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  1. #1
    drunken pirate
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    Caution on Spencer Branch

    The end of the trail is gone.

    I rode it Monday night and at the end by the reservoir I took the left fork to the road, not the right that goes past the log bridge to Big Creek, and right as I was ready to launch (lol) down the wooden steps at the end the trail disappeared. Gone. The steps have been torn out and rhodo and trees and have been cut to fill it in. No warning at all, one second you are on the trail and then ten feet before the road, and ten feet above, it just stops. If you aren't expecting it and and are going fast it is very sketchy. I couldn't tell if it is being rerouted or closed completely. Take the right instead
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  2. #2
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    The same job order that prescribed work for Squirrel included work on Fletcher Creek. The section of trail you are talking about is actually Fletcher, I think. Get ready for machine work on Fletcher (sections of which need some work and, believe it or not, will be the second time machines have worked on Flecther- the first was about 11-12years ago and was the first time, to my knowledge, machines did trailwork in Pisgah).

  3. #3
    drunken pirate
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Brown
    The same job order that prescribed work for Squirrel included work on Fletcher Creek. The section of trail you are talking about is actually Fletcher, I think. Get ready for machine work on Fletcher (sections of which need some work and, believe it or not, will be the second time machines have worked on Flecther- the first was about 11-12years ago and was the first time, to my knowledge, machines did trailwork in Pisgah).
    No, this was Spencer Branch. Clearly signed Spencer and blazed yellow (double blazes indicating left branch I was on is the actual trail). It is clearly official work of some sort but looks badly timed, or something. They also removed the Spencer Gap sign from just off of 5000 and replaced it with a FR5006 sign so it looks like they have changed it to look like the new map. I also haven't seen any sign of the trail contractor in the area yet...
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  4. #4
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    That section of Spencer branch (left side coming down the trail) has been lightly used for sometime. Looks like the majority of the traffic would come down by the bridge. A few weekends ago I was off the bike, grabbing a snack by the lake, and walked what is/was the trail head, with trail sign, for Spencer Branch. It was very evident there had been very little traffic on that section. Guessing by how eroded and nasty that section was folks are again looking for the easy way which is to stay right and exit/enter by the bridge.

  5. #5
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    As a great example of the "light use" that snot refers to, I think I have only been on that section of trail once since 1999 when I got it in my head to ride every foot of bike legal trail on the Pisgah map (suceeded, btw- also the last time I was on Vineyard and a few other short spur trails), and that one time was going up. I almost always take the "double hump" route down Fletcher because I like that descent so much to the reservoir road and then back track to the reservoir if I'm heading that way.
    A very long way of explaining my confusion got it now driftwood...and I have no idea why it was closed.

  6. #6
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    Thanks Clay, we almost always ride that route from BC at night and I would hate to fly up on that dropoff in the dark.

  7. #7
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    Well, the exit to the gravel is not pretty but it is rideable.

    The upper steeper sections of Spencer Branch from Trace are in desperate need of some tread work. Granted, it is pretty much a fall line trail but I have never seen the erosion so bad. Literally multiple hundred yard sections where water is running straight down the trail. Is this a CMC mantained trail?

  8. #8
    drunken pirate
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    Quote Originally Posted by gtdrew
    Well, the exit to the gravel is not pretty but it is rideable.

    The upper steeper sections of Spencer Branch from Trace are in desperate need of some tread work. Granted, it is pretty much a fall line trail but I have never seen the erosion so bad. Literally multiple hundred yard sections where water is running straight down the trail. Is this a CMC mantained trail?
    Not much tread on that stretch of trail, just a bunch of loose rocks. I have no clue who maintains it and personally like it how it is.
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  9. #9
    dead weight
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    I like it sketchy.
    A bunch of my ride pics: http://uberfarm.com/mnf

  10. #10
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    Sketchy is good. I agree. But that trail dumps tons of sediment in the reservoir. It is not sustainable and will become the next lower trace. Ridden that recently?

    I never want to see the character of the trail changed but it needs some work to keep the water from running down the trail.

  11. #11
    drunken pirate
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    Quote Originally Posted by gtdrew
    Sketchy is good. I agree. But that trail dumps tons of sediment in the reservoir. It is not sustainable and will become the next lower trace. Ridden that recently?

    I never want to see the character of the trail changed but it needs some work to keep the water from running down the trail.
    Define sustainable. Nothing lasts . And how do you figure the stretch of Spencer Branch between Trace Ridge and FR5097 is dumping a 'ton' of sediment into the Hendersonville Reservoir? It is dumping sediment into Spencer Branch, almost two full miles above the reservoir, some of which might be making it's way down to Fletcher Creek which then might reach the reservoir.

    Yes, I have ridden it recently. Got caught in a storm not too long ago up there and it looked like a little muddy river. But that was absolutely nothing compared to the amount of sediment dumping into the North Fork of the Mills River off of FR412 as well as North Mills River trail. Most of the sediment entering the reservoir would be coming from Big Creek which is directly above the reservoir, not Fletcher Creek. Go out there in a storm sometime and look what comes down off FR142 into the river .

    And yes, I agree that trail needs work. Most in the district do. I'd say that stretch of Spencer is far from the critical point.

    Loose and sketchy and too much fun

    The CMC has shifted their attention to some critical sections of the AT for awhile from what I have heard. I have no clue if this is one of their trails and if I had to guess would say it is not.... Is there any volunteer group in the area who maintains and builds more trails than the CMC?
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  12. #12
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    No way...

    Driftwood would never ride in the rain, so don't believe him. His frame fills with water and it slows him down. The only time he drains his bottom bracket is after the squirrel/bradley route...


