Before they can resume building a new trail, volunteers from the Church of Dirt must hike into the path they’ve constructed and then follow the winding stretch of dirt to where they last left off, lugging their tools along with them.
The trail is Eddie J, named for an old nearby mine, and it’s the second trail the Church of Dirt has helped build in its three-year history. Work started on it last summer and resumed in May.
Eddie J branches off from Drifter, the first trail built by the Church of Dirt, then crosses the highway and heads east to cross Monte Christo. When it’s finished it will run further east, crossing Snake and connecting with Kootenay Columbia.
Church of Dirt founder, Scott Forsyth, says so far the hardest part has been going through an old tailings pile from a mine.
“It was a bunch of rubble. Lots and lots of rubble that was deep, and we had to put a trail through there,” he says.
Monday night saw a number of volunteers out working on Eddie J, including Barney Willis. He says he volunteered last season, but this is his first time out this summer.
“When it’s 35 degrees in the evening, you know… I haven’t exactly been motivated to come out and swing an axe.” But here he is, swinging away to tear out a clump of roots blocking the path.
Another volunteer, Adrian Corscadden explains the need to help out. “I ride the trails a lot so I should contribute to that,” he says.
And Forsyth is grateful for the time people put in. “I just want to thank the community for its support, and all the people that have come out, done trail building with Church of Dirt,” he says. “I’m really happy with what we’ve done.”
The Church of Dirt meets Monday nights at 5:30 p.m., at the Centennial trailhead.