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  1. #1

    Join Date
    Aug 2000
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    3,371
    Location
    California - S.F. East Bay & Sierra foothills
    Tractor
    Kubota L2500DT Standard Transmission

    Default Blazing Trails

    Just back from 2-1/2 days on the "culvert project" -- progress report coming soon on that thread. Before I turn in for the night, I wanted to solicit some more advice from the seemingly bottomless wealth of tractor knowledge out there.

    On my next trip back to "the property" I will be blazing a new tractor path from culvert #2 to culvert site #3. This is a stretch of about a hundred yards or so of virgin Sierra foothills wilderness. The terrain is hilly and covered with tall weeds (pretty dried out right now), trees and brush, all of which makes it pretty difficult to see the hidden surprises, like boulders (up to a couple of feet), stumps, holes, depressions, mounds, ruts, etc.

    I originally thought that if I scouted the path on foot, I could locate the obstacles, deal with them and then whip through with the bush hog. However, now that I've walked the path site several times, I'm skeptical about using the mower at all. The ground is quite uneven and I have doubts that I can really locate all the hazards until it's too late.

    Would I be better off just hitting it with just the loader and box blade until I have the trail fairly evened out before trying to hog it? Am I being prudent or just plain chicken?

    If this sounds a little like my "blackberry menace" question, it is, and it's because of what I found when I delved into the blackberry that prompts me to ask such a similar question. (Yes, I'll post an update on the blackberry thread, too. After I get some sleep.)

    As always, your advice is muchly appreciated.


  2. #2

    Join Date
    Apr 2000
    Posts
    357
    Location
    Northwest Georgia
    Tractor
    Kubota 5400 4x4 with ROPS, canopy, 1001 loader, heavy duty quick release bucket with tooth bar, 280 Bush Hog brush cutter, 6' Bush Hog box blade, 6' Bush Hog plug aerator, 3 point hay spear, 6' Lands

    Default Re: Blazing Trails

    Harv,

    The loader idea is a good one. May also want to drag a box blade back and forth (with the scarifiers up)to get an idea of what is below the weeds.

    I cut a 15ft wide path around my property in early Spring. I plan on putting up a horse fence. Anyway, haven't done too much to the area since I cut the path. By the way, the path is through mostly hardwoods, lots of up hill and down hill, and rocks that get pretty big in places (3 and 4 feet high). Two days ago I went around the paremeter with my bucket low and the teeth (I have teeth on my loader bucket which I highly recommend) just touching the ground. The weeds had been 4 and 5 feet high. Knocked them right down.

    I didn't dare use a brush cutter for fear of hitting a stump, rock, etc...same as you. I didn't want to take time to put on a box blade, so the loader worked grear. Just remember to go slowly.

    Hope this helps


  3. #3

    Join Date
    Apr 2000
    Posts
    610
    Location
    Ontario
    Tractor
    Ford 1710: Loader, Hoe, Snowblower, Box scrapper & 3ph Forks

    Default Re: Blazing Trails

    You might think of whether you want a road or a temporary trail. If it's a trail, then digging up the soil with a scraper or loader might not be the best approach. At least around here the woods are laced with old log skider trails. If they're there, they tend to get used. Some skider trails have turned into roads, and some of the original roads have been abandoned. The skider trails weren't originally put in with the idea of permanent roads, and many have erosion problems. Anyway, once the ground cover is destroyed, the road, trail or path becomes fairly permanent, so you should be pretty sure that's what you want.

    We've got a decent track at our camp from just driving the tractor across a meadow a few dozen times this summer. It'll probably take a couple of years for the track to disappear unless the ATV'ers start using it, and then it becomes permanent. Fortunately, most ATV'ers would be our neighbours who we wouldn't mind seeing, but the traffic go past our back door.

    An alternative might be to get a supply of shear pins, go slow with the cutter up high and do it in several passes. A chain saw may be needed to remove log sections, and some fill might be needed to get across rocky sections.



  4. #4
    Super Member
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    Apr 2000
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    6,317
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    central New York
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    all makes and models

    Default Re: Blazing Trails

    Harv we do a lot of snowmobile trail work often thru area's we don't know. We often start with the loader tractor with the bucket down curled back just off the ground so we don't fill it. Then we can see most all hazards that will need to be removed.


  5. #5
    Veteran Member gordon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2000
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    1,786
    Location
    Delaware
    Tractor
    L4310hst-loader-hydraulic top link

    Default Re: Blazing Trails

    Harv there is no such thing as being a chicken when using a tractor---and that is a fact!!! Better to be safe than sorry. Just remember if it feels unsafe it probably is and if your using the tractor scared you are much more likely to make a mistake so stop what your doing step back and regroup.

