Tuesday, February 14, 2017

A little muddin' S-Tree style

I guess this is old news, since we took this ride more than a week ago now. But the world needs some images of the great place that is S-Tree and DBNF. I suspect this is about the 5th or 6th time down there in some guise. The plan was to keep the mileage down for the day and enjoy ourselves, and I think we achieved both of those goals.

 Sinuous gravel on the lead-out.



We opened with almost 5 miles of downhill-ish gravel, with the occasional whooptido to keep the blood pumping. "Flow" as the kids would say. Somewhere in there we took a quick stop in an meadow and adjusted the layers, as the temps for the day were to be delightful for early February. The mud and campfire bade us turn left onto Tark Hill Rd., which Sr.Crowell and I had climbed back in February '15. It's one of those fun roads of which the lower portions that may or may not be on the map depending on which one. I like those.


Sr. Crowell at the bottom of the Tark Hill descent. I was feeling pretty positive mid-hill when I moved to the side a bit and Mr. Beichler went SCREAMING down on my right. Shit. I don't ride with folks who are that macho. Impressive. And fun.

Sort of a useless pic, but the previous had a peek into the cabin that DC and I visited previously. This is the growing mudhole area opposite. If you compare below it seems that the entrance path/road/"driveway" has grown.


After a creek crossing of which none of us have photos, we had a bit of fun exploring and mudding about. Nothing too manly. Someone may have randomly fallen, but did get up.

Sr. Beichler post-descent, I'm sure still feeling macho.

Where's fallen-in-the-mud Waldo?

Confluence of Horse Lick Creek to the left and Clover Bottom Creek to the right. 

Our route crossed the shallows of Horse Lick and then again had to cross Horse Lick because Clover Bottom has no good crossing. My posse bitched about this until they saw that CB was by in large impassable. We all managed to cross here with minimal damage.

Like some of the other low-lying "roads" in the Horse Lick area, this along Clover Bottom, listed as Bethel Church Rd. just isn't a road. Yes, fat bikes and horses can traverse this, but that's about all. Well, and your occasional 4-wheeler ATV thing.


We started encountering semblances of civilization, including this interesting barn.

And bucolic house thing nestled in.

Double Track. Good stuff.


The terrain of Bethel Church Rd. wasn't particulary challenging; in fact it was easy riding once we hit the farm-like areas, but I suspect we had 5 creek crossings, some of them deepish on bikes. We had wet feet the rest of the day.



As we often do, we made an executive decision. Our route was to take us up Clover Bottom Creek Rd. to the north, in effect turning left. We turned right/straight and climbed up Bethel Church. The pic below is one of my favs, but the climb was very challenging with pitches in the mid-teens. Brutal. We stopped at the top for a snack and some respite and enjoyed the sun.

At the bottom we had chosen shorter and chunkier, which is to say less mileage but a part of the Sheltowee which follows the road. This is a multi-use trail which frankly is overrun by 4-wheelers and motorcycles. And that's fine. Whatever. This couple miles of trail was short but brutal, with mudholes and short, biting climbs, and certainly a modern lack of "flow". It was mtbiking circa 1988. We followed that for a it before respectively jumping back on to the road for our finishing climb up to S-Tree campground and the cars. We managed to enjoy a beautiful day in rustic KY with good company, and even finished it off with pizza in Berea at PapaLeno's. We win.

In a couple spots, no more than 100yds long, the Sheltowee is lined with these stones. It immediately dives back into mud shortly thereafter. Not sure what the point is. But it is different.




5 comments:

Pondero said...

Wonderfully done! Rides like this are why I am finally adding an off-roader to the stable. Can't wait.

Scott Loveless said...

This settles it. I'm moving to Kentucky!

David Crowell said...

Scott, bring moar bourbon! (and beer)

Andy Beichler said...

I don't feel macho.

I m Legend said...

Awesome ride.

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