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Post Brief:9/14/17 Hermit Park
CATS play with boulders

Yup, we did it again and worked with the famous LC Crew up there at the Limber Pine Trail inside Hermit Park. This trail is almost done and will be a premiere trail for all those that will meet its challenges. I mean to tell you that this trail is a piece of work indeed. So much detail in every foot of construction and design. What a beautiful day to work in the mountains! So many thanks go to Dean/Jim/Scott/Lynn/Leigh for coming out on this adventure. Dan met us at the park HQ and we proceeded up to the working crew of five – 2 Stephanie’s/Dave/Forest for a grand total of 11 trail workers. We got to work right away on moving Mayan stones down the hill and into placement along the critical edge to make some huge mono-walls. This was a normal work day for these guys/gals. CATS were honored to be part of this elite crew of trail builders. We actually got to watch the grip hoist move/slide stone perhaps a ton or more down the hill. Amazing how these wrenching mechanical devices work. We took several water breaks and a good lunch. CATS stayed onsite for another hour and finished a mono-wall assignment. Then Jim/Dean and I went into town and found a Mexican restaurant to host a few and grab a bite. We had a nice ride back to the Kmart rendezvous site and bid farewell to all until the next time we meet. For Dean – it was the next day – Friday as we are going up into the mountains at Lory State Park. That will be another story soon!

Members: Bob/Dean/Jim/Lynn/Scott/Leigh Hours: 7

RESULTS: Mono-walls – moving stones, cutting stumps, cranking hoists, pushing and pulling Mayan stones,


o Combined crews made for a great work day

o Great to work with LC Crew

o Nice to see CATS can muster up 6 members

o Carpooling

o Great weather – no storms

o Accomplished a lot of moving stone

o Nice hike up the gully

o Great comradery between crews


- None - really


Best make it brief because we are packing to go up in the mountains yet again this weekend at Lory State Park with CATS again. These day treks are working out fairly well. Sorry for those that are still working and need a job; we understand and someday you will be able to join us. That is why I like the two shift trail element we started this year. Some of us work the day shift and others getting off work can come out and pick up and lift up the day CATS. We certainly are getting more work done this year and our trail products have increased with marketable appreciation. The variety of work sites and our mobility has made us more flexible to handle trail projects in the NOCO area. News will be coming out soon in regards to our tool purchase and acquiring camping equipment. CATS are moving on up. Sometime soon we will be purchasing a van for hauling all our new tools.

We are picking up new members, training more, and working up trails around here to satisfy all our land agencies. Next week will we be working in Reservoir Ridge Natural Area on some specific trail work assigned by FCNA. As I stated before, if you have not been out with us this year – now is the time as the season is winding down.

We have one more camping trip in October at Soapstone and that should be a real treat to be there in the fall.

I have to go trailmates as the mountains are calling me to whack trail.

On the trail,

Bob Johnson

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Post Brief for 7 Sep 2017
Shoreline Revisited:

Whoa! This trail event has to be our most difficult evening whack ever! Certainly worth mentioning here in writing that we worked ourselves down to the reservoir and collapsed. So many fibs – especially on social media; I cannot lie. Our great gang met up at the shed and loaded up tools and drove off to the lower parking lot of Arthurs Rock and then proceeded to divide up the tools and start on our perilous sojourn to Shoreline Trail. This is the trail as our followers remember that took 2.5 years to fix and make safe. We started out fixing some of the immediate drains that typically fill up over a season or two and continued making our way to the reservoir. I had a good time showing the newer folks how to clean out the drains properly and our senior guys reviewed the trail a bit quicker.

Others arrived and eventually we ditched the tools along the trail and met up at the shoreline. The trail was in good shape. We cleaned out and repaired about 19 drains, installed 3 nicks and one stone step. This was one of shortest work nights ever and we planned on a celebration at the shoreline that was overdue from last year. So fun and relaxing – good food and wine! Thanks to Connie for lining it all up and the members for bringing food items to share! Some of us made it over to Pitchers for more fun and libations.

Members: Bob/Connie/Brandon/Jim/Dean/Andy/Tim/Leigh/Cameron Hours: 4

RESULTS: 19+ drainages resized/repaired/cleaned out, 3 nicks installed, and 1 stone step


o Well-deserved celebration for a trail from CATS

o Finally – food and drink at the shoreline!

o Big crew

o Andy earned his hat!

o Hats off to our newest member – Tim Morse

o Nice hike around the bottom part of shoreline at the water’s edge

o Good instruction on drain maintenance

o Everyone brought something to share!

o Good planning by Connie!


