Tuesday, September 30, 2014

In Search Of Marky-Mark

Real dark- Real single track
The story of the "Marky-Mark" trail goes way back into the late 90's. I was just freshly divorced, had a new job at a car repair shop after working at a bike shop for 3 plus years, and had little time for cycling of any sort. I still wanted to be biking, but with working a very physical job for 60 hours a week, well- it left little energy for anything else.

Even though I was drained physically most every day, I concocted a plan to do some new trails all by myself in the Green Belt. One of those trails is long gone now, but one remains. It connects two "Y" sections of the original bridal trails made in the 50's in the Leonard Katoski Green Belt. The trails "Y" off at a point just Southeast of Ridgeway Road and terminate at Ridgeway, leaving about a quarter mile of distance between the two trail heads. "Marky-Mark" connects those two ends of the "Y" so you can loop across on off road trails instead of riding along Ridgeway if you wanted to create a loop on the Southeast side of Ridgeway towards Ainsborough Avenue.

I spent many hours hacking out "Marky-Mark" and sweated out many decisions about where the trail should go through at. Although I was helped out with the trail to a small degree by another man, I did about 95% of the actual single track work to cut that trail in. It got named because both myself and the guy who did a little bit of work on this trail were both named "Mark". I didn't give it that name, but that is what stuck. I don't write all this to brag, or for any glory, but just to set the record straight and tell the story. That's my trail out there, for what it is worth.

One of the older trees in the Green Belt is on Marky-Mark
Anyway, every year I usually try to get out there to see how "Marky-Mark" is doing and ride it. Last night was that ride for this year.

I don't ever do any maintenance on that trail and I haven't lifted a finger to do anything on the trail for well over a decade. I decided a long time ago that I had done way more than my share in maintenance for the few years that I toiled alone in maintaining "Marky-Mark" and back then it was a totally thankless effort. I ended up getting married again, having a family, and life took me in a totally different direction. I think it also is good to remember that in the late 90's mountain biking was at its nadir in the Cedar Valley so interest in my trail was nil. But that was then......I moved on, but others eventually stepped in and have kept "Marky-Mark" alive for well over 15 years now. That's pretty dang amazing to me. And to whomever is doing the work- Thank you very much!

The young crescent moon setting early.
 This trail stands in stark contrast to most Green Belt Trails. "Marky-Mark" is really narrow, primitive single track. I bet most folks think it is a well worn deer trail, not realizing that it wasn't there before I scratched it out in 1997.

I rode it and it is all clear with a few big logs to jump over and weeds about three feet high in places along the sides of the very narrow tread of this trail. Someone recently cut off a bunch of branches on a dead fall to make the trail passable, which is nice to see. Apparently a few folks, at the least, seem to think that this trail is worthwhile! I doubt they even know it has a name though.

That's okay with me, by the way. I don't really care if I get any notice for that trail at all, but I am glad to see that my efforts of over 15 years ago are still being enjoyed by at least a few folks out there. That brings me some satisfaction, I won't lie about that.

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