Next the ramp had to be filled and fitted with rocks to build up the trail.

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One of the volunteers climbed above the trail and proceeded to provide rocks to fill the need.  Several groups of hikers were able to use the trail even before it was finished, and of course all work stopped to let them safely through!

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The reroute was finished in about 5 hours.  Below is the section of trail leading to the ramp, and then the finished ramp.

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Due to the drought, there isn’t much water coming over Gorman Falls, but it’s still pretty.  A lot of rainfall and more water over the falls would certainly be nice though!

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Not much water available, but the cacti are looking great right now with their beautiful flowers!

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Trail Building Weekend – April 18-20, 2014

We’ll start this post with a great picture of the Easter Bunny since we accidently scheduled this trip for Easter weekend!  Click on the picture to make it bigger.

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One of our trail builders got this great shot Saturday morning before we headed to the work area.

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With this being the last trail building weekend of the season (we’ll start up again in September), there were specific things on the Tinaja Trail that needed to be finished.  IT ALL GOT DONE!!  What a good feeling!!  And a great crew made it happen!

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Below:  Sometimes cacti get in the way and thorns have to be removed!

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Below:  Two girls who know how to wrestle stumps out of the ground!

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The whole group posed by one of the great views on the Tinaja Trail.

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Most of the work this time was grooming, though there was a re-route where this before/after set was taken.

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During this drought, Gorman Falls isn’t the roaring waterfall that we like to see, but it’s still nice.  One thing we’d never seen before was someone carrying their dog down to the Falls in a back pack!

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There were a couple of first-timers this time, and one second-timer, so a hike on the Gorman Spring Trail was in order.  This trail never loses its beauty!

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The trail building project at Colorado Bend State Park in Texas is a family friendly project.  We welcome anyone who wants to help build and maintain trails, from children to great-grandparents.  To get emails announcing project weekends, email TrailBuilding@aol.com and request to be put on the trail building notice list.  Or if you don’t want to build trails, but love to hike them, make your way to Colorado Bend State Park and see what we’ve been raving about!  The park will be celebrating National Trails Day on Saturday, June 7, 2014.  There will be hikes, runs, mountain bike rides, children’s activities, and extra cave trips offered.  Come on out and spend the day with us!

 

Trail Building Weekend – March 14-16, 2014

Fifteen gung-ho volunteers came to groom the rough cut parts of the new Tinaja Trail the weekend of March 14-16, 2014.  (Double-click on pictures to make the larger.)

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Everyone grabbed one or more trail building tools and started the hike to the work area, first taking the Gorman Springs Trail and then bushwhacking to their destination.

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They all made it to the trail and went to their work areas.

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Our work crew is pictured below… except one who escaped from getting his picture taken!

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Some pictures just HAVE to be posted!  What a great shot!

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LUNCHTIME!

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After lunch it started to rain off and on.  Eveyone brought rain gear of some sort, but one volunteer outdid the rest!

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She decided that the rain gear was too hot to wear, so she joined two others who were staying dry under a rock shelter!

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The rain finally stopped and everyone went back to work.  A large group of hikers had managed to get on the new (unopened as of yet) trail.  Some were really tired and they all still had quite a way to go before they got back to their cars, so one of our trail builders showed them a shorter way back which just happened to be the same route that the trail builders took to get to their work areas.  Here’s a picture of the group at the Gorman Springs pool.

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Before and After shots are always fun to look at.  This first Before shot was taken in December 2013 and the After shot was taken this month (March 2014).  If you look closely, you can tell it’s the same place!

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This shot is before and after the stump was taken out with a shot of the person who removed the stump as a third picture.

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These next three pictures are two before and after pictures from January 2013 and the final result done this month.

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The photographer didn’t get to this spot in time to get a ‘real’ Before shot, but this area took a great deal of big rock removal, stump removal, etc.

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After working well into the afternoon, the crew called it quits.  Some were very tired and were happy to chill out the rest of the day.  Some had enough desire to see the Spicewood Springs/Spicewood Canyon 3-mile loop that they worked up the energy to make the hike before it got dark!

