Sunday, April 4, 2021


Chipping away at the backlog... Pinelog appears to be next.

Yes, me and Billy rode Pinelog some weeks ago. His idea, actually, and a great one at that. I hadn't ridden there in quite some time. I'd basically explored it to such an extent that I'd grown tired of riding/hiking there, and moved on. These days, there are new trails that I haven't ridden, but they are a) not on the Pinelog property, and b) built by riders who are braver and more skilled than I. Maybe someday. But, back to the ride at hand. Billy was like "Pinelog" and I was like "sounds good" so we drove up to Pinelog and got to it.

If you don't know there are great trails at Pinelog, you might get bored long before you find them. It's a long gravel grinder to Hogsback, and there are many distractions along the way, none of which involve shredding sick singletrack.

For example, the Lewis Furnace.

Lewis Furnace

I mean, it's right there, why not sidetrack and check it out?

And there's Stamp Creek Falls. Why not sidetrack and check it out? Though put rhetorically, there is an actual answer to that question. The trail is hard to follow, and you have to cross the creek, and it's not obvious where any more, and you end up eating up all kinds of time before you get to the aforementioned shred.

And if your shoe is suspect, as apparently mine was, then the hike-a-bike involved will tear the sole off of the bottom.

Shoe Repair

When I was last in Texas, the sole of my right shoe had come unglued and we shoe-gooed it back together. The previous week, I'd noticed that the sole was starting to detach, ever so slightly on the left shoe, but it seemed stable. It hadn't changed in several rides. Well, apparently that's because I hadn't walked on it enough. It ripped off in glourious form as we approached the falls, and I had to tie it back on with an ace bandage. Fortunately, I know from experience that the ace bandage is the way to go in such situations, and carry one to deal with that, and other, eventualities.

We bailed on the falls and proceeded directly to the shred.

Or, the climbing, as it actually was. So much climbing. On gravel...

Me and Billy Climbing

On old roadbeds.

Old Roadbed

On singletrack.

Hogsback Trail

On rockier singletrack.

Rocky Hogsback

"Where's the downhill?"

Billy had never ridden Pinelog, and had heard that there were awesome downhills. Well... I guess it depends on how you define "awesome". I don't know of any long lines of sight, no brakes, top speed for 10 minutes kind of downhills like you find in the NF. The downhills that I'm aware of at Pinelog are fairly short and pretty damn steep. I don't know what his concept of awesome was, or what he was hoping to ride, but I've seen him get knocked into a coma before, so we were going to ease into this. The plan was to climb Hogsback, follow the ridge down off of Hanging Mountain, take Wet and Wild back to the Road, and go home. If he handled that descent off of Hanging Mountain, then we'd hit Gutter next time. Maybe Laundry Chute after that. Or maybe not. Maybe just not tempt fate.

I forget why, but we stopped at the top of Hanging Mountain for a bit...

Top of Hanging Mountain

...then headed down.

Billy negotiated the descent quite responsibly. I'm not sure what I was worried about.

Actually, scratch that, I know exactly what I was worried about - that he'd be out of his element, make some mistake, and eat it hard - it was just that none of that happened, and it was a load off of my mind.

Check out the skills.

Billy Negotiating Rocks

Man, those rocks look like nothing from the bottom.

I always have trouble finding Wet and Wild from the ridge. I want it to be at the gap, but it's actually a little up from the gap. We found that, but then it was unexpectedly tricky from there. I remembemred that we ought to sidehill for a while, then hang a right, bump through some sketchy rocks, end up on an old roadbed, drop down to the left to go around a downed tree, then back up to the old roadbed again, climb a super steep kick, then roll downhill all the way out of the woods, crossing a creek many, many times.

That got derailed when we didn't encounter any sketchy rocks. Where were the rocks? Then we just ran into a big tangle of downed trees and there was a wornish trail leading off to the left.


Whose trees have apparently been down for some time, and maybe people generally go left now? I have no memory of there ever even being a trail that way, but it looked like an old bench cut. No idea. On the other side of the deadfall, things started looking correct, just not very well worn. But then the trail started getting more and more well worn and eventually ended up being correct.

(Not So) Wet and Wild


There's a bit of deadfall on Wet and Wild, but it's kind of fun.

Billy Negotiating Deadfall

Billy tried super hard to keep his feet dry for the first few creek crossings, but when I told him there were like 4 more he just gave up and walked right through the water.

When we got back to the gravel road, we just rode back out to the truck. I saw some guy on the way out that I thought I recognized, but it turned out to be somebody that I didn't know.

I had fun, but I don't think it was what Billy was hoping for. I'm pretty sure he was expecting something like Bear Hare or upper Mountaintown. Instead, he got like 1 minute of downhill on Gallows, some confusion, and then several miles of what amounted to lower Mountaintown. Not to mention the long ride in and out on gravel, and the distractions.

Sorry bro, maybe next time.

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