Into the night, JATD 2012

September 4th, 2012 by Paul Vidal

“When the wind blows, it blows your name. Today you were a hurricane. You blew from day into the night. Your memories filled the dim twilight.”

Johnny and Alex Trail Day 2012, Travis Peek Photo

Johnny and Alex Trail Day 2012, Travis Peek Photo

This hook ran through my mind all day as I went from place to place checking on the crews hard at work all over the Pendergrass-Murray Recreational Preserve. Not only were the words running through my head but I had a true sense that Johnny and Alex were watching down over us and that they were enjoying what they saw.

The normal JATD weather is hot enough to fry an egg on a Mccleod head, snakes numbering more than they had on that damn plane, bugs swarming thick enough to have floated the Titanic, jungles of poison ivy to thrash through; with all these heinous conditions making climbing not even an option even for the most committed gumby…. I guess the bushwhack gods got a visit and a stern talking to from Johnny this year and he told them we had enough and  had proven ourselves , so he thought we needed a break… The weather was as good as August in Kentucky can get, which had me worried everyone would back out and we would have to go to the crags to guilt them into moving some dirt (trust me, I’d guilt my granny into throwing a shovel if I had to).  I was absolutely amazed that the opposite happened. Once registration opened up at Lago Linda’s it was like the dirtbag flood gates were opened and the hippies were released like a spring trout stocking. The official number was around 180 folks, but even with me only being able to count to 19, I’m betting we hit over 200 smelly volunteers as others joined the work force throughout the day.

The amount of work that got done this year was off the hook and truly blew this hillbilly away. As an organization we have learned by failures, trail classes, trail god osmosis and of course through success on how to start repairing old screw ups and to develop new areas without creating future problems. It seems everyone is taking this to heart and allowing us to focus on opening new areas, instead of solely focusing on fixing the same problems year in and year out.

This year’s trail day completed some of the best and probably the most work done on a trail day. We were able to open up two new crags, Velo and Throwback crags. We were able to open up an old crag and its new routes, Getaway. We were able to complete the first mile loop of a five mile multi use trail system in flat holler. This trail has already been getting plenty of mountain bike and climber traffic and is pushing the limit of legal fun, well, and speaking from plenty of illegal fun experiences , its pushing those limits too….We will have updated crag and trail information posted soon for the new areas. We were also able to do some huge fixes to the Gallery, stairs and new trails at the Volunteer Wall, much needed reroute at Left Field, big improvements to the Drive By/Marley short cut and many other small projects all over the property.

As the work day drew to a close we all headed back for some much needed refreshments, rest and telling climbing lies to old and new friends alike. Everyone had came prepared with their rain gear , flippers and snorkels since every year when the 23 string band enters the pavilion it rains hard enough to sink the Ark. Not this year, the hippies and hillbillies danced well into the night with nary a drop of rain in sight.

As the last drink was finished, the last string plucked and the final embers of the fire burned out I looked around. Content, pride and utter bliss was on everyones face I saw. As my eyes drew to the clear skies I saw a couple stars blink and knew that was Johnny and Alex filling the dim twilight……

We would like to thank the sponsors that help keep us rolling year in and year out and make days like this possible

Access Fund Bluegrass Bouldering Red River Outdoors
Miguel’s Pizza Rockquest Climbing Gym Benchmark Outdoors Outfitters
J&H Outfitters Gordon Food Service REI
Clif Bar West Sixth Brewing Lago Linda’s Hideaway
Mtn Ranks Red River Rockhouse Gore-Tex
Elodie Saracco Photos Wes and Tania Allen Photography

And that’s not to mention the many, many behind the scene sponsors and folks.

Take care and enjoy the world around ya

Matt Tackett

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