One of the few things that bothers me about mountain biking is searching for people, places, or means of finding kick ass trails. Seriously, you have to be an adventurer, or know like fifty million people to become privy on where some of these unmarked wonders are. Some people do not give up and disclose info about where local trails are because of the encroachment on private property; and if the trail blows up, it will be shut down. Living in an extremely rural area also limits knowledge of local trails just due to the fact that not many people ride.
Growing tired of trails immediately around my town, I started stretching out and looking for others in a still local area. First stop, MTBR trail reviews. MTBR’s trail listing for West Virginia is pretty hit-and miss for Upshur County. There are one or two locations that are just flat-out wrong on the provided map, or the directions might as well be told to you by a parrot with a doctorate in Swahili;. Seriously, a few times, it has been the complete opposite of helpful… I heard about a trail on Boy Scout Camp Road, and wanted to check it out… I had no clue what I was getting myself into.
The first thing against me was the MTBR Trail Review itself. The listing shows a point somewhere, just a few minutes outside of the center of Buckhannon, near a trailer park. EPIC FAIL. First off, I decided to do some reconnaissance driving to see if I could scope out the area and find a decent place to start riding from. The road was only ten miles from my house on the highway, so I went out for a weekend joyride.
My first drive was quite unsuccessful, and ended up with me reaching points on a road that was too much for my 1992 Dodge Caravan SE, and I did not feel safe driving over mud and large rocks anymore. I backed up off the hill, and went home. Deciding that some of the area around Boy Scout Camp Road was inappropriate for my pristine and classy ride, I took the Gary Fisher in my van back to the area. I parked in a vacated area close to the sign up above and set off. My first hunch was to traverse the road that I was not able to fully drive up. After a three-mile climb up this dirt road, all I saw were No Trespassing signs EVERY 20 FEET on both sides of this excuse for a road.
Traversing back down the road was a breeze, and it was off to the other side of the bridge in order to see if the other area had any signs of trail riding. (If you viewed the YouTube video, you’ve already spoiled the surprise.) I met up with a fat, hairy man who I could only assume was the caretaker of a large camping area which I stumbled upon. He told me that several riders a few years ago went on a road which led to the railroad tracks; I thanked him and went on my way after he gave me his blessing of permitted usage.
This so-called road that the man pointed to was an edge along a riverbank, not even ten feet wide in some sections, how it was called a road… I have no clue. Maybe the guy was suffering from dementia, he did look old afterall… This whole area around the Middle Fork River was covered in hiking trails, abandoned jeep trails once up on the hill, and very little singletrack. The free area, and winding paths would be great for taking a group of people wanting to ride together at a brisk pace; think MTB peloton…
The sun was going to set in less than an hour after I found the trail, so I wanted to hurry back after exploring for a while. I felt like Indiana Jones, but in lycra and on a mountain bike… it was awesome finding trails that have not been documented to my knowledge. Somehow after taking a spill on a soggy bare tree branch and resting for a minute, I lost my bearing and ended up in path-slash-sand pit of doom; things were not looking well. My feet were soaked, my legs were becoming tired and I just wanted to get back to the vehicle. I ran across some more No Trespassing signs right next to a house, so I did the stupid thing and rode right through their treeline. Rolled past their garage and luckily there was a man waxing his little wooden fishing boat. He politely gave me directions back to Boy Scout Camp Road, and I was off! Got back to the van, got in and turned on the feet vents for the heater. I was on my way home~
Driving home, I thought back on my effort to find more local trails for myself and others in town. I was glad that I found land that was permitted to use on bike, and was encouraged. The terrain was fine, and the trails do need a little bit of maintenance (fallen tree moving), but overall it was a great adventure. Completely worth the time and effort. This just shows anyone in WV that with a little bit of determination, fun can be had just about anywhere.