This is not to say that humans have the ability to perfect nature. Instead, I’m reflecting on the trail and what it is. Grave Ridge was, for me, the trail that I held aloft during the mid-1990s as being the reason I went into the mountains to ride my bike: to test my ability to stay focused and balanced on a bike while riding on a trail that had no mercy. I had deep respect for Grave then, and still did before it was logged this past year.
The trail of the 90s didn’t exist in the later 2000s. The single track line was mostly gone, new lines laid down by ATVers and MTBers deciding to ride around the rock features.
In some ways, that’s how I feel. Michaux has always been a multi-use forest. I was up on Grave last weekend and saw, yes, destruction. I also saw views of the ridge to the east that weren’t as easy to see prior to the logging. Yep, I liked seeing the distant ridges as well, somehow making me feel like I was more in the mountains than on previous rides on Grave. While it was easy to roll the tires across the now wide open path, I knew that in a couple of years, it would all be grown back in and likely there will be a real nice narrow trail with some tech going across the ridge.
There are a few sections of Grave that still have the flavor of yesteryear. Indeed, I dabbed out and nearly took a spill on the one section, Grave still dishing out some ego-killer and my respect for Grave as an mtb trail still intact. I guess what I’m getting at is that despite the logging, I’m seeing this process with the glass half-full.
Nothing is permanent. I’m okay with that. There will always be the tales of Grave Ridge’s more infamous years that are in the storybooks. Still, in a few years, I think we’ll be talking about Grave in new ways, ones that will still be of respect and appreciation for what we do have on a Blue Ridge that shows off its natural beauty, despite that our human footprint is so deeply embedded on it right now.