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2015-2016 Season

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Our Trail Blazers receive Outstanding Community Service award!!!

April 30, 2016 Final workday for this season. Great weather, great people and great volunteer workers. We accomplished more than I expected and still had time to wind down at the end, lean on our tools, and talk about summer plans. We have built right around 1 and a quarter miles this season. Over the summer, I will do more planning work, decide where to make a connection to the Sonoran trail, and be ready for next season.

Crossing the big wash after passing the bee nook
Gary, Walt, Chuck, Ken

Bill J, finishing work around the bee's abode
(now that they are gone)

Crossed the wash and working up the other
(gentler) side
Lee, John H, Tommy, Gary, Gene

Yes, thankfully, this was a gentler build

Smiling, hard working Tommy
Lee, John H, Tommy, Gary, Gene

Paul working for a change instead of hiding up ahead after lopping)

And now it starts, work is winding down
Bill J, Jim, Bill C, Paul, Walt, Lee, Chuck

And now everyone is getting involved in
wind down time = BST
Bill J, Paul, Jim, Walt, Lee, Chuck, Gary, Tommy

15 of us, looking purty at the end of the day
Jim, Gary, Al, Walt, Lee, John H, Paul, Jude, Tommy,
Bill J, Ken, Gene, Chuck, Bob

And looking even more lively at Bashes
afterward with donuts and coffee.

As a special treat, this is a picture that Paul put together showing the Preserve area we are building in with the red line being the trail we have built. Click on the picture to increase the size to see the red line better.

April 23, 2016 Sixteen of us worked steadily on a beautiful morning, although we began to feel the heat by 9:30. I had most of the bees taken care of with a bee keeper yesterday and earlier this morning and although there were a few left over, we were not bothered. Continual progress was made including the nasty turn on the last switch back, however, a nice rain is needed to pack things down. The trail is powdery again and those of us working on the switch back will have to hose out our noses after all the dust we kicked up and sucked in.

The Beeeeeeee saga: Their home.

Spraying in the hole in the ground
(They could not be relocated)

Covering up their entrance after spraying.

Their were a few that were outside when the entrance was covered and Bill M sprayed them.

And prey tell, who is that masked man? Is that a silver bullet I see in his gun belt?

The nasty turn: Before:

The nasty turn: After:

Jeff, Paul, Chuck, Gary, Ken, Tommy, Jude, Doug, John M, Bill J, Gene, Walt, John H
Bill M, Bob

April 16, 2016 I know that all of you are going to be enthusiastic and proud to show family and friends this trail when it is completed and open. Deservedly so!

Hey there, Jude!

Two curves occupied most of our time and manpower today. Here is the first curve and I will show a before and after picture next time. It looks great.
Walt, Jeff and Al

Coming into the second curve - probably will be the worst on the whole trail.
Everyone bent over working hard

Jim and Tommy building the retaining wall at the base of the turn

Still working away on the same turn, hoping to finish next Saturday

16 trailblazers trudging up the hill at the end of our workday

Bob, Paul, Bill M, Jeff, Jude, Walt, Al, Lee, Gary, Jim, Pat
Ken, Tommy, John M, Chuck

April 9, 2016 Although I was not present for trail building yesterday, I was able to give the trail a little rain on Friday. Let's see if I can do any better this coming week. From the pictures taken by Jim and Paul, it is obvious that there was the normal quality of work completed. THANKS JIM, GREAT JOB!

Isn't this a neat picture, thanks Paul

Bill 2................hard at work

Larry and Gary, smiling in the sunshine

Gary, Lee and Bob working around the barrel cactus.

Jeff and Tommy, looking up for the camera

Walt, Chuck, and Irish Sam building the turn on the switchback

Gene working the back slope

Doug clearing brush prior to starting the new tread

Paul also clearing in the middle of the deep wash

Jude, praying that she is out of the reach of the bee colony

...and didn't I warn you about sitting down on the job?

