A number of people have asked how various trails at Growlers got their names. Keep in mind that this a best-recollection situation.
We started building in 1998, and things have moved so quickly since then that it’s sometimes hard for the Board of Director to come up with names for the trails that are being added. I’ve been trying to keep an updated record so that the history doesn’t slip away.
A-B-C: This is a convoluted story. We initially built what is now called the A Loop. It was known as Bad Gravity. We added a loop off of it and on the day we did the test-ride a bunch of people got stung by yellowjackets so we called it the Bee Loop. A number of people thought we were calling it the B Loop, so when another loop was added, that became the C Loop. Now it is known collectively as A-B-C. Probably the best wet-weather trail at Growlers. MILEAGE: 1.75
A-Bomb: This line was laid out and named by Mel Norris. It runs just south of Bitter Bitch in the Secret Garden. Named A-Bomb in honor of a great beer – The Abominable from Hopworks – and because it is an excellent DH trail that is a bomb to ride. Completed at our 2011 build day. Randy Toney and Kevin Knorr have done huge work on that line. MILEAGE: .8
ABV – Built in 2015 by a crew of 110. Another example of incredible dirt work. There is some gravel on either end, but it links Trust Me to Co-Pay. MILEAGE: 1.0
Ace of Spades: You might have noticed that we occasionally drink beer. This trail was named in honor of one of the very best imperial IPAs we’ve ever tasted. Thanks to brewmaster Christian Ettinger at Hopworks Urban Brewery. MILEAGE: .9
Alley Oop: From a 1950s song of the same name by the Hollywood Argyles. “He’s a mean motor-scooter and a bad go-getter.” Just north of the first Road Trail/the Big Easy. MILEAGE: .7
BAP (Bits & Pieces) – It’s just that – a number of small sections that I was able to link together. Dirt work on this line was completed in just four hours by a great crew at our 2013 build day. BAP is the longest trail in the lower section. MILEAGE: 1.8
Beauty: One of our earliest trails. That was – and still is – such a great run off the second half of the trail that we called it Beauty. MILEAGE: .55
Beaver Pond: Located just northwest of the bottom of the Secret Garden, it is near a huge beaver pond.
Belly: Illogical name. I will blame Dave or Lipton. There was a book that came out a while back by a guy who was in prison. It was called In the Belly of the Beast. Somehow, we got the name from that. MILEAGE: .60
Big Wow: Named by Rob Larsen. When he was in junior high and somebody was talking about something they thought was really cool, the response was to shrug your shoulder, act disinterested and say, “Big wow.” A case could also be made for the fact that more than a few people have gotten a serious big wow out of the steep section near the start. MILEAGE: .5
Bitter Bitch: Growlers legend says this trail was named for a particular person, but that’s not true. Bitter Bitch is an imperial IPA produced by Astoria Brewing. It’s also the perfect name to describe the climb – particularly when it’s the third lap of the 5K and your legs are either jellified or when cramping has turned you into a quadrapalegic. Completed on the 2009 mega-work day. Most people are familiar only with Upper Bitch. It can be challenging, but Lower Bitch is a vicious, debilitating bastard. MILEAGE: Upper Bitch from the spur road entrance to the Lament: .5
Canoe: We couldn’t come up with a name for this one for quite a while. We used a canoe-shaped log for the water crossing so it became the Canoe Trail. MILEAGE: .65
Cooley’s: There are actually two trails called Cooley’s Loop, one at the west end of the Creek Trail system and the other at the bottom of the Secret Garden. Both built by Sam Cooley, a GG pioneer and a great trail dog.
Co-Pay: Designed and named by Darrell Jamieson. The main Co-Pay line can be accessed off Jekyll by using Donkey Punch. It goes all the way to the Hawg. One of the fastest trails at Growlers. MILEAGE: 1.1
Co-Pucker: When Darrell Jamieson and Eric Loney were looking at the Co-Pay route, they initially decided to use Pucker up as the entry point. Later, they created a line for mere mortals that can be accessed via Donkey Punch. This section of trail remains a separate entity and does not join the main Co-Pay line until the first road crossing. Bring your A game.
Creation: Created by Bob Juntunen. MILEAGE: .63
Creek Trail: Runs along the Monohan Creek. This was one of our earlier trails and a huge project at the time. MILEAGE: 1.0
Cousin Eddie: Classic line from Christmas Vacation. Clark has just discovered that, instead of a Christmas bonus, his company has given him a year-long subscription to the jelly-of-the-month club. Eddie says, “That there’s the gift that just keeps on a-givin’.” MILEAGE: 1.1
Deja Vu: Built by a crew of 60 at a follow-up work party in 2015. This line replaced ABC, JFK, and Miracle Mile, which were lost to logging that year. Constructed required a lot of hardcore people because there were tens of thousands of limbs to pick up. Deja Vu can be accessed at the old ABC entrance near the Railroad Grade and ridden down, or at the bottom of the first leg of Little Sister and ridden up. MILEAGE: 2.5
Donkey Punch: This trail can make you feel like you’ve been kicked in the head by a mule. It can be dicey all year-round, but when it’s slick there is a high likelihood that you will see carnage here. Named by Eric Loney, who was likely utilizing a slightly different definition that cannot be shared on a family website such as this. Enter Donkey Punch about one-third of the way down Jekyll. It will take you to the mere mortal version of Co-Pay.
