Kitzuma question-- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
    hot arse Florida
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    Kitzuma question-

    Can someone explain to me the driving directions to the Old Fort Picnic grounds at the end of the trail? I would like to be able to do shuttle runs from the bottom back to the trailhead. I'm not from NC, so the more detailed, the better.
    Also on a side note, does anyone do the Sugar Mountain chair lift rides? How are they and are they were the money?

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Slow Guy
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    stolen from www.wncmountaingoatepics.com

    From Asheville take I-40 East to Exit 66.
    At the top of the ramp, take a left and then an immediate right onto Old 70.
    Follow to a stop sign and take a left again onto a continuation of Old 70.
    Follow for about a mile and just before a gate across the pavement, take a left onto graveled Mill Creek Rd.
    Follow this curvy Rd to its end and turn right onto Paved Mill Creek Road.
    Follow this road for about 2 miles making sure to honk your horn as you pass under the one lane railroad overpasses.
    You will come to a stop sign; take a left then a immediate right into the Old Fort Picnic area.
    mmm.....dirt

  3. #3
    twinkie
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    Or a much easier way:

    From Asheville take I-40 east to exit 73 Old Fort exit (Hwy 70) You can only go one direction at the exit so follow 70 about 1/2 mile to the Andrews Geyser sign, turn left. The entrance to the park will be about 3 miles down on your right.

  4. #4
    Slow Guy
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    Quote Originally Posted by losjefes
    Or a much easier way:

    From Asheville take I-40 east to exit 73 Old Fort exit (Hwy 70) You can only go one direction at the exit so follow 70 about 1/2 mile to the Andrews Geyser sign, turn left. The entrance to the park will be about 3 miles down on your right.
    ...I thought he wanted the Scenic route.

    mmm.....dirt

  5. #5
    hot arse Florida
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    Thanks for the directions and quick response.
    Sugar Mountain, how would you all rate it and is it worth using a weekend day on it?
    I'll be there with a few friends for 5 days of riding time.

  6. #6
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    Not sure if this adds anything, but I'll throw it out there:

    Riding up the road on Kitsuma is very easy. It is all middle ring, paved, and no cars on a closed highway kinda ride. It is only about 5 miles of easy grade and takes less than an hour at a relaxed pace with a couple breaks if you want (including a very nice scenic overlook).

    I've never shuttled it, but I'd imagine that it would take at least an hour on each end, as you'd have to go up and back down, unload, etc...


    Either way, you still have the switchbacks up (above the top lot) which are pretty challenging. You would not avoid the difficult part of the uphill with a shuttle.

    I know and respect "different strokes for different folks", but unless you really just hate pedaling, then this would be easier to just ride.

    I do totally agree with parking at the bottom though. That way you end on a fun note, as the end of the downhill is at your car.

  7. #7
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    I was at Kitsuma a couple of weeks ago and thought to myself that the trail seemed to be abused. Now I suspect I know why. Has it been pegged as a shuttle run for downhillers? The trail is showing the first tell-tale signs of ruts and there are already some stutter bumps. Plus, there were two apparently renegade trail detours. In the past, some stunts were built, but they have been removed.

    The people doing this are going to get us all thrown off these trails. I am by no means a tree hugger, and I've skidded around a few switchbacks in my time, but Kitsuma is getting ridiculous.

    If you want to shuttles, I highly recommend the ski resorts. NC natives should stop giving directions to Kitsuma for awhile, in my opinion. (Sorry, Karma, not meant as a slam to you personnally, but we gotta protect our own)

    BTW, while screwing around on some unmarked roads and trails on the other side of the paved road, we came upon what I fear was a militia camp. Maybe it was a hunter's camp, but it looked a little too serious. VERY SCARY.

  8. #8
    Do It Yourself
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    Quote Originally Posted by litespeedchick
    If you want to shuttles, I highly recommend the ski resorts. NC natives should stop giving directions to Kitsuma for awhile, in my opinion.
    Word. Litespeed killed this trail by naming a frame after it. A $2k freeride hardtail frame, what a stupid idea that was. Anyway between the renegade trailbuilding, over use/errosion and running over little children hiking, it's only a matter of time before it's shut down to bikes.