- No COKE at Pitchers – what the heck?


We have for some time tried to get a group of veterans that put so much time into the Shoreline Trail down there at the water’s edge. It was a reunion of sorts but then again a short work session. We actually had fun for once and enjoyed the evening at the edge of the water – eating cheese, fruits, vegetables, crackers, bread and wine. A picnic of sorts and then again a well-deserved evening of celebration and reexamining all the work that went into re-freshening this trail – CATS made a difference. We walked around and looked for new trail opportunities – but the quarry will not have us change its face. The ridge just runs into an abrupt dead end and it would be impossible for us to get out there. I guess we will just have to settle for a trail that takes the visitor down to the water’s edge and then back to the parking lot. We put a lot of sweat equity into this trail and we are pleased to see that it is holding up so well over the last few years. It is time to move on to other projects and challenges as CATS expand its view on the world.

On the trail,

Bob Johnson

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Post Brief 31 Aug 2017

Ageless Gulch

Old and young were out there at Young Gulch last Thursday to put in some extra fine tuning repairs to existing trail. This was CATS official evening whack but elevated to a whole day and more. There were essentially two shifts and three crews that worked various hours out there and got some impressive work done. The early morning bunch – Bob/Connie/Dean/Jim/Scott/Kendra/Lynn met up at 0900 in the parking area and had some bagels and coffee. We shuffled down the trail to Section 49 or so and started work on the incomplete mono-wall that WRV crews worked on the previous Saturday. This project required a lot of planning and large stone. A wall was needed between two large firs. Jim/Dean/Scott/Lynn began the whole day work on this wall. Connie/Bob/Kendra started dismantling an existing retaining wall because it was not stable or built correctly in some areas. Bob Vandop and Nate joined us later and we were working up to lunch together – side-by-side to repair this part of the trail.

After lunch, most of us started to migrate back to the trailhead and make repairs along the way, including popping out large stones that caused pinches, improving backslope, repairing and regrading drainages, enlarging the bench to 36”, and more. We finally arrived at Section 8 where Mick led a crew constructing a very nice large mono-wall. We worked here in the area widening trail till 6 pm and then some of us retired to the Mishawaha for a beer.

Members: Bob/Connie/Dean/Jim/Lynn/Scott/Kendra/Bob V/Nate Second crew: Mick/Brandon/Andy/Tim

Hours: 9 first crew 4 second crew

RESULTS: BAR mono-wall – 20’, rebuilt retaining wall – 25’, 150+ of Backsloping existing trail, 5 drainages resized or cleaned out, 2 rolling dips constructed, 5’ rubble wall built, 17’ BAR mono-wall constructed


o Lots of things going on

o Great start with morning crew and trail objectives

o “Knocked out concerns on trail from management perspective” Nate

o “Working with best-of-best” Kendra

o Walking out with Connie

o Comradery is big

o Rain held off

o Expertise from CATS

o Four TA’s onsite

o Three representative groups onsite – CATS/OMBC/WRV

o Wonderful tool manager – oh brother!

o Teamwork

o Brainstorming and asking questions

o Professional shirts given out to senior CATS members – thanks to Scott James

o Both crews got projects done

o Great day on the trail!

o Three crews of fantastic trail workers – knowing what to do

o Picked up four new members to CATS, some by default

o Presented Nate with CATS hat as he has been with CATS in working projects for over 3 years

o We now have two agency representatives that are CATS associate members – per say


- Poison ivy – Bob and Connie got it on their arms – still trying to make it go away

- Stone almost got away

- No breaks in the morning – longer hours – no breaks - Bob (Chief) is working us to death


Young Gulch. I thought we would be done with it for the season but the lure of trail pulls us back there. Besides, I believe this trail needs this extra push as they want it open in 2019. I am not sure about that, but it is a real treat to get out there and make a difference. Before I go into some psychological diatribe about the addiction of trail, I would like to thank all those that attended this day time whack at YG and thank the second evening crew for their great work on that big mono-wall. I think next time out there we should examine the work up close and look at the preciseness of the construct for both crews. We had 13 folks out there and four have thrown the towel to join up with CATS. Seems like a natural fit, but we are a bit different than other groups. Welcome to CATS - Tim Morse, Kendra Arbesman, Bob VanDop, and Nate Boschmann. Wonderful morning start with brand new long sleeve custom embroidered shirts handed out to our senior membership from Scott James. He was working on this project for months and finally had a day to present. The Board of Directors will decide how to distribute the remaining ones to our newer members. It may be 20 whacks or something. Trust me – if you are a regular, 20 whacks come with your eyes closed. I was so pleased to learn that folks like our ball caps and finally they figured out how to earn them.

