Background: The east pond at the Brushy Mtn tunnel on the Silver Comet Trail is critical to keeping the tunnel dry and more importantly, mud out of the tunnel. If the east pond fills, everything drains to the tunnel. Late spring Jim I removed what sludge we could with his tractor. That effort has resulted in a dry tunnel, but it wouldn’t last long.

For several months (actually longer) I’ve been trying to find county resources or donated services for an excavator to clean out the retention pond at the east end of the Brushy Mtn tunnel. I had about given up. I mentioned on a facebook post that Jim and I do most of the work cleaning the trail. Hearing this, one of our riders, Joe Crane asked if he could help. Joe has a large backhoe and he volunteered to help at the tunnel.
Recent dry weather had left the ponds as dry as they were going to be. We were able to get everything together this Saturday. We put in a very long day, Joe running the backhoe and digging, then dumping into Jim’s tractor bucket and hauled off. Me I got to do all the labor of using a hoe to pull the load into the bucket and distributing evenly; removing the excess so it didn’t slop-down onto the trail when Jim hauled it off. While Jim was transporting I was shoveling and cleaning the mess that didn’t make the bucket. It was a tough day for me, I was beat.
Good news is, we got it done. We cleaned out both ponds and replaced the large barrier rocks at the east pond. So what was a favorite of many riders, to stop at the pond on the west end of the tunnel has now been restored. By the end of the day Saturday the steady flow of ground water had nearly filled the west pond.

A huge Thank You to Joe Crane and Jim Brannon. Joe running his backhoe and Jim doing all the hauling with his tractor. We were able to clear both ponds at the Brushy Mtn tunnel. They worked hard and made a difference.

Note: click images for larger view.

Loading the bucket on Jim's tractor.

Joe running the backhoe, Jim in the tractor.

East pond after clean-up, pooling water.

West pond after clean-out, nearly full.