And what a view it was. It's been ten long years since I have ridden up Rocky Fork. It's true wilderness that's for sure. The last time I had two mountain bike wheels up there was over 10 years ago with Jeff and George. I think I was riding a Schwinn Homegrown silver aluminum hardtail with a set of SPIN wheels back then. George and Jeff knew that mountain like the back of their hand back then, they used to take us on some of the most awful rides and hike a bikes one could imagine. I would bet they have more miles than anyone mountain biking on that mountain as much as they used to ride it. They used to take us on some crazy rides, like Frog Level (that's a nasty place) First time to Bent Creek in Asheville they ran off and left us leaving us for dead but found us before the day was over, lol. They have had us on some crazy forsaken trails on Holston, you name it these two have ridden it around here. There's a few folks that "think" they have fathered deep woods riding in this area but they live in a self-induced dream world.
J&G and a couple others are probably one of the earliest mountain bikers in this area. I can remember as far back as 1985-86 trading a pair of skis for a Specialized rigid steel hardtail that I cross-trained on for Motocross. I rode that piece of junk all over Buffalo Mountain climbing the 'blue trail' to improve my fitness for racing MX many times. I upgraded to a "Muddy Fox" brand after that from the shop that I was working part-time and did some wrenching for. There was a group of about 8 that rode seriously back then but life gets in the way and people do their different things. Marriage took a toll on my riding, seemed like the wifey would get all bent out of shape if I was out on the bike and so to keep the peace I hardly rode, hence I'm now divorced since 2000 and ride all I want! So 1992-2000 I was in a lul. I haven't kept up with the old riding bunch like I should have but Jeff & George are still riding alot from the reports I get from Trixie. It sort of makes me want to hit some of the old places we used to ride in a way so maybe I will get some guys together for a nostalgic ride sometime
One of our guys in the NTMBA made a makeshift map and posted it online, we printed it to take with us. It made things much easier finding Buzzard's Rock, Thanks Ben! I also texted Ben but never got a response back trying to ask him if he wanted to show us the route. There were several creek crossings and the water was up and running swiftly. Did I mention that it was pretty cold water also? It wasn't freezing but it was cold. I have ridden up there when there was ice on the banks before but that was a long time ago. Andy, Abby, Greg, Jason and myself managed the climb to the top which wasn't very bad until about a mile from the top. It pitched pretty steep the last mile which was all FS roads. Nearing the top Jason was riding about 100yds off the front of us, he stopped and waited at the final turn because he thought he saw a cow standing at the edge of the trail. NOPE it was a black bear! He said it wasn't startled and just wandered off the side in no hurry. Greg and I looked for it but it was gone. We found the infamous "Buzzard's Rock" and took about a 30 minute break stringing socks and shoes all over for them to dry from the 6 creek crossings. After a small photo session we packed up and headed DOWN for a change! The trail was covered with leaves that hid logs, rocks and other debris that would want to eject you from your ride so it was fun trying to keep an eye out for this stuff. It was double track so several times we were 2X2 on the trail hauling butt. Abby, who is riding just awesome lately, totally BOMBED the DH part! I had to push it to catch up to her so I could turn on the gopro to shoot some video of her riding like this, she was killing it! Go Abby! I will have a video together later this week, Greg should be making one also. Enough of this, I should go study for a Mid-term I have later today, get out and enjoy the color of the trees. God works hard to give us this beauty, don't take it for granted!