Jeff hidden behind Walt, Doug behind Tommy, Sam, Bob, Gene, Lee, Chuck, Stan, Walt, Paul, Jude, Gary, Larry, Tommy, Bill2, John M

April 2, 2016 I don't know how I do it. Perfect weather again!
Seriously, THANKS everyone. All of you are hikers and know the quality of trails in the area. This is a trail that we can all be very proud to be associated with helping to build. Now I wish I could do a gentle, steady rain dance to pack it down nicely. Maybe I'll dance a little this coming week! Next Saturday, or the one after, we will make it to the bottom of this ridge although there is another nasty turn to build before the build to the bottom. Crossing the wash should be fun and then we should have it easy going up and across the next ridge.
So, when does this season end Bill? I am presently looking at April 30th. At most, if there loose ends to tie up, I will work on May 7th. And for a starting date for next season, I like Nov 5th.

I love these pictures with all of you spread out, working away, with such great scenery surrounding us.

Bill J, Jim, Walt

And here is a nice During and After set of pictures of this same area: Before...


Pat, Tom, John M

John H

Ken, Bob

Gary, Stan

Must be a staged photo,
he doesn't really do any work...

Chuck, Ron

Here is a Before and not quite finished After...

...same spot, when finished this will be a nice switch back

It's a GOOD day tamper Al

Quitting time

Gary, Chuck, Paul, Bill J, Bob, Stan, Jude, Al, Tom, Ron, John M, Ken, Pat, Jim, Walt, John H

March 26, 2016 Some difficult terrain today, but great weather again and a lot was accomplished. At this rate, we will definitely build a mile of trail this season. Some of next week will be difficult, but no more so than what we have already mastered. We will head down to a large wash, the bottom of which may be our connection point to the Sonoran trail. Following that will be smooth sailing for a couple of weeks.

Jude and Paul headed through the brush for their lopping duties

Walt, Tommy, Jim starting the trail tread

Ron, Pat, Stan, Chuck

John H and Gary looked up for a cameo

Gene and Al Gene, turn the shovel the other way!)

Chuck - the nasty sun doesn't get to his head

Stan, Pat, Ron

OOPS! ...someone actually caught me working.

This photo and the next show a nice
before and after combination - Before...


Yes, we all work !!!

John H, Pat, Stan, Ron, Gary, Chuck, John M, Jude, Al, Tom, Jim, Paul, Gene, Walt

YES !!! it was Doughnut Day at Bashas' after a hard morning at work
(Left) Tom, Gary, Pat, Gene, Walt, Stan, Paul
(Right) Al, Jude, John, Jim, Chuck

March 19, 2016 Twenty one of us blazed along the ELST today. Again, I can't say enough about the quality and quantity of the work being done. As I overheard one of you say: "You know, a person in a wheelchair could go along this trail." That may be a bit of an exaggeration, but it is darn close.

Trudging our way up the hill to start work

Paul, Jude, Doug clearing brush

Leading the way on a steep slope is not for
the faint of heart. Thanks Jude.

Following the brush clearing,
Jeff picks along the top of the new trail.

Larry starts digging the tread of the trail.

Tom fights with an iceberg rock
in the trail ------- and wins!

Lee and Ron working the trail
(and Ron earns extra donuts for finding my lost sunglasses)

Ron, Pat, and Stan working the trail

Walt in the lower right working the new tread
to Sam & Gary in upper right finishing it

Another good shot of the same start to finish action.

Gary putting on the finishing touches.

Walt and Jeff, father and son enjoying the great view from the trail

Sam & Chuck taking a break -- necessary on a hot day

Walking back at the end of work
over the trail just built.

OOPS, sorry, I clicked on the wrong picture,
but I promise Jane that I won't do that on election day

Today's great group=Larry, Hyunki, Sam, Doug, Walt, Ron, Jim, Bill J, Bill C, Paul, Jude, Norm, Tom, Stan, Garry, Jeff, Lee, Pat, John H, Chuck

March 12, 2016 Seventeen of us worked hard on another beautiful day in the Fountain Hills Preserve! We added to the already built 2/3 of a mile of the East Loop Sonoran Trail. Therefore in order to complete a mile of the trail by May, we should build about 250 feet per Saturday - might/might not, but still quality over quantity. To me, however, the best part of the day was hearing so many of you sharing interests, and information with people you have gotten to know through our trail building together.

