We have had a lot of spring-like weather lately and the really good news is that it’s been landing on the weekends. The only problem is, I’m not physically ready for it. I’m still holding on to that holiday fat from November and December in hopes that it will help me survive the next arctic blast we get. It was my plan. Plan = Fail!
So these past couple of weekends I’ve been doing the weekend warrior thing, in other words trying to keep up with my wife. (Her plan was to stay fit through the holidays and workout pretty much every day) Life is tough for me.
This past weekend for example, we headed out early on Saturday to Pinnacle Mountain State Park to do some maintenance on the Jackfork Mountain Bike Trail. This means your’s truly would be swinging the 10lb sledgehammer for a few hours. It was tough and by lunch time we were done with that. That being the trail work, not done being outside. It seemed like the perfect time to sit on the back deck and enjoy the breeze or maybe set up the hammock in the backyard and take a nap. Wrong! It was time to hit the Ouachita National Recreational Trail and fast hike/run/jog from the park visitor center to the East Summit Trail, go up and over and down the West Summit Trail and then take the Base Trail (the new part that is longer of course) back to the Ouachita Trail and on to the visitor center parking lot.
Okay done now? Thank you. But then we came upon Sunday. Time to load up the mountain bikes and head back out to Pinnacle to “enjoy” the fruits of our labor, the Jackfork Mountain Bike Trail. The tank was pretty much empty for me right from the start. Luckily I had the excuse of my rear brake failing and after a couple of miles I decided that the mixture of only being able to break on the front wheel and being exhausted, we should head back. We took the trail as far back at the Pumphouse near the entrance to the east side of the park. I suggested walking our bikes to the road and doing a quick loop on the Rabbit Ridge Trail just to see if it was in need of maintenance, and then the long uphill climb back to the visitor center.
I was wasted! Pooped! Just-plain-wore-out! I should try to get out a little during this week, I understand next weekend is looking pretty good.
A couple of side notes:
- Please try not to cut new trail out there. A lot of people are using the Pumphouse area as a bail for the Jackfork. That is okay but please walk your bikes out to the road. Some riders are creating a trail that dumps out into a blind intersection and we don’t want anyone to get hurt. We should have a fix for this by spring but please be respectful of the trails.
- The West Summit Trail is getting a lot of use/abuse particularly on these pretty weekends. I suggest that next time you go out, take the opportunity to check out the Rocky Valley Trail over by the visitor center. It’s an easier hike and when you connect it to the East Quarry Trail you can see one of the classic views of Pinnacle Mountain. Really a cool place worth exploring.
- Also, if you’re new to mountain biking or your kids would like to get their tires dirty, go check out the Rabbit Ridge Mountain Bike Trail. It’s only 0.7 miles long and although it’s rated easy it still has some rocks, roots and elevation changes so you get a good feel for mountain biking. A bench is placed on the trail strategically so you can sit and enjoy the surroundings and still keep tabs on the kids. Worth checking out.