Double Down: Jack named this one. There are three lines. You can go down the left side, ride up the middle and then go down the right side. Two-for-one. The left line was hit by the 2015 logging operation but we are gradually bringing it back. MILEAGE: .8
Frosty Balls: It was very cold the day we built this trail. MILEAGE: .5
Hawg: Built on the 2011 Mega-Build Day, it was designed by Paul Norris, who is an Arkansas Razorback. MILEAGE: 1.5
Jeep Trail: This is the climb that dumps you out of the Creek Trail system near the start of Carnage. After the area was logged a lot of guys used to four-wheel on this overgrown cat road. MILEAGE: .41
Jekyll and Hyde: These days, most people just call it Jekyll. Your attitude about this two-faced trail depends on whether you are ascending for the third time on the Growlers Gulch 5,000 or descending at a rocking pace. Completed on the 2008 mega-work day. It was initially in two parts (Upper and Lower) until Randy Toney came up with an ingenious way to link them. MILEAGE: .8
JLS: Sometimes we give trails names that don’t describe them real accurately. There’s a lake in Longview called Sacajawea. It has a nice gravel walking path around it, and some people use the path for biking. We called this trail Just Like Sacajawea – but if you’ve been up there you know it’s slightly different. A great place to work on your technical skill. MILEAGE: .42
KMAs: Oddly, the KMAs were named because of an incident that occurred on the Big Wow. Dave and I ran into a rider who had brought out about 25 friends. The group was so large they weren’t having a lot of fun. He asked if Dave and I would take half. The Big Wow had just been built, and we decided to show them the best trail we had. It was dry that day and we railed it. About two or three of the people in the group kept up and they raved about the trail when we got to the bottom. Then the rest of the crew showed up. They started bitching and whining about the steepness of the trail and saying Dave and I had put them in a high-risk situation. Evidently, Dave had been attending the Jack Berry School of Diplomacy. He listened to the bitching for a while and then said, “Anybody who doesn’t like that trail can kiss my ass.” We decided that the next thing we built had to be called the KMA. The Upper KMA starts up higher, crosses the road. The first Lower KMA picks up where Jekyll leaves off. The second and third Lower KMAs will take you to the Secret Garden. MILEAGE: 1.9
Legacy: The big views won’t last forever, but we are pretty confident this trail will be around long after the old dudes have put away their bikes and moved to the home. Completed on the 2010 mega-work day. MILEAGE: From the tank trap to the top and back to the spur road = 2.1 miles (from the tank trap to the top is 1.65)
Little Sister: Jekyll’s little sister. It parallels upper Jekyll and comes out on the Railroad Grade. Jekyll was getting so many wheels and so much damage that Paul, Dave, Jeff and I added this line as an alternative. MILEAGE: .43
Lung Buster: It’s just below (north) of Dead Left. The first half is a rocking downhill that will have you asking, “Why would they call this trail Lung Buster?” You’ll see.
Mr. T: Actually stands for Mr. Technical. Not much of a problem now, but when it was built it was more challenging – plus, we didn’t have much in the way of technical skill at the time. MILEAGE: .40
New Guy: Located across (east) the gravel road from Terminator. We were planning a bring-a-beginner ride and built this trail as something benign for that group. MILEAGE: .18
No Problem: Built to provide a way to session log-overs, No Problem has lured more than one rider who thinks the name means what it says. Unfortunately, most of the obstacles have been dumbed down or by-passes have been created and No Problem is sort of an embarrassment to those of us who knew it in the old days. MILEAGE: .34
Plan B: We had a work party scheduled for a Sunday. The guys who couldn’t make it came out on their own Plan B day to put in this line, which was designed by Dave, Paul, and myself. MILEAGE: .41
PMS: Paul and Mel’s Secret. Located at the bottom of the Secret Garden and links into the Hawg.
Predator: We’ve seen coyotes and bobcats on this trail. Also, Jack once ran into a swarm of killer yellow jackets that nearly left him in intensive care. MILEAGE: 1.1
Pucker-up: Engineered by Jeff Edgell and named by Eric Loney, this “holy shit” trail starts right across from the bottom of Vortex and links into Co-Pay. It’s not for everyone.