Bob, Gene, Ron putting on the finishing touches to last weeks trail work

Tom, John S (see you next season), Stan, Al also doing the finish work on the trail, raking and tamping

New volunteer AL, using the heavy tamper

Doug, Paul, Jude preparing the way through the brush before starting a new section of tread

Paul and Jude still shown preparing the way through brush, John M, Bill 1, and Bill 2 starting to build tread after brush is cleared

This is the work being done on the area that Paul, Doug and Jude were clearing, John M, Ron, Bill 1, Lee, Stan, Bob, Gene - notice that I did a very good job of hiding the chains between their ankles.

...and here is the same spot on the trail at the end of the day. Pretty neat!!!

Looks like an important conference here on the upper left, Walt armoring the crossing of the wash, Jim fortifying the tread just after the turn, Lee working the tread past the wash crossing

Ron, Jim, Tom, Paul, Bill 2, Bill 1, John M, Al, Lee, John S, Doug, Jude, Gene
Walt, Stan, Bob

March 5, 2016 We have been very fortunate this year since starting the East Loop Sonoran Trail. The weather has been on our side. Safety has been in our thoughts, no accidents, or even a sight of a snake. We have made great progress in both quantity and quality. And I am very pleased with how we work together so well. Fourteen of us blazed away yesterday, finishing the armoring of one wash, making the turn over a ridge and making headway towards the next wash and its armoring. We will finish this section next Saturday and then there is long gentle side slope headed for the next turn over a ridge line. What follows that will be interesting.

John H and the tamper

Stan dancing with a rake

JohnS and Norm

Walt and Jim, our armorers, Lee working the approach down to the wash

Tom - does he look like NY cop or what?

Norm & John S doing finish work. Tom, Ron and John M starting a new section

Paul trimming for a new section build

Jeff, the younger bull, and Paul

Jim, Ron, Paul, Norm, John H, Jeff, Lee, Walt, John M, Gene, Stan, Tom, John S

February 27, 2016 And again, how did you like the way I arranged the weather for us yesterday? Slight overcast, slight breeze, great working weather, and we were not even working on a steep side slope. OK, so it's just great Arizona weather. I love it also. There are a lot of pictures today, thanks to Jude Martin who did double duty of trailblazer and photographer. Thirteen of us, even though the Great Fair was going on, worked hard and continued to make definite progress. THANKS ALL !

Standing: Bob, Ron, Paul, Tom, Lee, Norm, Hyunki, Walt, Jim, Jeff
Front Row: Jude, Stan, John S

Paul and Tom (I think)

Bob and Lee

Walt & son Jeff hard at work

Stan looking for good armoring rocks

JohnS tamping down loose dirt on the tread

Norm, yes, more has to come off yet


Bill C - Wow, he does work once in a while.

A good picture of Tom

Ron, Hyunki, John S, Bob, Quote: "Hey wife, put the camera down and come work."

Jim & Stan armoring the cross at the wash

Stan & Jim still at work

Hyunki and Norm

Paul and Tom

We work hard, work together on something worthwhile, have fun, and learn to know each other.

February 20, 2016 Wow, what a terrible day. OK, it really was another great day, but by now, I thought you might be getting tired of my always starting out with superlatives. But I do hope you give me credit for doing such good planning that you were working in the shade on this warm day. 19 Trailblazers enjoyed the morning. We put a finishing touch on last weeks work, put a nice rock armor on the base of a wash, moved two Barrel cactus, built a rock supporting wall at a turn, and kept moving the trail onward. Having built as much as we have, we now have a closer place to enter/exit from trail to cars.

New recruit Chuck and old recruit Bill M

Lee, Bob, and Jude moving a cactus

Rich Stan Larry Sam armoring the wash...

...the finished product

A good friend Jim Q came down from Pine/Strawberry...

...and built this retaining wall

John S and Bill J having to sledge and chisel through that rock hump between them and on the right, the bottom of that wash before any armoring.
John S, Larry, Bill J, Sam, Rich, Stan

A whole bunch of us working hard. Can you count how many blazers are in the picture?l

(standing) Bill J, Rich, Lee, Paul, Chuck, Ron, John S, Jude, Walt, Jim Q, Sam, Larry, Bob, Norm, Jim G, Stan
(front row) Bill M, Gene

February 13, 2016 We didn't build too many feet of new trail yesterday, going over the wash and along the steep slopes on either side, and the trail built was hard earned, but what we did build was something to look back on and be well satisfied. The rock bars were in constant use today.
Satisfaction was also had by all when Ron & Pam hosted D day at there house after the work day. THANKS Ron & Pam !!!