  9. #9
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    You guys are right on target. I rode Kitsuma last night with the group from Epic Cycles in Black Mountain. The trail is being abused and if we don't get some maintenance done quickly, the NFS will close it to bikes. I am arguing that point locally, but a lot of the riders like it rough and their idea of maintenance is building stunt ramps.

    If any other members of the Blue Ridge Bicycle Club are monitoring this forum, it is time to add Kitsuma back to the maintenance schedule.
    Watch out for that tree!

  10. #10
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    Kitsuma is a fascinating example of trail use. I started riding this trail about 7 years ago. At that time, it was a narrow singletrack the whole way, requiring techinical skills because of the speed and tightness of the trail. Now, it's 2 feet wide all the way down for the most part, the first steep downhill is "stuttered", there's some pretty deep wash-outs, etc. But, it's still a riot to ride. Furthermore, prior to EXTENSIVE trail work done by BioWheels, Epic (two LBS's) , and BRBC actually working together, this trail had gotten "sloppy" 2-3 years ago. The switchbacks were virtually unrideable and each rain made them more so. Now, despite the impact from use, the trail is one that you count on being dry w/in 24 hours of rain because it's been built to drain so well. A final point- I think another BIG factor that increased it's use was the inclusion of Kitsuma in the Falcon Press guide book by Timm Muth (I can't remember it's name)- Kitsuma wasn't in any guide books before that. This book also published, for about the first time, specific loops within Pisgah that you can see increased impact on, including trails in Bent Creek that are not part of the "official" trail network and that increased use may have contributed in at least a small part to the previously mentioned-on-this-thread ticketing at Bent Creek and other trail use controversies at Bent Creek- I wonder if the USFS knows some of the "unofficial" trails are in a nationally published book? Please note this is not meant to be a tirade about keeping trails "secret" or about increased use- it's just an observation of how trail use and impact change and grow over time. Peace.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by litespeedchick
    I was at Kitsuma a couple of weeks ago and thought to myself that the trail seemed to be abused. Now I suspect I know why. Has it been pegged as a shuttle run for downhillers? The trail is showing the first tell-tale signs of ruts and there are already some stutter bumps. Plus, there were two apparently renegade trail detours. In the past, some stunts were built, but they have been removed.

    The people doing this are going to get us all thrown off these trails. I am by no means a tree hugger, and I've skidded around a few switchbacks in my time, but Kitsuma is getting ridiculous.

    If you want to shuttles, I highly recommend the ski resorts. NC natives should stop giving directions to Kitsuma for awhile, in my opinion. (Sorry, Karma, not meant as a slam to you personnally, but we )

    BTW, while screwing around on some unmarked roads and trails on the other side of the paved road, we came upon what I fear was a militia camp. Maybe it was a hunter's camp, but it looked a little too serious. VERY SCARY.
    Not all shuttlers are Dainese clad demon spawn going 45+ on their Karpiels! Some people may just have limited time and prefer not to spend it doing a road ride if possible. Climbing a trail is one thing, but some people may find a 45 minute road climb quite monotonous - to each his own.

    The "gotta protect our own" metality is probably more worrisome to me than the downhillers. I'd feel pretty shitty telling someone they don't belong on some the local trails I've helped maintain in my area just because they weren't "locals" or didn't help. I help out with our local trails so everyone can enjoy them and hopefully others will do the same so I can enjoy different trails around the country as well.

    I've been riding in WNC for the last 6 summers and I hardly see a soul on the trails when I'm out there (Tsali excluded). Maybe we're just lucky in our timing? We did see 6 or 7 people at DuPont last year.

