The Biby Wilderness Trail

Have you ever wondered what it must’ve been like back in the 1930s, when the Appalachian Trail was created?

Diane Really Does Enjoy Grading New Trail!

Work on the Tuscarora evokes that effort, allowing you to transcend time and share a common experience. We’re constructing an access trail to the Tuscarora Trail north of The Pinnacle and south of Gore, VA in the Shawneeland Resort development.

About The Biby

Richard Biby, a PATC member and business executive, provided the Club his former property atop the ridge in Shawneeland Resort, about twelve miles west of Winchester, VA and three miles north of The Pinnacle mountain in 2004. In 2004, shortly after it was transferred to PATC, our trail crew—the Acme Treadway Company—began work on a public access trail from the property down (way down!) to the Tuscarora Trail.

Earlier, Mr. Biby, during his service to the community as leader of the Shawneeland Home Owners’ Association, had worked with PATC and fellow land owners to arrange the donation of easements that allowed the Club to bring the Tuscarora Trail (then known as The Big Blue Trail) north from The Pinnacle toward the town of Gore, VA.

Challenges

The Biby is a challenge to build. Although the ridge slopes down on an average grade of 22% to the North-South route of the Tuscarora Trail, the slope at the trailhead is less than 4% on average; the grade drops steeply immediately below. Further, the soil in this area is mainly duff in successive thickets of mountain laurel. Altogether, this does not lend itself to traditional full- or half-bench sidehill tread construction. Yet, if we just let it be, after clearing the brush and limbs so that the route may be hiked, the tramp of many boots would cause the duff to compact, resulting in a long trough down which rain water will spill as if in a sluice.

Although the ridge slopes down on an average grade of 22% to the North – South route of the Tuscarora Trail, the slope of the area where PATC will establish a public parking area for the trail is less than 4% on average; the slope drops steeply immediately below.

Further, the soil in this top-most area is mainly duff in successive groves of mountain laurel. Altogether, this does not lend itself to traditional full- or half-bench sidehill tread construction. Yet, if we just let it be, after clearing the brush and limbs so that the route may be hiked, the tramp of many boots would cause the duff to compact, resulting in a long trough down which rain water will spill as if in a sluice.

The result is that we have had to excavate mineral soil (clay) from the area that will become the parking area and backfill the tread with it, using wheelbarrows, muscles, and sinews.

Wheelbarrows were as necessary as McLeods on this project
We had to borrow a lot of clay for the tread
And we removed a lot of rock, too
Chris looks down into the first borrow pit
Diane had never heard of a McLeod before joining us
Great work done carefully in close quarters
Another Saturday - Another borrow pit
Another day - More rocks
And still more rocks
Chris celebrates the move of a rock from one place to another
We often had to pave the route with rock and cover it
Kathy and the crew are happy this day is over
Paved treadway - MacAdam style
Chris set this memorial upright
The steps hide a deceptive grade
Backfilled treadway
The original backfill near the top of the trail

What’s In This for Us?

There’s the romance of the Tuscarora Trail. This trail is not a federal or a state project. It’s the brainchild of PATC members of PATC and the Keystone Trails Association. It exists, or co-exists, with private landholdings by virtue of the skills and integrity of those who negotiate the necessary right–of–way easements and by those who build and maintain it.

Was It Fun?

Well, The Biby—and the Acme Treadway Company—provided ample opportunity for that, too. Don’t believe it? Well, it’s true. For instance:

  • You meet people from different backgrounds, some retired, some not so
  • You share interests both common and diverse. You get in the outdoors in a big way
  • You hear new jokes…Sometimes…
  • You get to make disparaging remarks about your “boss”—the crew Chief—without fear of being RIFed or having your pay docked

There’s an intangible, yet real, sense of accomplishment you get just from seeing the results of your efforts at the end of the day.

Accommodations & Particulars

 We stayed overnight at a quaint 19th century, renovated farm house by Gore, VA.

 We ate at the Hayfield Family Restaurant, except for lunch at the project site (you bring that with you). The food is good and the prices are better.

 The area west of Winchester, Virginia is beautiful and the people are great. We enjoyed our time working on this project!