Finishing last weeks tough build
Ron, Jude, Sam, Stan

And at the turn, we hit a rock
John M, Lee, Jerry

This rock was more than bargained for
John M, Lee, myself, Gene

Decided to just shift it, not really move it
How about that cheerleader in the white hat

Building next to the wash
Jerry, Bill J, Paul

Starting through/over a rock wall
Jerry, Bill J

I missed getting a picture of Bull Walt, but he was there.
In the background: 4 Peaks, Weaver's needle and The Fountain
(Back row) Jude, John H, Lee
(Front row) Ron, Gene, Paul, Bill J, Sam, John M, Jerry, Stan

Thanks again Pam and Ron!
Stan, Jerry, Pam, Jude, John H, Lee, Bill J, Ron, Gene, Sam, Paul

February 6, 2016 I have to start with this picture, love it!

John M, DJ, Doug, Larry, Ron, Jerry, Tom, Lee, Walt and the rest...
What a great group project!!! 18 of us worked on a very difficult area, and only have some touch up work to do to complete this section. Everyone worked very hard, and as a reward, we will have a special D DAY, next Saturday. The donuts and coffee will be provided by Ron Rich, who conveniently lives next door to the parking lot that we use at the end of Golden Eagle.

BEFORE: Doug eyeing the route of the trail. (See the ocotillo and barrel cactus in AFTER pic.)

AFTER: Larry, Jim, Doug, John M, DJ, Lee, Ron (the ocotillo and cactus on the right)

Working on that same stretch: Stan & Ron working on a nasty rock outcropping, Lee, Doug, John M, Larry

That nasty rock outcropping before...

...and after, actually during, from the opposite direction - Tom, Gene, Stan


John H.

DJ, and yes Jim, from here it is really going to be difficult

Walt and Jerry bushwhacking that difficult area we need to go through. Jerry: "Somehow I got down but need to build the trail to get back up."

But here is the start, Jim building down and Walt and Jerry building up...

...and again, here is the near finish (from down, looking up)

Tom, Ron's brother Dave, and Rich. (Dave volunteered for the second year in a row while visiting Ron)

BEFORE (seriously, we hadn't started yet)
Tom, did you ride a horse to get here this morning?

AFTER: You know, I think we look a lot better after than before. Have to work them harder!
Ron, me, Jude, Jim, Lee, Larry, Doug, DJ, John H, Tom, Stan
Jerry, John M, Walt, Bob, Gene, Rich (Thanks for taking the picture Dave.)

January 30, 2016 Great day! Under difficult conditions, thirteen of us built an impressive amount of good new trail. Weather was great again and with the hard work involved, the extra layer of clothing came off rather quickly. Once again, I am thoroughly impressed with the amount and quality of work being done, especially on the steep side slopes that we built across today. As you view these pictures, notice how steep the terrain is that we are building across, and also, the views that we all will have when hiking/biking this trail.

Sam, Tom, Rich, John3

Paul, Rich, John1

Bill2, Walt, John4, Jim

Doug and Jim

Finishing the south side of the first ridge and coming up the north side of the next.
Paul, Walt, Tom, Bill2, Sam

Hey Bill, is that a python or a root?
Walt, Bill, Tom, Sam

Rich, John, Paul


Building down to the bottom of the wash.

Same area nearly finished. Jim and Rich doing armor work.



And then there is the saga of Bull Walt and the trail building tools: Last week Walt got the better of the pick mattock...

...but this week the rock bar gave him a bloody nose.

Jim, Paul, Doug, Rich, John1, John3, Tom, Bill2, Rich, Sam, Walt, Jude, John4

1/23/16 - This morning's sunrise...and at 3:00 Eastern time, there was 19" of snow in Central Park, N.Y.

January 23, 2016 Seventeen of us worked from 7:30 to 11:00 this morning. Great weather and a great deal accomplished! I can't say enough about the people that are working on this trail!
If this keeps up, I will double their pay.

