Rural Missouri - October 2010 - (Page 10)

Right: Greg and Janice Dailey of Potosi test their horses on the Berryman Trail at one of the more scenics spots on the 24-mile loop. Avid trail riders, the two were experiencing the Berryman Trail for the fi rst time. Below: Joe and Lane Wilson of Rolla spent their afternoon biking the trail on a beautiful end-of-summer day. The father and son were surprised by how few people they encountered during their ride. The trail is open to hikers, mountain bikers and equestrians but is closed to motorized vehicles. Good times on the Berryman Trail Trail built in the 1930s still challenges outdoor enthusiasts by Jim McCarty jmccarty@ruralmissouri.coop about their future. Most were away from home for the fi rst time, learning to live among strangers, hopeful for a better future. Their new home was a cluster of barracks constructed in 1937 near a wide spot in the road called Berryman, located halfway between Steelville and Potosi. T They were the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), a legion of outof-work young men backed by one of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal programs designed to put the nation back on its feet during the Great Depression. These “CCC boys” learned new skills as they built state park lodges, constructed roads and planted thousands of trees. At Berryman, they designed a trail that snaked 24 miles along ridgelines, through damp bottomlands and over steep hills in a loop that begins and ends where their camp was located. Today, nearly 75 years later, the Berry- 10 hey came from all over Missouri, scared, hungry kids uncertain man Trail continues to challenge hikers, mountain bikers and horseback riders who seek the peace and quiet that can only come in the deep woods. A trip on the Berry- man Trail — whether walking, running, biking or riding a horse — can be a daunting if not rewarding undertaking. Besides its length, the trail features 3,200 feet of cumulative elevation gain, often quickly lost as the trail moves from hill to holler. Eroded sections expose jagged rocks and roots, while frequent creek crossings add squishy shoes to those on foot. There’s no drinkable water, save for the artesian well that fl ows from a pipe at one of the trail’s primitive camps. Throw in ticks, snakes, spider webs and the ever-present poison ivy, and it’s a wonder anyone ever ventures past the campgrounds. But venture here they do, often from as far away as Europe. Some come to test their metal against the rugged terrain. Others seek nature in all its glory. “We are getting quite a bit of use out here,” says Brian Merkel, who takes care of recreation and timber use for the U.S. Forest Service, which manages the trail and surrounding land. “Of course it’s a multi-use trail — hiking, biking and horse riding.” He relates some of the events scheduled for the trail: a work weekend sponsored by the Ozark Trail Association, an adventure race that will use the trail for its mountain bike portion and reunions and other family gatherings held in the pavilion at the Berryman Camp trailhead. “The equestrian groups have always been here,” he says. “And the mountain bike, that’s gained popularity in the recent past. And of course the hiker, you see lots of that, too. The trail makes a good loop around. For someone who wants a loop, it’s a nice trip.” Few people know the Berryman Trail as well as David White, the race director for the St. Louis Ultrarunners Group (SLUGs). Since 2000, he has organized an annual marathon and 50-mile endurance run on the trail. He also has a connection RURAL MISSOURI to the trail’s beginning. “The guy who could really tell you about this trail was my stepfather, Fred Brown,” says David, a Three Rivers Electric member from Chamois. “He was one of those kids who helped build it. He worked for the CCC back in the ’30s. He was 15 or 16 at the time.” While he’s covered the trail by foot, mountain bike and horse, David says he prefers running it. A decent trail runner can cover the 26.2-mile marathon course, augmented by a 1 mile out-and-back on a gravel road, in 5 to 6 hours. Ultrarunners doing the two-lap, 50-mile event must complete the course in 14 hours, which most do with an hour or two to spare. The course record is 6 hours and 33 minutes for the 50-mile, while an Indiana man ran the marathon in 3 hours and 11 minutes. In contrast, it takes most backpackers three days to tackle the loop. Berryman • Despite the challenging nature of this event, every year David turns away runners wanting to get in once the race meets its 150-runner cap. Participants have

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Missouri - October 2010

Rural Missouri - October 2010
Contents
Comments
Columns
Good Times on the Berryman
Elk in Missouri?
Mail Bag
Right-of-Way Management
Out of the Way Eats
Live Like a Viking
Two Men and a Cave
Hearth and Home
News Briefs
Paddlin' for a Cure
Get in Touch with Ghosts
Marketplace
Around Missouri
Neighbors
Just4Kids

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