On the trail again
Follow rules to avoid damaging
By GREG STAHL
Express Staff Writer
With warm spring temperatures
melting a light winter snowpack, the Wood River Valleyís trails are
opening three to four weeks earlier than in most years.
"Itís going to be a long, hot
summer the way things are shaping up," said Ketchum District Ranger Kurt
But itís also going to be a longer
hiking and biking season than most.
"Things are drying out good fairly
quickly," Nelson said. "Weíre trying to open things as quick as we can.
By this time next week, we should have a lot of our normal trails open."
Wednesday afternoon, Ketchum
resident Brad Wood headed out for his first ride of the season. As he
grunted over Three Hills, which connects Adamís Gulch with Hulen
Meadows, he said it was painful but good to be back on his bike.
Every Thursday afternoon, the
Ketchum Ranger District revises the list of trails that are dry enough
for hiking or biking. The list is sent to area bike shops, which post
the open trails on Fridays. It has grown in recent weeks, with Corral
Creek, Laneís Trail and Three Hills open. More are following in short
Although many trails are dry,
trail maintenance has not yet begun. In places, trees have fallen across
trails. Nelson said people should step over or under the trees rather
than ride or hike around them. The same advice applies to snow or mud
patches, he said.
"We have spots where people canít
or wonít ride through a deep muddy spot and they create a spaghetti of
trails. We end up with multiple trails crossing meadows."
Mark Deffe, co-owner of Sun Summit
Ski and Cycle in Ketchum, agreed that people should walk through snow
"Donít braid the trail or mountain
bikers will get a bad rap," he warned.
Another outcome of riding wet or
snowy trails is erosion.
"It creates a track for water to
run down and increases the level of maintenance to get the trail in good
riding condition," Nelson said. "If itís near a creek, it puts sediment
in the creek, and we want to avoid that."
Though the warm, dry weather could
be indicative of the ongoing drought that is tightening its grip on the
West, it is still nice to get out in the woods a month earlier than
usual, Deffe said.
"This is a very early season," he
said. "The riding, actually, itís pretty phenomenal. Usually, youíre
down in Hailey this time of year, so having trails open up north this
time of year is pretty unusual."