  12. #12
    Do It Yourself
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    Quote Originally Posted by wfl3
    Some people may just have limited time and prefer not to spend it doing a road ride if possible.
    In this particular case, the shuttle setting to ride ratio isn't very good. It takes longer to set the shuttle than to ride back up the hill. Personally, I would rather take a little road ride than drive up and over the continental divide three times.

    It only takes one demon spawn to mess it up for everyone. Unfortunately you can't separate the morons from other cool mtbers over the internet. I don't mind showing people the trails in person but just posting up shuttle rides with detailed directions is downright stupid.

  13. #13
    Do It Yourself
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    I'm really surprised to see that Timm doesn't recommend starting at the picnic tables and riding up Kitzuma and down old 70 back to the car. That's about how some of his other routes go.

  14. #14
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    This road ride is worth climbing

    The ride back up the gated old highway 70 is worth the climb. It is more trail than road and the scenery is spectacular. The view of the ridgeline that the Kitsuma trail follows and the forest valley is super. The area wildlife uses this old road and you have a good chance of seeing a black bear or deer. As a side note, I don't recommend riding up this road alone. One section of the road follows the train tracks with a view of 2 railroad tunnels. I used to shuttle this trail, but now the ride back up the eastern slope of the Blue Ridge is my favorite part of the loop.
    Watch out for that tree!

  15. #15
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    Yeah, I enjoy that part too. I love to see the tunnels and was lucky enought to see a train come out of one tunnel and into the next. (the horn clued me into hurrying to a good vantage point) I'm not sure why I thought that was so cool, but I did. My husband does not care for the road and so rides out and back.

    Why do you say don't ride it alone?

  16. #16
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    Old Bear Hunter Joke

    Two bear hunters have only wounded a bear, they are out of bullets and the bear is chasing them. One hunter stops, takes off his boots and puts on running shoes. The other hunter says, "What do you think you're doing? You can't out run that bear!" The first hunter replies, "Yea, but all I really have to do is out run you." You need someone riding with you to out run in case a bear chases you.

    But seriously, my neighbor surprised a bear riding up old 70 by himself Tuesday night. He got within 5 yards of the bear before the bear knew he was there. It scared the bear and the bear ran off into the woods. He didn't see the bear until it moved because he was looking at the view. This time of year he could have surprised a mama bear and been caught between her and the cubs. If you are riding with someone, usually there is more talking and thus enough noise to let the bears know to clear the way.
    Last edited by AppMTB; 06-04-2004 at 05:25 AM.
    Watch out for that tree!

  17. #17
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    My personal (intellectual, not reality-based) opinion about bear encounters:

    If I get eaten by a bear, it's just nature letting me know she's pissed off and is letting a predator get some back. So, I don't worry about it...

    Of course, that's what I think...it's not what I'd be feeling as I soiled my tights while a bear's giving chase...

    Plus, if I'm going to be riding down Kitsuma in today's conditions and try to ride some of those stunts, I'm at much greater risk of breaking my neck when either my skills or my frame (a Truth) fails, not from that predator...

    Just a few thoughts, Peace

  18. #18
    I love Pisgah
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    Thats not true with Black Bears, regarding the young. The mother will most often run away. Only Brown(Grizz)are that way. Sorta a long lasting urban legend that sounds good. Before getting back into riding, I was backpacking 45+ weekends per year..for years and years(stopped counting at 299 trips). Have had multi solo bear incounters. Some with cubs. Not ONE time did the adult not run away. A few were some big boys. I've been 1' from an adult making a run for my gear/tent in N Ga...at night..alone..in January..and he veared off and kept on running. A little too close even for my taste tho. He waited until I walked 10yrds from my tent to pee. Then he came down a nearby bank..jumped a river..and we meet at my tent door(I was running back to my tent to fight whatever was coming down the hill at me..I guess LOL!).

    Fear not. The ONLY 2 things I fear in the SE mtns is what I can't reason with...lightening and Yellow Jackets. Yes indeedy.

  19. #19
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    Wow!

