Posts Tagged ‘jatd’

Into the night, JATD 2012

Tuesday, September 4th, 2012

“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

JATD, a recap

Monday, August 30th, 2010

Johnny and Alex Trail Day, as seen by our fearless trail day leader, Matt Tackett:

Saturday morning started off as a typical summer day in Kentucky. Hot enough to scorch the devil, humid enough for altitude training, bugs thick enough to float a truck and more snakes laying around than fibers on a plush carpet.

No one in their right mind would be outside on a day like that. Especially not out bushwhacking to see what the next holler holds, hauling a drill kit through rhodo thickets so dense you can’t see the other side, or worse yet be out working for free for others enjoyment…

Luckily for all of us, Johnny did those things every chance he could get.

I’m not sure if it’s a spreadable disease from touching too much Corbin sandstone, or maybe it’s a side effect from too many Ale-8′s, but Johnny and Alex sure would have been proud to see a 120 people sharing the same affliction showing up with tools and water in hand and ready to suffer for something bigger than they are.

As volunteers received their trail assignments and raced out all over the PMRP it reminded me of ants rebuilding their hill after being disturbed. When everyone picks up a stone it makes the wall easier to build. So as I swat another horse fly to the ground and wash the stinging nettle sting off my arms, I’m laughing out loud and thinking to myself that this is what Johnny wanted the PMRP and the RRGCC to be.

Volunteers braved the elements and didn’t stop until projects were completed. Chica Bonita, Curbside, Bob Marley, Shire, Gallery, Left Field, Play Ground, Volunteer Wall, Courtesy, Rival, Sore Heel short cut trail and the new mountain bike trails all saw significant improvements. Work was made easier by the amazing wraps provided my Miguel’s and crew as well as drinks from GFS and Red River Outdoors.

You would think that once the work whistle was blown that folks would be lining up to leave the property, to be the first to make the slip and slide run, be the hero that tapped the kegs or at least be first in line for dinner provided by True North Outfitters. But this strange affliction that we share drove a few crews insane and they literally had to be pushed down the hill with tools in hand and blindfolded to prevent further work.

As everyone gathered back to Lago Linda’s to wash, feed and drink the sore muscles away a storm like no other rolled in, only adding fuel to the party that was to come. By the time the 23 String Band took the stage the crowd had shaken the sore muscles away and gotten warmed up for a full night of dancing by an impromptu one-arm pull-up adult beverage chugging contest… that in all reality should become an Olympic event. The 23 String Band tore it up as always and played well into the night keeping everyone on their feet and truly enjoying this thing we call life.

Completely exhausted and soaked in rain and sweat I look around at all the smiling faces of friends and family and an overwhelming sense of belonging and calm takes over… and we all dance again.

Thanks to everyone that made this years Johnny and Alex Trail Day the best one yet. Looking forward to suffering in the woods, dancing till I can’t move and making Johnny and Alex proud again this time next year.

Matt Tackett

Climbers That Care

Wednesday, July 7th, 2010

Strive to be, and make others, happy at this summer's Climbers That Care event

It’s easy to put the blinders on from time to time, especially as you’re thinking about the crux moves of your latest proj. But when you take a second to stop for the stray dog that runs across the road in front of you and take a look around at the homes and lives surrounding you, you’ll see that there are plenty of ways you can help the communities that you call home for the weekends in the RRG.

The RRG area, touching Powell, Wolfe, Lee, and Menifee counties, is home to some of the best people you’ve probably never met. But the economic truth of the matter means they need a hand from time to time. And with school about to get back in gear, it’s that time again.

Update: If you can’t make it to Red River Outdoors or to JATD, stop by Phillip Gall’s Outdoors in Lexington (mapped location) and let the employee on duty know it’s for Kate LaBoone. Thanks PG’s!

See how you can help by reading on..

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Updated: RRG Geologic Area Re-Opens after bear attack

Friday, July 2nd, 2010

The RRG is open again!

Just in time for the weekend, that troublesome bear has moved on past the gorge and the kind folks at the USFS have issued an order to reopen the area.

But please do pack your food properly. Access to food is the primary reason bears get interested in people in the first place. When Yogi can venture into any ol’ spot and snag a picnic basket, it makes that spot pretty appealing and almost always leads to uncomfortable encounters.

So, for the Fourth, we want you to go have fun, roll around in the mud, catch some butterflies, and otherwise be happy and jolly! If you get bored, here are a few things that would help out:

Read on past the break for the full USFS press release.

