16 hours ago

This was a very enjoyable (and a bit wet) challenge today. The joy was dampened by the condition of the trail more than by the rain.

I think this trail should be retired unless major work can be done (alas, I'm not in a good place to take on working on it, myself). It is a great space, but the trail is in bad shape. About 1/3 of the trail is erosion ruts, and I felt guilty in passing through making it worse (albeit a tiny bit).

On the lower sections, the mountain laurel has overgrown, requiring me to stoop for lots of these parts (I'm 6'00"). There are sections of the trail that apparently have disappeared, requiring frequent GPS checks to get back on track.There are no markings. I did place a pile of limbs at one junction off of the logging road, since there were misleading pieces of day-glow orange surveyor's tape nearby. Sometimes, getting back on track was to find the erosion ruts! There are multiple downed trees, including a very recent (Maple or Sweet Gum) tree top that fell directly on the trail. Several other large logs lie across the trail, but they are not as much an obstacle. I did see a bit of recent clearing work, as noted by Anthony, yet the amount of work done appears to have been less than the recent new debris further up the trail.

I also found what may have been long-abandoned trails and/or animal trails, but these usually dead-ended into underbrush. The logging roads were not routed in an ecologically responsible way, which is part of the reason for the erosion ruts. They are often very steep (did they use cables to pull vehicles up and down?) and there are no erosion control water diversion cut-outs. Several of the logging roads dead-end as well...

If I was a permanent resident of this area, and could get FS permission, I would likely try to get a group of folks together to do some trail maintenance. It would be great to develop a couple of loops of varying distance, to open this great area to more people. That would also help mitigate some of the damage already there by the bad existing trails and roads.