    Good information. It eases my worries about bears. Nothing makes you feel more like a part of nature than being eaten by a large predator. You are right, my best chance of dying or being serious injured while riding is a biking accident.

    You guys are tough! Fighting bears off at your tent door, and litespeedchick, your husband rides back up Kitsuma from the picnic grounds?! I have never seen anyone try either of these feats. Now I am going to have to try one of them. I think I'll start with riding up Kitsuma. If I can get in good enough shape to haul my butt up that slope, then I'll be ready for the bears.

    In an effort to not be miss-understood, I do not doubt any of these postings and I am sincerely impressed.
    Watch out for that tree!

  20. #20
    I love Pisgah
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    Make no mistake about it, altho I know a friend that chased away a bear from a campsite with a stick(I do not suggest this technique)once, the ONLY reason I was running back to my tent door with such zest, was because that trip I carried a firearm(I was alone and it was winter redneck hunting season all around me..and yes I have a permit), and it was just inside the door. Turns out i'd have never made it to it. All I remember was my headlamp in a bigass bears face as we met at the door. He pushed off to his 10 oclock in mid stride and kept right on running, as surely my headlamp in his face startled him. What they do is, since many hang/store thier packs outside the tent(for sleeping room inside)..they'll do a run thru...grab a pack if possible..run a couple hundred yards in "some" direction..rip it open for food hopefully. You usually never see the pack again. I keep everything in the tent if I'm not hanging it in the 1st place.

  21. #21
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    UPDATE on recent trail conditions.

    Went out there tonight, it has been a month or so since I have been out there. Just in one month, the trail has gotten, much, much worse. Tons of places where people have cut through the switchbacks, (looks like new freeride routes?) and the entire trail is covered with stutter bumps, almost hard to get any real speed. I personally love downhilling, and understand that people like some of it ( I do as well). HOWEVER, the trail looks so bad at this point I am pretty sure the trail will get CLOSED REAL SOON If someone, or some group doesn't get out there and straighten it up. If anyone here hears about a group trail maintenance opportunity, please let me know! Lets save Kitzuma!

  22. #22
    mtbr member
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    Kitsuma Maintenance

    Our bike team (BioWheels) is already commited to Bent Creek on third Sundays and that area needs all the attention we can get it and more. Could somebody from Epic and/or the Hick Hucksters coordinate with the Blue Ridge Bicycle Club to address this need? It is important to work with BRBC as they have the permit to do trailwork with the USFS... any work done without their affiliation is technically illegal. I, and many other team members, would be glad to come out for a work day or two, but cannot committ to the level of work and coordination that really addressing these needs would take... if I don't see any replies to this post, I'll e-mail those two groups to ask them to look at this string..Peace.

  23. #23
    Do It Yourself
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    Man! If Kitzuma is bad now, it's going to be total shyte after a couple hundred people run up and down it for the Off Road Assualt race in a couple weeks.
    Long Live Long Rides

  24. #24
    Jackbooted Elitist Hipstr
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    Payback Time

    How about we ask the organizer of the Assault to give riders a discount if they complete a trailwork day? $60 is steep anyway. Anybody know him/them?

  25. #25
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    I highly doubt they'll give a discount, but it is an awesome idea to try to organize maintenance from that event. Todd Branham, I think, is his name- there's contact info on the pamphlet for the off-road assault. I'm certain he'd be willing to set-up sign up for maintenance, and then those of us who are intereseted could move from there. He might even be able to permit for the maintenance himself as part of his use permit for the race- but I think coordination would still have to happen with the BRBC. That's a great idea, though, no matter what...Peace

  26. #26
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    Good job! Glad to see there is some other interest...

    Please post any opportunity to help at Kitzuma. Would love to help out. Unfortunately, my life and time restrains prevent me from spearheading it myself. Honestly, I know that bent creek is number one on getting attention.. I ride there all the time also. But man, Kitzuma right now is like all the bad places at bent creek all combined into one 10 mile stretch! ( well, I might be exagerating just a bit, but its pretty bad! ) Look forward to the info...

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