January 18, 2010. We awoke to a beautiful sunny morning with temperatures in the mid 50’s. It quickly warmed to the high 60’s. The winds from the previous day were gone.
We made a late breakfast and then got ready to do some work in the park. We picked up the blower from Dylan’s car port and rolled it into the back of the Gator to blow the leaves, pine needles and sticks off the paved road in the Big Shoals loop and the 4 mile Woodpecker paved trail. Our first few weeks here, I rigged the blower to function from the back of the Gator. The previous method was to tow it with a makeshift tow rig. However, the bearings for the wheels on the blower were not designed to be towed repeatedly for long distances and thus the bearings were worn out.
After blowing the 1/4 mile paved loop around Big Shoals, Joyce and I set out to blow debris off he Woodpecker Trail. About 3/4 miles out we came across this 40 ft pine tree, roots and all that had fallen presumedly from the winds.
You can see in the picture that just ahead of the pine tree there are a few logs in the road from a rotted tree that fell and shattered. I contacted Ranger Gary Erixton to make arrangements to move it later as he has been working at the Olustee Battlefield. (More on that tomorrow.)
After about 2.5 hours, we were finished with cleaning up the Woodpecker trail. It’s about 8 miles round trip with the blower. We spent the rest of the day at our rig in the Big Shoals loop. I decided to take a peek on the top of our fifth wheel as I was thinking of cleaning the roof before we leave next month. I was surprised to see a lot of sticks and leaves, though I shouldn’t have been. Anyway, I climbed back up with the blower and blew off the the debris. I’ll have to make plans soon to scrub the roof.
Around 5 p.m. Gary called me to assist him with removing the fallen tree. He fired up the John Deere tractor and I met him on the trail in the Gator. With the tractor Gary was able to push the tree into the forest. Since he already had the tractor out, we traveled to a creek that crosses Road 1 that was partially blocked from a fallen tree. Again with the tractor, Gary was able to push the tree out of the way and open up the creek that was partially flooding the dirt road. I then followed Gary to the Little Shoals shop to change out the front loader on the tractor. After we changed the loader and added hydraulic fluid, I followed Gary in the park truck as he drove the tractor over to the Stephan Foster shop, so we could drive it back. I made plans to go help Gary at Olustee Battlefield the next day.