"Tiny is a good friend. But not so good when there is blood involved". Something like that.
That's what I remember from the email. You all know the story from the highly acclaimed A Tale of Fall City.
There was in fact blood. And there was a guy hunched up and generally not doing so well near the cedar split rail bridge that we had lovingly crafted just a few weeks before. Within a few months the bridge and all the other split cedar work on Flowtron would be lying in a jumble of chainsaw destruction. The great Tokul Chainsaw Massacre of Ought Seven. But that's a different story.
Flowtron was our first best attempt at trail building. Well…..That's debatable, we were building Last Frontier at the same time. But Flowtron takes Best in my mind. The trail nearly flagged itself the first time we walked up that lush wooded ravine. We learned the art of transplanted fern trail beautification on that trail.
A winter of storms had knocked down trees all over the place. Trees that could be used for framing. We were surrounded by mossy mounds of old cedar trees rotting into the earth. We bucked out sections of the old cedar and found good solid cores. Cores that could be split into beautiful cedar rails. There is nothing as cathartic as splitting cedar. We did it at every opportunity. Besides the bridge in question (From the highly acclaimed A Tale of Fall City) we had numerous other cedar rail stump drops, ladders and ramps, and the coupe de gra, an 80ft bridge across a muddy swamp near the bottom. A mind game. Probably 2ft wide in general, but tapering smaller in spots and impinged by a big root ball at the entrance. It sloped down to the middle of the swamp and then climbed out the other side with a nice little cedar lip to top it off.
Further down we built a crooked cedar bridge around a root ball and across a creek. Growler Creek. We stashed glass growlers under a small waterfall and shared them between laps in the little grove at the end of the bridge. That first iteration of Flowtron still shines special in my memory.
Back to the highly acclaimed A Tale of Fall City. Yes, I remember. We'd just opened the trail a few days earlier and were enjoying the fruits of our labor, doing laps and just basking in the adrenaline, herbs and growlers between laps. I passed two guys near the start of the swamp bridge. The first riders I'd seen on Flowtron. No time to talk, I had to concentrate or wallow in the mud. Eric (name may have been changed to protect the debaucherous) came rolling into the clearing a minute later. "Man I'm feeling kinda arrogant. I just passed these two dudes who asked if I was going to ride that bridge. I said, I should ride it, I built it and I threw a little steeze off the end to cap it off". We handed him a glass growler and the lowers from a Marzocchi that looked suspiciously like a water pipe, and had a good laugh. Did we actually have Moonshine and a Bong? I wouldn’t say, but I like the story.
Yep. We passed them on the climb. Was Eric chatting it up on his phone? Won’t say, but how many of you haven't seen Eric doing that?
We stopped at the entrance to Flowtron and they cruised by. We caught up with them on the descent. One of them was kinda squating on the trail. The other was 10 feet below, lying in a minefield of pungy stick branches attached to some downed fir trees. Did I say Flowtron was finished? It still needed a little cleanup.
Did we bust out first aid and get him patched up and clean like Merry Makers arriving on the scene? Well that’s a generous description. And I appreciate it. We had kits but little knowledge. We had a bugger of a time getting anything to stick to his chin, probably due to all the blood. I remember a gauze bandage wrapping from his chin around the top of his head. Picture the cartoon toothache guy with an ice bag held to his cheek by a rag tied around his head and chin.
Well, a bit later we were sitting in the Last Frontier having some nice local Snoqualmie Wild Cat IPA and famous Last Frontier fries, thinking how satisfying it is to share your creation and have people like those guys truly and totally stoked about It, and wondering what happened to them, when our phones all lit up. A friend had gotten hold of an email, the well regarded A Tale Of Fall City, and sent it to us assuming we were the perpetrators from the other side of the tracks. We were in stitches for days. The HLC. Now known colloquially as the Bong Toking Moon Shining Merry Makers. Legends in our own minds.
Stop into the Last Frontier Saloon, have some famous fries and look for the finely crafted, laser cut Flowtron 3000 sign. Bonus points if you can find the well hidden laser cut Last Frontier sign (Thank you Flylo for those). Or look for the Rock Shock Judy on the ceiling and daydream about how you could saw off one of those lowers and make a nice water pipe.