We’ve been putting quite a bit of time into “developing” some more technical trails. Nothing that will ever be raced, but rather something that keeps you moving slow with ample obstacles to keep you engaged. It’s not always about how fast you go, its more about if you can go at all!
We’d been working on one trail for quite some time now and as of two weekends ago, it was not finished. We lacked about 50 yards of switchbacks to make it work and keep the loop intact. I’m now glad to say that after some digging on New Years Eve we finally completed the switchbacks leading off of Narrow Ridge. It drops down three big levels and then wraps around the end of the ridge and onto an old logging road cut into the side of the ridge. The loops goes on from there and heads generally back down the main creek bed.
Something I learned before I ever went to Idaho in 2008 is that the guys out there were serious about “their” trails. First off, I was told to not even come unless I had a rear trials tire. Knobbies, they said, will mess up the nice single track if you get off the side. Then I asked if it is OK to bring a YZ250f . . . I was told that would be fine if it did not have stock exhaust, but rather something much quieter (ie, FMF Q). So, the writing was on the wall, these guys were serious about “their” trails and keeping them open (for everyone).
So, on the first day, we come upon a place near the trail where there is a hunter’s camp with a couple horses tied up to some trees. We are heading up a slight grade, but we stop our bikes and push them about 20 yards or so past the camp and then start our bikes and leave. What would you have done?
Later that day we come upon a place where some trees are down across the trail. It would have been easy enough to get around, but we stopped, grabbed one of their small chain saws and went to work. It was cleared just enough to keep it open to “singletrack” width navigation (ie, a quad would not fit).
I was impressed at their attention to detail in this regard. They weren’t doing this just for themselves but rather for the entire trail using community. When they talked about “their” trails, they meant the everyone that utilized them, not just themselves.
On my next trip out to ride I noticed that there were many logs that had been cut along this one particular loop. It allowed for some nice riding as you didn’t have to stop all the time to go over or around a downed tree (and there are lots). Several of the larger logs had one horizontal line across the end of log and two vertical lines evenly spaced as well. A couple days later we met the guy who’d done this and we asked about the markings. He said that “TT” or Team Tahoe was a “signature”. He and a friend had used that name for many years and as they cleared trails, they proudly left their mark. Evidently, many of the mountain bikers love these guys because they keep the trails open and flowing. If they see anyone on the trail, their bikes are immediately shut off. Once the people pass by, they start up their bikes and move along. Would you do that?
Jesse rode with the gentlemen in the photo above one day and could hardly keep him (he was in his later 60’s) in sight. He’d come up to a downed log to find the guy off his bike with chainsaw in hand. Start, cut, stop, put in holder on fender, off you go! Jesse said they repeated this about 30 times that day!! Would you do that?
Think about it . . . they have hundreds of miles of public trails and we have less than 150 in Kentucky.
We finally got around to posting our favorite photos from Idaho online over the weekend. According to iPhoto, we captured over 675 images and paired it down to our “Favorites” . . . that was no easy task. Kim took the vast majority of the photos and many of them are spectacular.
The one thing I wish we had on our camera was a GPS though . . . we get a point with the Garmin Colorado for every photo we take (usually that is my task) and then we can easily put it into Panoramio without much effort. But, Jesse’s Sony video camera has built in GPS and when he takes still photos, it adds the geo tags accordingly. My next Olympus camera will have that feature!
This photo was taken on the Fir Creek Trail in Central Idaho. Jesse, Kim, and I walked the trail a bit and grabbed a few photos. This trail did allow for motorized use of the two-wheel variety, but like most, quads were not welcome. Obviously, you could walk or bike on the trail as well. It was well-maintained but Kim and I did move some small downed pines from the trail near the stream crossing.
The dry winding path through the conifers is typical of trails in this area. Most of the tree growth would be considered young and many of the surrounding mountain sides show signs of recent forest fires. Not a deciduous tree to found in this neck of the woods!!