Despite the best efforts of our legions of volunteers, we were not able to open the trail before Thanksgiving as hoped. While the first loop has been completed in terms of machine work and hand finishing, several special areas are still under construction:
- The “Bridge Area” which is the north east corner close to 421 won’t yield passage quite yet. This area confounded us in the design phase due to the complex jumble of rocks and braided stream beds. After numerous re-designs we settled on an alignment that would rely upon several boardwalks and causeways. We are about 90% complete with this 400 foot section. This might sound encouraging but it has taken over 5 weeks to get 90% done. The work has been difficult but rewarding and will result in a very memorable and enjoyable section of trail.
- Seeps. The lower flanks of the mountain seep with springs. If you’ve walked the trail, you’ve seen these boggy area in the fresh cut trail. Yesterday, Moto Mike, Jay Womack, Bob Kariker and I began experimenting with solutions. We installed French Drains and conduit in strategic areas to see if this would solve the problem. If this works, we’ll be working on the remaining boggy areas with this technique.
- Gravel. From the first mention of this word, hackles start to rise. Yes, we have been hauling tons of gravel. We have used a mix of crushed gravel and fines to lock in the rubble sections, the causeways, and the French Drains. The end result will be a sustainable trail that most cyclists will be able to ride.
- Also please note that any trail work must be approved before conducted. Recently someone modified an optional feature that the trail crew had built. We had constructed the feature with a “qualifier” entrance to encourage only those with advanced skills to get on it; however, now the modified approach is much easier and could encourage someone without the appropriate skills to get in over their head. We are not against technical features at Rocky Knob. We will be creating a variety of experiences for trail users and if you have ideas for features or want to help build some, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We do hope to be open soon after Thanksgiving Break. A special thanks is due to some folks that have put in a ton of work in the past few weeks:
- Watauga High School’s Mountain Alliance
- ASU’s Recreation Management Association
- ASU’s Cycling Team
- The Thursday Regulars
- Bob Kariker, Michael Thomas, Andrew Mueller, Ross Landino, and Chris Curtin who practically live at Rocky Knob.