Jerry, John1, John3, Dr John, Bill1

John3, Dr John, Bill1

Ron, Stan, Bill2, John1

Jim the Armorer

Good to see Doug out with us again

Irish Sam, Lee, Treasurer John4

Walt and Bob


Bolder busters Bill1 and Jerry

The whole bunch

They look good no matter which direction they are facing. Fountain in background.
Bill2, Ron, John4, John3, John1, Doug, Walt, Sam, Jud, Jim, Lee
Bill1, Stan, Dr John, Jerry, Bob

January 16, 2016 Gloves were used for warmth as well as protection this morning. But the sun was out and it was a great day for the Trailblazers. We worked on the ridge to the north of the water tower road once again, with one group working on the north side and one working on the south side. Regardless of the many small sized rocks we encountered, the new trail is very smooth.

Always hard-working John

Two rather fuzzy characters, Jerry and Bill

Bill 2 (The Finisher!)

Lee and Gene

Building a great bike turn, Walt and Jim

New recruit, Irish Sam Schwartz

Thanks ALL, great work!
Sam, Bill1, Bill3, Walt, Jim, Bill2, Gene, John, Lee, Jerry

It was D day. Hey, we did enough work to warrant a doughnut !!!

January 9, 2016 Thanks everyone, great day with the very first 500 feet of trail built on the East Loop Sonoran Trail. 14 of us started work on the trail and made very good progress. With work like this, we should complete the trail by the time that the Trailhead is built. That is my goal, but we need to remember to put emphasis on sustainability more than just distance built.

One group worked North of the ridge
John, Rich, Hyunki, Walt, Gene

One group worked south of the ridge
Bill, Tom, Rich, Jim, DJ, Stan

In the foreground is what the ground
is like before we start...

...then we start the rough cut
John, Norm, Dr

Start putting a finish to the trail tread
DJ, Bill, Stan, Tom

Walt, Gene

-- and end with a trail looking like this

-- which has views like this

A big thanks to: Stan, Rich, Bill, Jim, John1, DJ, John2, Tom, Walt, Norm, Hyunki, Gene, Dr John
-- as you can see, there was no trouble in the desert today: We had three Johns available!

November 28, 2015 Today's dozen (cleaning dozen, not dirty dozen), finished this years maintenance of the Lake Overlook Trail. It didn't take us long and the trail is now in very good, sustainable condition.

Hyunki, Jude, Bill 1, Jerry 2, John, Bob, Jim, Bill 2, Norm, Dr John, Gene



Bob even cleaned out the drains

Bob and Jude

Dr. John

Bill #1

Gene, John, Bill #2, Jim

Jim, Bill #2, John, Jude, Gene
The second order of business for the day was placing a tool box in the bushes near the east entrance to the Lake Overlook Trail.

Took it out of the back of my SUV: John, Jim, Bill2, Bill3

Carried it to it's final resting place: (Placed on the ground, not 6' deep)

And then the fun began: "How many trailblazers does it take to figure out how to lock the tool box?"

November 21, 2015 A dozen of us did a great maintenance job on the top 2/3 of the Lake Overlook Trail Saturday. Thanks All!

Hyunki, Jerry1

Norm, Jude, Bob, Bryan


Jim, DJ, Steve


Walt's family coming to check on him - Jessica, Baxter, Marilyn, Walt

Great weather, great crew, some Sat morning exercise, a feeling of accomplishment!
(Back row) Jerry 2, Jude, Norm, Walt, Bryan, Bill, Jim, Steve
(Front row) Hyunki, Bob, DJ, Jerry 1

November 7, 2015 Thanks ALL, great weather and a great deal accomplished. We started maintenance at the east entrance to the Lake Overlook Trail and completed work up to the bench area at the top. Jude, Bob, and Gene worked on clearing the first 100 feet at the entrance and the rest of us spread out on the rest of the trail up to the top. We cleared out drainage areas that had filled up and took out those ankle twisting rocks that popped up in the trail. Well done!

Walt, Stan and Ken

Jim and Ron

Bob, Jude and Gene

Ken, Stan, Jim, Walt, and Ron

Bill J and Lee

PRICELESS! Must be government work: One working and the rest watching!

Bill C, Ron, Jude, Jerry, Phil, John, Jim, Bill J, Lee, Ken, Bob, Gene, Walt, Stan - GREAT GROUP!

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