  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by driftwood
    Define sustainable. Nothing lasts . And how do you figure the stretch of Spencer Branch between Trace Ridge and FR5097 is dumping a 'ton' of sediment into the Hendersonville Reservoir? It is dumping sediment into Spencer Branch, almost two full miles above the reservoir, some of which might be making it's way down to Fletcher Creek which then might reach the reservoir.
    I don't have the knowledge to determine the amount of sediment that ends up in the reservoir and doubt that it is even possible to make that determination. I do know that the trail has changed a lot in the past 5 years and all that dirt is going somewhere. It is feasible to think that a large portion of the small particulate scoured from the tread is staying suspended in Spencer Branch for its 10 minute journey into the Hendersonville Reservoir. The dredging operation was an expensive, high profile project and the Forest Service will take drastic action to mitigate any future erosion issues in the drainage above it.
    Yes, I have ridden it recently. Got caught in a storm not too long ago up there and it looked like a little muddy river. But that was absolutely nothing compared to the amount of sediment dumping into the North Fork of the Mills River off of FR412 as well as North Mills River trail. Most of the sediment entering the reservoir would be coming from Big Creek which is directly above the reservoir, not Fletcher Creek. Go out there in a storm sometime and look what comes down off FR142 into the river

    And yes, I agree that trail needs work. Most in the district do. I'd say that stretch of Spencer is far from the critical point.

    Loose and sketchy and too much fun
    I don't know which rd is FR142 but wouldn't that be downstream of the reservoir? Agreed this is FAR from an isolated problem. North Mills River in a flash flood event is a torrent of mud.

    Spencer/Fletcher flow directly into the reservoir. Granted it is a smaller tributary than Big Creek but it still has the capability to carry a bunch of sediment.

    Was 'Squirrel Gap' and 'Black Mountain' an area you would consider 'critical'? The Forest Service did. The contractor has yet to complete the machine work on Squirrel, but it is coming.


    The CMC has shifted their attention to some critical sections of the AT for awhile from what I have heard. I have no clue if this is one of their trails and if I had to guess would say it is not.... Is there any volunteer group in the area who maintains and builds more trails than the CMC?
    The CMC is huge and does an unfathomable amount of trail work. I would bet this is their trail. While they clear a ton of trails I have not seen them do much maintenance tread work in the district.

    Like I said before, I don't want to see the character of this trail change and with a little preventative work it does not have to. I remember when those scoured rock sections actually had soil on them and they were stair steppy gnarly goodness.

  14. #14
    drunken pirate
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    Quote Originally Posted by gtdrew
    I don't have the knowledge to determine the amount of sediment that ends up in the reservoir and doubt that it is even possible to make that determination. I do know that the trail has changed a lot in the past 5 years and all that dirt is going somewhere. It is feasible to think that a large portion of the small particulate scoured from the tread is staying suspended in Spencer Branch for its 10 minute journey into the Hendersonville Reservoir. The dredging operation was an expensive, high profile project and the Forest Service will take drastic action to mitigate any future erosion issues in the drainage above it.


    I don't know which rd is FR142 but wouldn't that be downstream of the reservoir? Agreed this is FAR from an isolated problem. North Mills River in a flash flood event is a torrent of mud.

    Spencer/Fletcher flow directly into the reservoir. Granted it is a smaller tributary than Big Creek but it still has the capability to carry a bunch of sediment.

    Was 'Squirrel Gap' and 'Black Mountain' an area you would consider 'critical'? The Forest Service did. The contractor has yet to complete the machine work on Squirrel, but it is coming.




    The CMC is huge and does an unfathomable amount of trail work. I would bet this is their trail. While they clear a ton of trails I have not seen them do much maintenance tread work in the district.

    Like I said before, I don't want to see the character of this trail change and with a little preventative work it does not have to. I remember when those scoured rock sections actually had soil on them and they were stair steppy gnarly goodness.
    We can go back and forth about this forever. Sustainable is a tricky word. If we are looking to make all the trails in the district sustainable according to IMBA standards it isn't going to happen any time fast if ever at all.

    You are right the dredging was a huge operation and it would lead me to think that if Spencer Branch was really so bad that it was filling the reservoir with sediment the FS and the city of Hendersonville would be doing something about it on their own, not waiting for a volunteer group to fix it for them.

    Yes, 142 is below the reservoir. I was just trying to make the point that if sediment into our rivers is the problem then we should perhaps look at fixing the roads as well as the trails. A month or two ago I encountered suits with Trout Unlimited and the CMLC in the very area looking at the roads and trails. Now that the Big Creek Lodge is in their hands I'm guessing they want more of a say as to what happens upstream from them.

    No, Squirrel was not critical and the FS did not say that it was. Randy Burgess did say in BRO that the reason those trails were picked for work is because they were ready - the environmental and archaeological assessments were already done so the trails could be worked on. Perhaps they are waiting on the assessments for Spencer - I saw an arrowhead up there one day so maybe the trail can't be moved

    I've seen the CMC do tread work. If cutting new trail isn't tread work then I don't know what is. Mountain bikers like to say that all the other volunteer groups only clear dead fall and that is quite simply not the case. Just because they aren't trying to make the trails conform to IMBA standards doesn't mean they aren't doing anything. We should try to start working with other groups instead of b*tching about them.

    Incidentally PAS has finally started working on their trails in the district again for the first time in over a year. We have a lot of work to do on the trails we have been assigned but once we get caught up maybe we can try and do some work on Spencer. I think I'll go ride Vineyard right now and check out what we did two weeks ago
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