It is wonderful when all this comes together and goes down, but the end seems satisfying and then depressing. I can explain. Coming together on a weekday, in the parking lot, off to finish rock work, the rush of tools clanging, people talking and moving rock, picks whacking, dirt moving, walls coming together, then hiking out. The come together for beer and food and then home – shower and fight poison ivy. I would not have any other way; it is a small price to pay with itching and some smeary ointment. I would not trade it. Memories are made on the trail and etched into the mind for us addicted trail builders. Each event just adds to life’s experiences and compounds the gained skills. Scratch on!

On the trail,

Bob Johnson

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Post Brief: 8/24/2017

Well – Well – Well,

Can you believe it? We are still working on Wells Gulch Trail and loving it too. There seems to be an abundance of trail fixes for this beautiful nature trail. Actually, we were not supposed to be here tonight as another scheduled event was canceled on short notice. Fortunately, we scurried back over to LSP to push further up the trail with repairs. Our crew tonight started out with just Dean and me and then we were followed in by Andy and daughter. Later we were joined by Connie and Brandon. I love these shifts and how the crew comes together in ‘totality’. Speaking of that, I trust nobody looked at the eclipse without the glasses?

Dean found us a good creek crossing that needed stone steps and embankment repairs. No problem and as others arrived we worked backwards to an area that needed some more stone pavers (raised stone on the trail for water conditions). Brandon discovered an old stone culvert and cleaned it out nicely. Connie added two pavers and Dean threw in a large boulder (BAR) from the creek to block water coming on the trail. Andy put in a really distinctive set of steps that were oval or curved. Nice job as I believe that was Andy’s first whack at stone steps!

Members: Bob, Connie, Dean, Brandon, Andy
Hours: 4.5

RESULTS: Five stone steps and pavers in various places installed, three drainages repaired, one stone creek crossing fixed


o Great weather

o Andy’s great curved stone steps arrangement

o Good fixes to trail

o ‘Come together crew’

o Left earlier this time

o Good change venue to LSP?

o CATS new trifolds/business cards/car passes!


- Mosquitoes


Wells Gulch Trail is done for us. I don’t think we can do much more. It has been a wonderful experience out there five times fixing a beautiful nature trail. This trail needs maintenance for several reasons and one is safety. This nature trail receives numerous school groups led by the state naturalist on nature treks. Muddy shoes and tripping were some of the comments over the years that come in from visitor feedback. We hope to have neutralized that characteristic of this trail. Mountain trails are not easy to hike and folks usually understand that this is not like a shopping mall surface. There is compromise and comfort when repairing trails. Many thanks to all that have put in time on the Wells as we are moving on to the Shoreline Trail in September. Also, sign up now for our weekend camping trip in LSP. We are going into the back woods to work on some more difficult trails. Thanks for all the new parking passes (Ian Hudson) and trifolds/business cards (Brandon Smith). When you come out now, put the CATS parking ID on your dashboard. The rest of the season we will be in Hermit Park and Young Gulch also as we are still whacking away in there. There may be some work for us locally with FCNA.

Also, don’t forget we are up in Soapstone Prairie Natural Area (SPNA) in October. Sign up now!

On the trail,

Bob Johnson

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Post Brief: 8/3/17

Pawing our way up the trail,

Four whacks now and more to be scheduled as the CATS crews continue up Wells Gulch Trail here in Lory State Park (LSP). We are enjoying the cool weather and location of this wonderful trail. CATS had another rock team work up some special stone pavers (rocks slightly set in above grade) to accommodate the visitor. There are several areas on this trail where the water stays on the trail after heavy rains and is a muddy mess. Pavers allow hikers to step stone-to-stone with getting wet or muddy. This correction will be a great improvement for all the nature classes of students that traverse this trail. I got a first-hand look at the work Dean, Jim, Lynn and Brandon’s paver work and it was top-notch. The rest of the crew went up the trail and worked on more stone steps, drainages, backsloping cupped trail, stacked rock gardens and more. This trail looks fantastic now with a little TLC and refreshed maintenance. Hats off for the crew last week for surviving the small spittle of rain and deciding to work through it; such unwavering determination shows.

