Weather Appropriate Clothing “Strongly” Recommended (11/14/15)…

As always our November 14th session started with hot Starbucks Coffee. And this session, since it was wet and cold, it was really important.

A special thanks to the Mount Vernon Haggen location of Starbucks Coffee, they’ve donated our coffee for over five years now…

In this second image (below) you’ll see our crew at the beginning of the day. There were only ten (10) of us but we accomplished a great deal.

Maybe not everyone understands that sessions are “rain or shine.”

Below John stands on the trail called Rooty.  We worked on the north end of this trail extension.  In the background you can see Bret and Nicholai.

We got enough work done that next session we will work from the opposite end of this trail.  We will set-up next to the mid-mountain map kiosk, it is there at the crosswalk on the main access road.

Following, you’ll see Bret and Nicholai.  They were in the background in the above photo.

In this fifth photo (below) CJ is further north packing down the trail tread.

Below Alex gets to develop some new skills, driving the power wheelbarrow.

And so did Nicholai, that’s the upside of volunteering on low turnout days.

When the session ended we were all tired.  It was a solid session, thanks everyone.  We hope to see you next session, December 12th

And remember: layer your clothing, and bring a hat and rain coat!

An INCREDIBLE Session (10/24/15)…

October 24th was one of our best sessions ever. We had so many volunteers we were able to eat all of the donated pastries from Haggen Foods. That’s quite a feat, our friends at Haggen (below) are very generous…

In this second image (below) you’ll see one of our three work groups. They finished capping the pedestrian trail where it connects to Little Mountain Road.

Below Bret shows off his team’s excellent work.

Following, in this fourth photo, another team (at the opposite end of the same trail) was installing stone steps. Art Tuftee shows four new volunteers how to perfectly shape a stone step. After drilling four holes Art taps in special wedges, as you can see it easily breaks off the corner – look closely to see the crack.

In this fifth photo (below) we’re breaking for lunch. The third team that was further up the hill working on Rooty came down to join us. The homemade chili was furnished by Leslie and Roger Estep.  They provide lunch every other session. Thanks Leslie and Roger!

Here (below) after lunch we’re back at work on the steps.  Nobody said that installing and leveling stone steps would be easy.  Everybody else went back up top to work on Rooty.

When the session ended we still had a couple steps left to set. We thanked our featured group (shown below), the Burlington-Edison High School NJROTC (Naval Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps.). This was a very impressive group, we sincerely hope they will join us again.

A couple hours later, in this eighth and final photo (below), the tools have been put away – and the Heart of the Park Pedestrian Trail was finished.

What a great session, thanks everyone!

The Stone Delivered, for the HOP Pedestrian Trail (10/23/15)…

On Friday, October 23th the Parks Department delivered the stone we’ll build steps with at our Saturday session. As you’ll see (below) they’re big, averaging over 500 pounds. When set they will definitely stay in place.

In the second image (below) you’ll see a few of the smiling faces that comprise the Parks Department. As we continuously say, we could not be more pleased with the support we receive from the City and Parks Department. Here they are offloading the stones at the main entrance (at the gate).  Thanks guys!

If things go as expected the pedestrian trail that meanders through the Heart of the Park (HOP) Public Trail Facility will be finished this coming session.  But we will see, we’ve thought this before – Lol…

Challenging Weather, Great Volunteers (10/10/15)…

On October 10th we had challenging weather, but “as always” great volunteers. Below you’ll see the crew we started with, with a few arriving later. Of the thirteen (13) volunteers two were new; Charlie Kim and Eli Samuel Winslow, and we had two returning from years past – Nikki and Kyle Klinger.

We’re beginning to believe this is going to be a rebuilding year for us. The balance of the attendees represent our new core group. We need to grow our volunteer numbers to achieve the goals we’ve set for the upcoming year…

In this second image (below) you’ll see our crew leader (Jerry Granahan) dumping rock at the new pedestrian entrance on Little Mountain Road. This is the power carrier that was bought for us by the Kiwanis Club of Mount Vernon – thanks again!

Also pictured (left to right) are: Kinsey Shilling, Lynn Postler and Ken Bergsma.

