The Tale of Gully Washer: How a New Trail is Born at GMT

When flagging out the new GMT trail, Gully Washer, I dropped into a ravine crossing and meandered precisely to the bane of my existence. Half wedged, half floating there besmirching the serenity: A giant truck tire that had weathered the last six years. I put it there. A Death Race (look it up) training camp had rolled it up to Shrek’s Cabin at the top of the Green Mountain Trails under the premise that Sisyphysian feats optimize humanity. But unlike the myth, it wasn’t going to roll back down on it’s own volition.  I filed a grievance with the camp leader and that got the tire a half mile back down the hill and in the middle of Luvin’ It trail, which blocked free flowing riding and was a couple miles short of the tire yard.

 

I channeled my ardor into my diminutive body  and awkwardly power lifted the tire upright. It was April, an inch of  crusty snow on the ground. I let the tire roll, wobble, crash and flop in twenty yard stretches down the trail until I got it to the snowmobile trail which careens at a decent pitch to mid mountain.  Almost immediately the tire rolled past my grip and accelerated to a devastating velocity, bouncing menacingly down the fall line. Though the trails were empty, I was nauseated by a deep foreboding. What started as an annoyance unleashed a steamroller. Then the tire hooked a merciful right into the woods and, judging from the snapping and crashing, took out groves of birch saplings as it went , and, I can only imagine, ricocheted several times against the banks of Fuster’s Ravine before finally coming to rest.

 

I sought it out, just to confirm that it didn’t continue  buzzsawing its way into town, and, feeling both relieved and defeated, found it. So I  started digging Gully Washer to the ravine this past summer and acceptance of the situation still eluded me. If one were to bother plotting the exact geographic center of the trail system, I am almost certain that this scourge would be it’s dishonorable benchmark, and it had my name on it.  I would see the slug of black rubber staring at me every day so, I had no choice, I started the process anew. I flipped and bounced it down the ravine, floated my rubber albatross across pools, cut branches. yanked and cajoled the tire down past the shack on Fuster’s Trail before wedging it, Alas!, under a log with the entire scene, a testament to the collective folly,  on display above Middle Ravine Trail. Its getting close now.

 

With the tire at least well out of sight of the new trail, I kept digging for about a mile aiming for something intermediate and two way, but quickly being schooled by the terrain,  it ended up somewhat advanced and strictly downhill. At one point Gully Washer abuts Bubba,  the latter of which doesn’t skimp on the old school tech and so the new trail can’t help taking on a  resemblance in places. But, overall, as I was building and testing it, the idea coalesced that Gully Washer was the love child of two newer hand built GMT trails, Rabbit Hole and Bubba, a combination of several sections of fast flow constrained on a narrow, bench cut line (maternally) and sporadic chunkiness with an uberdip from out of the blue (paternally).   All told, it has a lot more in common with its mother, but maybe you could say it has its father’s eyes. After the ravine crossing, it connects a half mile in to Bubba on the Bubba Washer connector. It opens up several more lunch loop possibilities, starting from both Riverside and Top of Tweed trailheads, which were much needed.

 

Until the completion of a serious six foot high thirty foot long bridge across the ravine, which may not be in the stars for 2017, Gully Washer is not ready for prime time. But this will be a great way to start in spring of 2018, rest assured, perfect for purging the inner Sisyphus in us all.

Written by Matt Baatz, the man, the myth, and the legend behind GMT’s mountain bike trails.

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