Members: Dean, Jim, Lynn, Brandon, Scott, Connie, Bob, Dave, Andy, and Cameron Hours: 5

RESULTS: 360’ of refreshed trail, Backsloping and tread repair/three stone steps installed/two nicks/five drains cleaned out/four monster paver stones installed/one new drain worked up


o Great crew again

o Little rain – cooled things off

o Wet soil – great to work with

o Dave Kopp was presented his t-shirt

o Beautiful night out there in the park

o Huge boulder went right into place

o “it stopped raining right when I stepped out of my car”


- One member was stabbed with thorns working in the bush


Seems the trails like us too; they cooperate when we hack on them a bit. The trails yield to our whacks in a way that both parties benefit. Similar to a haircut, trails need trimming and the expertise of like a barber. Cutting in new trail is ‘gold’ to a veteran trail builder but most of the time, trail groups are relegated to performing seemingly mundane maintenance. CATS make the best of trail maintenance by creating better fixes or improving a situation on the trail. I have often said that ‘we take a lump of coal and make it into a diamond’. Basically, we take on some difficult repairs and can change them around into something to behold, a treasure. I am continually proud of what our members can do on a regular weekly basis. No other volunteer trail group gets out as much as we do and produces as much trail repairs as CATS. Our sister group in the mountains of Hermit Park – the Larimer County trail crew work every day and their production is outstanding. We are not paid and we only work one night a week, but we are unswerving in finishing an assigned project. We do good work in case nobody has told you lately. Let’s keep the fire going into the fall! We have some good projects to do and we need our members to come out.

On the trail,

Bob Johnson

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Post Brief for 27 July 2017 3 - 8 pm

Pounding away in the gulch,

Number three – back in Wells Gulch with more work and more members. It was a great evening of fun assignments. Lynn and Jim found a pounding job – breaking away some rock that needed to go to make the trail safer for travel. That job took hours of swinging and some minor injuries to complete. Now there is a good causeway for the youth to pass without slipping or tripping. Others in the crew were up trail working on various projects spread out along the corridor. Backsloping, stone steps, drainages, check steps, CE cutting, and more. We had enough work to keep all busy. Great break on the hillside too. Cameron was on hand again to check us out and work up some stone structures – we appreciate you out there! I think we have one more good whack on the Wells, unless Cameron has some more work up the trail? Next week we are planning on putting in pavers in certain spots of the trail that is underwater. We have some stone work to do and then we are off to Shoreline trail the following Thursday. I hope all CATS members are logged into the State Park volunteer system and recording your hours? All volunteers that put in 48 hours of volunteer work at any park can earn a free pass for a year. You have to record your hours. If you need help with this – contact me bob@trailcats.org.

Members: Bob, Connie, Dean, Brandon, Lynn, Jim, Leigh, Andy, Jake, Cat, Cam Hours: 5

RESULTS: five new drains put in, three check step drains, rock cut-ins, two stone steps


o Andy Sheldon first time out – congrats!

o Jake Soren out again and whacking good

o Cat out on a Thursday night – what is up with that?

o Quote of the night: “It’s all good!”

o Break area nice and snacks good

o Review of all the work was excellent quality

o Big crew

o Cam out there again

o LSP PRT liked the rock passageway

o Big party at Pitchers


- Jim got a smashed finger and rock splinter in leg - ouch


Nobody can argue that this trail is a wonderful place to be especially in the evenings. CATS can attest to that statement as we continue to make improvements on this trail. We have one more whack this week to improve the trail in certain areas. Our progress is hampered sometimes because we stay on a project till it is right. For example, the drainages that need cleaning out or the cutting back the inside edge sloughing, even corridor trimming. All these minor chores do take time and resolve. We do it right and when it is not right – we fix our mistakes and learn from it.

Next week we will go to Shoreline Trail. if you come on time – meet us at the tool shed in Soldiers Canyon, otherwise drive up to the lower Arthur's Rock parking area and hike east on the Shoreline trail to find the crew. We are doing our annual visit to one of our first long-term trail repairs back in 2013-2015. CATS made a lot of improvements and repairs on this trail and each year we make a sojourn to the path to perform maintenance – sometimes major. It is about a mile long and ends at the Horsetooth Reservoir. We plan on celebrating down there at the water’s edge. So leave some room in your packs to shuttle some supplies down. Connie will coordinate this event and could use some help. Plan on a fun evening!

On the trail,

Bob Johnson

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