Breaking Trail, Breaking Clouds
It was raining this past Saturday in Kingsport, Tenn. In fact, we were all expecting a torrential downpour. The skies were gray, and the weather forecast called for 100 percent chance of heavy rain. We woke up Saturday to dry pavement, but during the morning Trailbuilding School raindrops pitter-pattered on the skylights of the Bays Mountain Park Farmhouse Museum, and sheets of rain that would effectively cancel our trail project with the Northeast Tennessee Mountain Bike Association (NTMBA) seemed imminent. There’s nothing more depressing (or inevitable, it seems) than a mountain bike club organizing for months to host a Trail Care Crew visit, and having to cancel the trail work due to weather.
In comes a small miracle. Hallelujah! We popped our heads outdoors after lunch, and nary a sprinkle was felt. The 35 of us decided to buck up and bear the threat of more showers in a barren and wintry deciduous forest, to build those 1,000 feet of sweet flowy singletrack practically begging to get cut in. We re-routed a messy, rutted, fall-line section of trail about 15 minutes into the Big Oak trail. That 500-foot section is littered with seeps – good for Mother Nature, bad for trail users.
If only the weather gods could day trip down to Bays Mountain Park and check out the new section of Big Oak, we’d all give them a big sloppy kiss on the cheek. This was one of our favorite Trail Care Crew projects to date, compliments of NTMBA volunteers who hunkered down, never complained once about the rain and built 1,000 feet of new trail. We revegetated a clearly unsustainable piece of trail and replaced it with singletrack that took advantage of the awesome topography along the mountain, complete with scenery, stream views and arduous climbs.
The three photos in the gallery show a neat before-during-after series of shots from the revegetation and new trail building project.
Thanks to NTMBA for getting over 30 people out to build on a rainy day, and for hosting a stellar weekend of activities.