JATD 2011 Wrap-Up

by Matt Tackett

06 September 2011
photo of Matt Tackett speaking to the crews

By this time of the year I tend to get pretty grouchy and kind of tired over sharing my back yard with tourists, climbers and hippies. Events like the Johnny and Alex Trail Day and the people that make it happen really help to break that edge off, as well as give me a little hope for humanity.

As normal the temps were more fitting for a day on the water, the bugs were thick enough to block out the sun, enough snakes moving around to make every Baptist in the country happy and the humidity in the air alone could cure Africa of its droughts. But there you were along with over 125 other folks sweating away and getting dirty for other folks to have areas to come play on. I'm sure somewhere Johnny and Alex were laughing and wishing they were there with you.

With getting old and injuries keeping me from playing, my focus has been less on route/crag development and has turned to proper trail development and repair. As climbers we tend to break every trail rule known and have to end up revisiting those trails each year. Over the last couple years we have been working on learning proper trail design and repair as well as teaching that to others in the community. That effort was very obvious at this years trail day. Each trail day a few of us usually end up going back out and "re-fixing" at least 75% of the trail work done on those days. This year I bet we have to revisit less than 10%. Since all percentages are made up on the spot, and even if these are off by 10%, the improvement is more than even Blake could argue about. Awesome!

photo of Peter McDreamy cutting some sh*t photo of more trail workin'

Simply amazing work was done at Chica and the Solar Collector area. The Sore Hill short cut trail and an enormous amount of work was done on the Flat Holler multiple use trail system. Everyone should be proud of their accomplishments and I can’t say thanks enough for doing the job right the first time, allowing me to go out looking for new areas and developing new trails instead of fixing old ones.

photo of the 23 string band

As the trail day finished up and everyone growing thirsty for adult beverages and amazing bluegrass music from the 23 String Band, our annual storm blew through and almost canceled the music out… until Bart Bledsoe came to the rescue and created an indoor music hall in an outdoor setting. As the band tore up the stage and the dirtbags danced all night long I sat back, content and replay the days events in my mind. As normal I leave this trail day happier and it really does touch my heart that so many people care about the area they play in and are willing to take the steps necessary to save it and develop it properly.

photo of Ann and Tina Bronaugh with Bram Bell

This is what Johnny envisioned the RRGCC and the PMRP being. Major props for making what he started continue to happen today and hopefully for many years to come.

Events of this size could not be pulled off without many people pulling more than their share of the weight. To all the organizers, trail leaders and assistants of the day (you know who you are), THANKS and You Suck!

All photos by the talented and generous Elodie Saracco.

We also could not pull this off without the help from our generous sponsors. Big shout outs to:

Take care of yourself, each other and the lands you use,
Matt Tackett