In this third image (below) Ken is moving dirt up the trail while the power carrier is off getting another load of rock.

Following, in our fourth photo, is a perfect example of teamwork. This team is working further up the trail, from left to right – Bret Turner, Charlie Kim and Adam Stanmen.

In the final photo (below) Lynn puts the finishing touch on a rock wall at the new pedestrian entrance to the Heart of the Park Public Trail Facility.

Might you lend a hand? Please spread the word, we need your help. Thanks!

9/26/15 NOLS “Special Session” . . .

On September 29th the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) joined us for a special session. They were truly an inspired and diverse group of individuals. Twenty-two (22) hard working young volunteers. This session was made possible due to a relationship that has developed over the last few years.

About half of the students were from the east coast.  A couple were from the south, and the most distant visitor was from Beijing China. All were energetic, smart, and inspired. We had a great time working with them. We hope they had as much fun as we did; this is a relationship that we hope will endure.

In this second image (below) you can see where we were working. This is a long side-hill traverse, it runs parallel to to the Little Mountain Park access road – but hundreds of feet up the hill. This extension of the trail called Rooty will connect the mid-mountain area to the top of trails (one that we’ve yet to build) that will lead down to the new Heart of the Park Public Trail Facility.

Here (below) you’ll see one of the NOLS instructors at work. No surprise they brought a group of skilled leaders, individuals that truly lead by example. We gave each instructor a MVTB tee shirt for helping make this session possible.

digging2

In this last photo (below) you can see two students helping shape the trail tread. We got probably twice as much done as was planned. Thank you NOLS!

If a special session interests your business, school, church or your civic organization please contact us…

9/26/15 Session . . .

Last session we made more progress on the HOP Connector Trail. The trail is open, it connects Little Mountain Road to the rest of the trails. But more importantly, pedestrian users no longer need to enter the park by using the main park entrance, pedestrian users can now get away from cars.

Below you’ll see the crew we started with, a few others arrived later. We had fourteen (14) volunteers and accomplished a great deal. While our volunteer numbers are still off a touch we’re optimistic. We had fun, enjoyed a great lunch (provided by the Estep family) – and did some solid work.

In this second image (below) we show a couple new volunteers, both coming to us from Edison Elementary. We’ve had a number of wonderful young people come to us from that school. We doubt that it is an accident, they are clearly doing something right – THANK YOU.

And in our last session image (below) you’ll see Adam and Ken, they are standing in front of a small tree they just removed. They had to cut a lot of roots before we could lift it out with the Dingo loader. At this session they both earned their MVTB volunteer tee shirts.

At our session this coming Saturday, October 10th, we’ll finish the entrance to the HOP Connector Trail. We have graveling and rock work to finish.

The pedestrian trail leading to the Heart of the Park Public Trail Facility needs to be perfect!

Thanks for your interest in our work. We hope to see you this weekend.

The Southern Connector is finished…

At our 9/12/15 session we finished the connector trail on the south side of Little Mountain Park. The trail is now ready for this weekend’s 10k.

As you’ll notice (above) our volunteer numbers were down. We had ten (10) volunteers, or about half our normal turnout. In order for us to achieve our goal for the session everyone worked really hard.

There’s always an upside, look at the sandwiches (below) – we had seconds, thirds and leftovers. Thanks Liz for a great lunch!

Here (below) Caroline negotiates a sharp downhill switchback corner, which shows the value of the disc brakes we added to our wheelbarrows.

And (below) John and Caroline teamed-up to compact that completed corner. This is one of the two rock walls that we built this session.

And lastly (below) Martin and his four month old daughter named Hana came out to visit. She is our youngest session attendee so far. Our plan is to build a Strider park in the very near future. I am confident that she will be volunteering at that session, possibly as an “assistant” water girl.

That would mean we’d have a new “youngest” volunteer…

We hope to see many of you at our session this coming weekend. We will be back at our normal location, at the main park entrance.

We will finish the HOP (Heart of the Park) Connector Trail at this session. This is the new trail that links our existing trails to Little Mountain Road.