    Now to your questions about going over the trail. The bucket method works great just go slow so you have time to react. I've run up on and also over all sorts of things while making trails in the woods. Old tires, washing machines, of course stumps and rocks, whats best though is the ditch that the bucket clears but when the front tires hit it---instant disc brakes. So go slow and clear it out some with the bucket before you take your rotary cutter in there and tear it up. I would hate to see you ruin a new toy.[img]/w3tcompact/icons/smile.gif[/img]
    gordon


  6. #6
    Epic Contributor Bird's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2000
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    38,428
    Location
    Texas

    Default Re: Blazing Trails

    The closest I've ever come to turning a tractor over was driving down a ravine back in the woods on my brother's place. The route I was following looked level, but suddenly both right wheels fell into a ditch and I almost rolled it over on the right side. Fallen leaves had completely filled the ditch so it appeared to be just as level as the rest of the terrain. That was when I had the little B7100 and I had my seatbelt on, but like a dummy (formerly a motorcycle rider) I just instinctively stuck my right foot out on the ground, as if I could have held that thing up.[img]/w3tcompact/icons/frown.gif[/img] Needless to say, if it had gone on over it would have broken my leg. So now on unfamiliar terrain, I try to make a conscious effort to keep my arms and legs in the right place.

    Bird

  7. #7
    Veteran Member gordon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2000
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    1,786
    Location
    Delaware
    Tractor
    L4310hst-loader-hydraulic top link

    Default Re: Blazing Trails

    I've cussed leaves more than once not only for what they were hiding but also lack of traction. Amazing how mother nature always tries to level the land. Bird never try to hold the tractor up with your leg, I do believe that the tractor would win. [img]/w3tcompact/icons/smile.gif[/img]

    A few months back I was grading a new houses yard and was almost done. I was making cross sweeps around the septic but there was alittle dirt that I had to knock down to finish. I went in on a different angle and both tires sunk into the septic line ditch nice and soft. Needless to say my heart missed a beat on that one. I worked myself out nice and slow hoping the hole time that this wasn't my day to roll the tractor. Thank goodness it wasn't just a dented ego thats all. Oh yea and alot more grade work to get rid of the ruts that I made in my nice fresh graded lot!!! It's amazing where trouble lurks.

    Another time I was in the woods making a trail back to an area to be logged and was riding on what appeared to be an old road or lane of sorts. I was going slow when all of the sudden I hear metal creaking and one of my rear tires started to go down. Next thing I did was floor the foot throttle and work my way over the hole. Come to find out it was an old junk pit and my tractor was compacting an old dryer. That was an eye opener all I could do was stand there shaking my head. Ususally you can tell an old junk pit but this one was over grown and backfilled over. I changed the location way around that area of the land. It was a longer pull with the logs but safer.
    Gordon


  8. #8

    Join Date
    Aug 2000
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    3,371
    Location
    California - S.F. East Bay & Sierra foothills
    Tractor
    Kubota L2500DT Standard Transmission

    Default Re: Blazing Trails

    Just to report how it actually turned out --

    I waded in slowly with the FEL, testing the water, so to speak. It turns out that about 95% of the path could have been brush-hogged just fine. But the other 5% contained several of those obnoxious "iceberg" boulders (mostly below ground, but just enough protruding to wreak havoc with your machinery), some hidden depressions (those instant 10-degree side tilts that take a year or so off your life), some flexible garden pipe (you know -- that black stuff, about 1 inch in diameter), a lone 10-foot strand of barbed wire and an aluminum arrow.

    I'm not worried -- my brush hog will get a crack at it next year. [img]/w3tcompact/icons/smile.gif[/img]

    Unlike a couple of small dead trees I toppled easily with my bucket, I found that healthy young saplings are too wiry to just brute force out of the way. Had to resort to my trusty ax several times (don't you hate it when you have to actually get out of your tractor seat to get something done [img]/w3tcompact/icons/tongue.gif[/img]).

    Some of the brush put up a pretty good fight, too. My best strategy seemed to be to take a swipe at them with the loader, which left them pretty flat on the ground although still rooted, and then making a couple of passes with the box scraper. I didn't use the rippers (too much trouble), but had pretty good results just dropping the scraper close behind them and then slowly dragging it across the central part of the plant.

    Kind of anti-climactic, but of course I took a few snapshots anyway (see attachment). Next trip up I intend to try really grooming the path.


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