Guest blogger: Micheal Hakala
Photos by TJ Kearns
After driving 6+ hours from Atlanta to Boone in what could be described as the start of the second biblical floods we finally arrived to our hotel at Beech Mountain. With that amount of rain I was thinking that there was no way we were going to get any solid riding in the High country that weekend and others in the group were kind of questioning it as well. Maybe it will clear up in the morning. Not so much.
We got on the trails after a stupid amount of rain and the sky kind of cleared up with Scott, Josh, TJ, Kristian, and his mini shredders in the making. First reaction was ‘holy crap these trails are perfect’. All that hand laid rock armor drained like a champ. After a few photos we started making our way up the mountain. As we climbed up towards PB & J all I could think about was how sick it was that these trails were nothing short of the hard work of some awesome trail builders and riders who wanted a place to call their own. You could tell the amount of love, planning, effort that was thrown into these trails when Kristian described the process and the amount of time and energy that went into them. I was getting fired up.
So after playing around and trying out the various features TJ let us know that he got the shots that he wanted and was ready to start climbing up to the top of the mountain. Granted climbing is NEVER something that I enjoy but this was different, we were in the High Country and if Kristian said it was worth it I would take him at his word. As we climbed yes my three broken ribs were hurting and I was engaged in that mental battle of ‘damnit why am I doing this, I can’t take a deep breath, etc. I mean if you’ve ridden and you are not just a complete animal you know what kind of games your head can play. Even with this whining I was doing in my head and probably audibly, this strange sense of peace and excitement came over me as I took a second to look where I was. I was riding through a cloud/mist/fog up a mountain in Boone, NC with my buddies on a trail that were built to perfection. Why the hell was I being a baby. Damn. Then we got to the top and that is when I feel like we truly got to experience these trail builder’s (more like trail artists) vision and ability to produce. Holy rocky, fast, flowly, alt-line, brappage-of-the-berm batman! Following TJ, Josh, and Scott down the hill was freaking awesome. Flying down the hill, doubling rock piles on the side of the main trail, lines up and around trees all while in this misty/cloudy/ High Country weather…holy hell…it just gives me goosebumps just thinking about it. The different line options, the perfectly sculpted berms you don’t even need breaks for, I mean common I have said it a million times Rocky Knob is freaking awesome. This is seriously a mountain biker’s play ground in the High Country. This place has it all. I you like to ride and want to experience what a properly constructed and maintained trail system looks like you HAVE to see and ride this place. I know that I am planning a trip sometime this fall because I need to experience the newly built pump-track. I can’t freaking wait.