Road Trails: There are five segments – three close to the gravel and two beneath/north of them – running along the 312 road on the north side. Initially, each had a name. The first one heading west from intersection is the Big Easy. This is where the cinematic classic Travis Eats Feces was filmed. I can’t remember the middle one, but the third is Gut Sucker. The two to the north/lower are Dead Left and False Hope. Dave named False Hope because it starts with the illusion that there will be no pain. Dead Left is still a rush but has been beautifully manicured. In its original state, it was narrow and dicey with all sorts of possibilities for carnage to the left. I once brought a guy out who was researching trail riding for a magazine article. He later wrote that Dead Left was not fit for bikers and should even be avoided by animals. MILEAGE: 1.53
Rush: Exactly – especially when it’s wet. Miraculously survived the 2016 logging operation and has been reopened. MILEAGE: .6
Secret Garden: At the time we built this trail, very few people knew how to get there or were willing to ride down there (because it meant riding back out). MILEAGE: .5
Shit No Bricks: Dave and I did most of the initial work on this line, which was completed by a crew of a dozen on a miserable build day in January 2014. SNB starts about 100 yards into WTF and comes out right across the road from Creation, giving riders another option for descending. There are a few places for carnage but our goal was to create a line with flow that would not be intimidating, thus the name. MILEAGE: .65
Shooter: Named by Jack Berry, this trail starts at the top of Beauty and shoots you over to the Trail of Tears. MILEAGE: .25
Slalom: Big bermed corners. Obvious name. Built by the DH crew. MILEAGE: .15
Terminator: It’s pretty benign now, but back in the day there was an over with a steep drop on the back side that caused problems for a lot of people. MILEAGE: .9 counting the switchback line
Trail of Tears: This one doesn’t get nearly enough wheels. We used to ride it as an out-and-back from the end of Frosty Balls. Start thinking that you are in fantastic physical condition and this interval trail will always bring you back to earth. MILEAGE: .84
Trust Me: The focus of the 2014 Mega-Build, Trust Me was our most ambitious project to date. Heading north from the backside of Legacy, this incredible line has a little of everything – dozens of technical features, gnarly descents, and nap-inducing interval climbs. If you ride it, you will remember it. We had 13 crew chiefs at this build. Very few of them had walked the entire line. I told them it was a trust me situation and that they needed to believe all the pieces would fit together. In addition to the Mega-Build, which drew 130 people, we used two smaller work parties to hit this line. Best guess is that we have 850 hours invested. MILEAGE: 3.75
Vortex: Enter the Vortex. Named for Fort George Brewing’s classic West Coast IPA. MILEAGE: .5
Walk in the Park: This one actually is what it says. MILEAGE: .15
Without a Paddle: The top end is right across from the spur road that leads to the Golden Spike. It crosses the gravel twice before heading down steeply to parallel the Monahan Creek. It comes out onto Cooley’s Loop and will take you right into the Creek Trail system. Dave was the architect of this trail, which was completed during two work parties – one near the end of 2012 and the other early in 2013. Named by Wayne Nussbaum who referenced being up a creek. MILEAGE: 1.7
WTF: Switchbacks may be installed in the future to ease the pain, but try climbing this trail and you will have no questions about the name. MILEAGE: .7
GROWLERS MILEAGE TOTAL = 38.12
The following trails are no longer in play –
Carnage: When this trail first opened, there was all kinds of physical and mechanical devastation. MILEAGE: .8 (Lost to logging in 2016)
JFK – First known as “The Grassy Knoll,” things evolved from there. This line is the main connector between the stuff along the 312 (Little Sister and Jeykll) and the south side of the system (Upper KMA, Canoe, Ace, JLS). MILEAGE .42 (Lost to logging in 2016. Parts of it have been incorporated into Deja Vu)
Miracle (Three-Quarters) Mile: Dave and Lipton did a great job working this trail back and forth but they kept coming up against a creek and there was no easy way to span it. You wouldn’t know this if you weren’t in on the build, but we found a one-of-a-kind place where the creek goes underground. When you ride the Miracle Mile you probably aren’t even aware that you’re riding right over a creek. MILEAGE: .75 (Lost to logging in 2015. Parts of it have been incorporated into Deja Vu)
Piece and Pound: My cousin Sam Cooley and I were working from opposite ends on these trails. Sam built Piece of Cake to be fast and flowy. I built Pound Cake to not be fast and flowy. MILEAGE: 1.15 (Lost to logging in 2016)
Railroad Grade: This is an actual railroad bed, left from the 1930s logging when everything was hauled to Ryderwood and then to Long-Bell. It starts at the 312 gravel just below A-B-C and runs south to the other Growlers. MILEAGE: .41 (Lost to logging in 2015)