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Johnny & Alex Trail Day 2010

Thursday, June 17th, 2010

Come one, come all to the 6th annual Johnny & Alex Trail Day, August 14th, 2010.  Like in years past we will be depending on the Red River Gorge climbing community to come out and take care of the land you own, the Pendergrass-Murray Recreational Preserve (PMRP), in honor of two great men of the Red, John Bronaugh and Alex Yeakley.  We will be building and maintaining trails and, after a hard day’s work, have a great party with music, food, and “beverages” at Lago Linda Hideaway.  More details will come so be sure to stay tuned.  You can also follow us on Facebook!

Thanks for your interest in JATD! We’ve already placed our orders for lunch and dinner and such.. meaning that if you’re planning on coming, we probably weren’t. And that’s fine.. just make sure to bring some lunch, dinner, snacks, beverages.. anything that will keep you in good spirits and working hard on the land you own ;)

Roadside Trail Day

Monday, April 5th, 2010

Roadside Crag is one of the Red River Gorge’s most popular crags. Minutes from the parking off a major roadway and hosting wide range of climbs, Roadside attracts dozens of climbers of all abilities every weekend.  Roadside is located on the Graining Fork Nature Preserve, land that is owned by climber-friendly Grants Stevens and Jon Haight.  Over the years, though, Roadside’s popularity has contributed to increased wear and tear on the approach trail, especially near the steep trail-head. The increased foot traffic led to obvious problems with drainage and erosion.

On Saturday, April 3, 2010 Mike Driskell of Driskell Home Repair in Louisville organized a second trail day at Roadside Crag to try to address those problems. Thirteen people came to put the sweat of their brow into helping remove litter, trim tree branches, widen the trail-head, and improve drainage along the beginning of the trail.  They refueled with some Miguel’s for lunch, provided by Driskell Home Repair, and stuffed their packs with some RRGCC schwag.  After working on the trail-head, Driskell and company moved to the area near Roadside Attraction, a classic and popular trad climb, where the trail went straight up a series of rock steps.  The poor drainage and steep incline led to severe erosion in this area.  Now, after plenty of volunteer effort, the trail now accesses this area via a switchback that should mitigate the impacts near Roadside Attraction.

Mike hopes to return complete the new section of the trail on the next Roadside Trail Day, possibly in the spring of 2011.  Additional projects also include working to stabilize the erosion around the base of the slab routes to the far-right of the cliff line.

Thank you to the volunteers that helped: John Grider, Malcolm Akindana, Randy Tebbs, Carrie Kirkpatrick, Dave Jasperson, JR Goodwin, Mark Rohr, Robert Keith Todd, Bryan Spencer, Josephine Neff, Derrick Powell, and Mike Driskell.

If you were not able to participate in this event, please mark your calendar for Johnny & Alex Trail Day (check out last year’s JATD), which will be held on August 14th, and stay tuned for more! Or, if you want to throw yourself at a project all your own, tell us about it and we’ll support you!

JATD 2009 Recap

Thursday, August 6th, 2009
Patry like it's JATD 2009. Photo by Elodie Saracco

Celebrating one of the largest Adopt-A-Crags this year. Photo by Elodie Saracco

Last Saturday the Red River Gorge Climbers’ Coalition hosted their most successful trail day event in their 13 year history. Over 90 people came together to lend their skills and talent to developing new trails, and rehabbing existing pathways on the Pendergrass-Murray Recreational Preserve. Additionaly, last Saturday’s trail day most certainly ranks as one of the largest Access Fund sponsored Adopt-A-Crag events in 2009!

Here is a synopsis of what was accomplished:

At Sore Heel:

  • New steps built going to Curbside
  • New trails installed on the left side of Curbside
  • Completed the exit trail going towards curbside
  • New steps built going to Optical Rectitus
  • Bike trail maintenance and small addition added
  • Foot bridge on the far right of the Gallery
  • Gallery side and base maintenance
  • Rerouting of trail and steps added in the large drainage ditch
  • Trail maintenance in a variety of other locations at Sore Heel

At Crossroads:

  • Sign installed
  • Wooden steps installed on the side-trail at the Crossroads
  • Crossroads side-trail improved

At Darkside:

  • Fallen trees were removed
  • Steps cut into the trail

At Drive-By/Bob Marley:

  • Steps installed at the start of the Bob Marley trail
  • New trail completed between Drive By and Bob Marley Crags
Gather supplies in Coal Bank Hollow. Photo by Elodie Saracco

Gather supplies in Coal Bank Hollow. Photo by Elodie Saracco

In other exciting news, for the first time ever the Johnny and Alex Trail Day raised money for the coalition, both in private donations and sales at the event. These funds and donations of goods and services from our generous sponsors financed that great party.

To those that volunteered Saturday and those that give in so many other ways, thank you!



View Johnny and Alex Trail Day 2009 in a larger map