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One of the leaders of our trail building project decided that a nice fire ring was what was needed for the volunteers who work hard for the park.  He took an area that was already used for campfires, hauled in big rocks for a campfire ring, hauled in large logs to make into benches, and made a very impressive place for the volunteers to enjoy!  This took two trips out to the park to finish.  Now… if they will just lift the burn ban!

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Logs were hauled to the site by people and then by 4-Runner.

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He cut a limb from a very large fallen tree in half to make the benches.

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The park superintendent came by to see the work-in-progress and visit at bit.

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Here’s the finished product!

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The trail building project welcomes anyone who wants to come and help out!  If you are interested, just email TrailBuilding@aol.com and let your interest be known!  You’ll be told how you can sign up!

Here’s a great parting shot that one of the volunteers got from the weekend:

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Trail Building Weekend – February 21-23, 2014

Fourteen highly motivated trail builders showed up for the February 22nd break-through on the new trail.  We only had a short distance to go with the chain saw and the trail would be totally cut!  The groups left at two separate times so there are two ‘group shots’ this month.  (Remember you can enlarge the pictures by double clicking on them.)

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We had a pleasant surprise when we met another group of volunteers camping at the park that weekend.  A large group of boy scouts came for cave tours and extra cave guides were needed.  This father, father-in-law, and two sons came to fill the need!

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Three of our folks scoped out a short cut to our work area on Friday to see if it would work.  Not only did it work, but it was a really fun hike!

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Once at the work site, everyone got busy.

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6-Rusty 6-Alvis

6-Buddy 6-Sarah

6-ChrisLacy 6-ChrisLucki

6-Dawn 6-James

6-Ken 6-Rickey

6-Steve 6-Svenja

6-Tracy 7-BuddySwingingAxe

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Such a neat flower picture!  Had to post it!

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This lizard was either cold or lazy.  He didn’t want to run when nudged, so he was eventually moved out of danger to where trail building wasn’t taking place.

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Time for the Before and After shots!

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To see the original ‘Before’ shot of this section of trail, check out the Before and After pictures from last month!  This Before picture was the After picture then!

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Three shots here:  Before, During, After

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Major rock work by two strong guys!  (4 shots)

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After a fairly long work day, several of our volunteers decided to take in some of the sights of Colorado Bend, starting with Gorman Falls.

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Then more hiking along the river and up a canyon with awesome views and fun climbs, not to mention some heartpounding exposed areas!

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Can you find the person in the first picture?  The person in the second picture is looking out the exit of a cave, which is also pictured below.

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There are plenty of pictures of Gorman Springs Trail in this blog, but here are 3 more.

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Since the Tinaja Trail had been fully cut by the end of the work day, two groups decided to check it out – one by foot and one by bike.  Here are those who chose to hike the trail.  Our new caver friends joined this group and got to see the trail for the first time.

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This must have been the month for lizards.  The hikers saw this cool looking one!

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The trail isn’t quite bike-ready, but these five mountain bikers decided to give it a shot.  They found that, overall, the trail isn’t bad for bikes, but there are several places that need serious work before it will be ready for wheels!

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The next 2 pictures were taken at the same place facing different directions.

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Heading down the trail toward the tinaja which you can see in the distance.

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The Tinaja.

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Heading up the other side of the canyon.

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One of the many spectacular views from this trail.

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The rock slot.

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Challenging switchback.

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The group continued riding after finishing the Tinaja Trail and got this great shot from Spicewood Canyon Trail.

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Spring Break is coming up and Colorado Bend is planning some great things for visitors during that time, including a Sneak Peek at the new Tinaja Trail!  Contact them and find out what may be of interest to you!

Even though the Tinaja Trail is cut, there is still a great deal of grooming to be done.  If this is something you think you would be interested in, we’d love to have you join us!  You can email the project folks at TrailBuilding@aol.com and request to be put on the notice list for upcoming trail building weekened.  Everyone is welcome!  The deadline to sign up for any particular trip is the Saturday prior to the trip.