Saturday, March 31, 2012

Trail Busters!

For the last four days (and the next two) I am a trail buster.  My legs are my vehicle.  The Stihl BR 600 Magnum leaf-blower is my machine.  Once I pull that cord on the motor, I am a whirlwind. 

Trail Busters!

Since the mountain bike and hiking trails are clear of snow, Aaron, Duce and I have been out clearing them for the summer season.  Aaron, with his chainsaw, moves the fallen trees.  Duce, with his snout and paws, moves rocks.  I, with my Magnum, show those leaves a new place to go.  Not on the trails, leaves.  Not on the trails.

If I was raking the trails, which I have done in the past, I would be way more tired and cranky.  Plus, I wouldn’t be able to do nearly as good of a job moving all that organic matter.  This Magnum has taken clearing trails to the next level.  I wish I could make a professional video to show you examples of what this thing can do, and how much fun I’m having with it.  Instead, I’ll try with my words.

When I come across a thick mat of wet maple leaves, I aim the hose straight down the middle, and blow them as far away as possible at full blast.  Often, the whole mass peels up like a carpet.  I watch all the little worms (and sometimes big nightcrawlers) blow in my wind, and quickly shimmy down their holes.  Then I lighten up on the gas, and move the nozzle back and forth, clearing the main trail and the sides. 

At a low spot on a ridge, I stand up on the higher ground and full throttle all the pine needles and rocks down the decline, so I am not just blowing the same rocks down the trail.  When I say rocks, I mean this beast moves rocks up to three inches in diameter without a second thought.  The bigger ones I have to kick to the side.

When I come to a puddle or a runoff section, I blast out all the leaves I can, spraying myself with mud.  Heh heh heh.  Then I find the lowest spot, and make a groove for water to drain, so the puddle can move out of the way.   Problem solving at its finest.

Sometimes the trail is already pretty clear with the exception of some birch leaves or pine needles.  Then I really have to ease up because this thing seriously shoots out a laser of wind.  One shot too hard at the clear ground, and BOOM!  It just blows up!  Soil carnage!

Here’s my favorite part.  Squashed scat on a bridge is no problem for the Magnum.  It peels right off leaving no residue on the machine or my boot.  Bring it on, coyotes!

So far, I have not found anything this beast cannot handle.  I wear the motor on my back as a backpack, and angle the hose to where it is most needed.  I have never had so much fun clearing the trails.  In four days, we have cleared about 14 miles. 

Two more days, and we should be done.  But don’t hop on your bikes just yet!  Some of those low spots are still draining, and some of the rocks are slick.  The remedy for this?  Sunshine and warmer temps.  Come on, Mr. Sun!


  1. I just loved this one Amanda!.. great descriptive video and commentary. I've got one of those power blowers as well but I don't think I've had nearly as much fun with it as you have. I'm sure to remember your blog the next time I use it and will enjoy the experience even more. Thanks a lot and take care. Happy Spring!

  2. This is to cool,both of you guys rock... Hope to see you all very soon.

  3. You have inspired me Amanda and I too have bein blowing and cleaning trails at sweedtown for the last few days blowers are the only way to clean trails !!! Al

  4. Hi Amanda! Great work on the trails! Can't wait to get back to Da UP, looking forward to riding Sweedtown again, too. See you all soon!