Have you noticed that the Earls Trails trails are rootier than they were when we first used the map 8 years ago? They're still excellent and runnable, but a little less so. I guess some erosion is inevitable.
At Satan's Kingdom, it's the trail network to west that I want to check out :-)
You allude to a couple of possible explanations. I'm thinking more along the lines of a third explanation, the one PG hints at in the last half-sentence.
1) The roots have grown up.
2) The ground has been eroded down.
3) We old guys have more trouble lifting our feet.
Another issue is the extra usage that works the top layer of coverage. Mt bikes especially tend to clear leaf and other loose duff from the surface exposing the soil to wear and washing out. This is particularly noticeable in Penwood or our neighborhood trail networks used by the bikers versus McLean that prohibits bikes and has a nice coverage of leaf matter.
What really clears the leaves and other stuff from the bike trails is the leaf blowers. There now a sign at Earl's Trails asking people to not blow the leaves off. The trails up at Satan's Kingdom, which I assume get much less use, have been blown recently. Makes them a lot easier to follow, but....
Phil, I assume your preference is because there could be summits to be had? :-)
Indeed. It looked like a nice four or five mile loop goes within a hundred meters or so of the summit of Pond Mountain, number 24 in Franklin County. And the nice thing about summitting is I don't feel the need to put out too much effort. It's enough to find the summit and not fall on my face :-)