Sunday, July 3, 2011

Squirrel Gap

Until Saturday, I had only ridden a small portion of Squirrel, from Wolf Ford to Cantrell. That section was a lot of fun, but I knew the "Classic Squirrel" would be even better. Yesterday, I finally got to ride the good stuff. Eric, my ride guide for the day, met me at Turkey Pen bright and early. It was actually a chilly drive in the Heep.


We headed down S. Mills to Mullinax, and started the longish, but not too bad climb. We merged with Squirrel and continued to climb the narrow, bench-cut ribbon of singletrack, over rocks and roots until we hit what I'm told is called the "Saddle." This was where the real fun started. The trail stayed very narrow, and basically became one long rock garden. It was pretty tough, and I was dabbing a lot and walking a little. This was a type of trail that I'm just not used to yet.

Before I knew it, we were at Cantrell, and I was on familiar ground, sort of. This section has become pretty overgrown with thorn bushes, thickets, briar patches, or whatever you call them. I ended up pretty sliced up, but it was still a blast, adding to the difficulty of the trail. We got down to Wolf Ford, and decided to hang out in the river for a bit. As we were walking down to the water, Eric reached in his pack and pulled out two ice cold beers. We sat in the river for a while and talked about how much it sucks to live here.

Eric doesn't like his pic on the web, so I smudged his head.

Did I mention these were ice cold?



After our break, we turned around and headed back the way we came. When we got to the techy section, I did much better. I don't know if it's easier to clear in this direction, or if I was just more used to it, but I didn't dab a whole lot, and didn't walk anything. Once we got to the Saddle, it was almost all downhill, and it was fun. While on Squirrel, we still had to be pretty careful not to go off the side of the narrow trail, but things opened up on Mullinax, and we could let it rip. I felt on the verge of being out of control on several occasions, but Eric still crushed me on the downhill. During the last climb on Mullinax, the hot and humid weather caught up to me and my quads started cramping pretty bad, but I was able to walk it out and finish the ride.

It was a great day in the woods, and I found my new favorite trail. It's a trail that can beat you up a bit, but not in a demoralizing way. I can't wait to ride it again.


  1. Nice! This is a super-fun ride. You are correct that uphill through the rocks is "easier" (read: more fun) than downhill -- at least in my opinion. Sounds like you didn't drop Laurel Creek to the river -- definitely give that a try -- tech at the top, and then SCREAMING downhill/false flat downhill. Super fun!

  2. Sweet! Keep learning the trails so you can make good decisions for Double Dare!

  3. Working on it!! I have most of them memorized as far as placement on the map, but I still have quite a few to ride still.