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Zac Loehr

Photo by Zac Loehr

I live one mile down the road from Blue River Road, and since I manage the trails and I’m a mountain biker, I’m out there 3-4 days a week and I have a jillion pictures from being out there.

My buddies and I go out any time: in the heat of summer and cold of winter and all the great days in between. There was one day we got some snow, and it doesn’t snow a whole lot in Kansas City, and when it does it’s in varying conditions: very fluffy or very dense ice. But me and a couple of friends decided to go for a ride after it snowed. I have bikes that are used for different conditions, and I had just gotten a set of studs for my fat bike, so I was very well prepared for the conditions while my friends where not. But they still wanted to go out.

We set out for the Analog trail on the north end, which is a newer section (about 3 years old). It traverses a steeper ledge area between the upper trail between HiFi and Blue River Road, and that’s usually not the greatest trail to ride in slick conditions, but we were riding along and hit a spot where one of the guys couldn’t stay on his bike and started sliding down the hill. The buddy behind him stopped and tried to grab him as he was sliding and was able to grab his bike, but the first man who started down the hill kept sliding. It wasn’t dangerous but he was sliding at, like, 1 mile/hour down the hill, really slowly. It was really funny watching him try to get back up the hill.

It’s hard to pick stories because it’s what all my recreation and spare time revolves around. I’ve met pretty much all my friends out there and we’ve done a lot of riding and trail work together. It’s both a social mainstay and I just like to go out by myself and find spots to get away. Sometimes, if I’m by myself I’ll find a rock and sit for a bit and enjoy the sounds of nature, and the peace and quiet. And that’s my motivation to stay with conservation, to keep that going for myself and everyone else who uses is.

And the trail system is wildly different now. When I first moved out here there was maybe 10 miles available. I explored the river trails first because they’re the easier ones and I could get my [bike riding] bearings back. From there I met people on the trails, new friends, and wanted to expand and make the trail system better, so I started volunteering myself and a few others took over as trail stewards around 2013-2014.

I really like being out in the woods and in nature. With trail work you get to be a little creative and build stuff as you’re routing trails and building features. Flagging trails are the first steps: you’re walking through the rough forest and I really like that because you happen upon cool spots that not a lot of people have seen. You get to explore and find those areas so other people can enjoy them as well.

"Little Moab in the summer" photo by Zac Loehr

Zac’s Recommendations:

Jigsaw is a pretty unique section of trail. And a good go-to is called “Little Moab.” It’s a rocky area next to the river that, if you head north of Blue River Road, there are some soccer fields a couple miles down, and west of those fields is a kind of rock shelf that’s on the right of the river. It’s kind of a difficult spot to ride but there’s a little bend in the river you can usually see the sunset.

I always like to go up on BoHoCa Trail. On the north end of the trail there’s a big bluff over the road that’s a great spot to watch sunsets.

I also really like trees. My favorite kind of tree is a sycamore and there’s a lot of cool, big sycamore trees you can see on the River trail near the Minor Park Tennis Courts. There’re also some cottonwoods, which aren’t very strong but they’re just massive. There’s one huge cottonwood on the side of the Underworld Trail. It’s down from where Underworld pops up on the closed section of Blue River Road, across from the Stonewall trail entrance. There’s a huge cottonwood tree that’s got a 5-6-foot base. It’s a pretty cool tree.

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