Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Winter Views: Dog Trail

Sergent Road Trail-I'm the only fat bike rider here? 
 It's been a while since I've been out on the gravel. It's going to be a while longer.... Not going out when it's been so cold and with the ice in places? Hmm..... Maybe this week when it warms up. Stay tuned on that. Anyway...

It was 21°F when I went out Sunday morning for a check of Marky-Mark, the trail connector I put in along Ridgeway Avenue back in 1997. I'm still amazed that this bit of single track has survived the last 24 years. It's amazing that this trail hasn't been sanitized, changed significantly, or that it hasn't been eliminated due to urban sprawl/development. Everytime I check on Marky-Mark these things blow me away. 

I fully expect someday to go out there and find that the City has decided that trail needs to be 10 feet wide like the rest of the trails out there or to find that it has been closed off for development. So, I always go out there with some degree of anxiety about that. Of course, then there is the more likely situation that the trail just gets neglected and blow-downs screw it up and no one cares to clear it up. 

I left on the Ti Muk 2 this time because the snow cover has evaporated and been smashed down to the point that it is barely necessary to even use a fat bike in places. Well, with the exception of Sergeant Road Trail between University Avenue and Fletcher. No one but myself has ridden a fat bike through there. Amazing! I suppose that having the new tunnel not finished and that end all blocked off scares people away, but I still think that's odd. Well, it made for a post-hole-free ride through there. 

After that section I hit up the dike along Black Hawk Creek. It was okay riding since the snow machines had laid down some decent tracks on top. Then it was a dive down the dike and on into the Green Belt. That was when the riding got way easier. The trail was beaten in so smooth and fast that I could have used a mountain bike with 2.5" tires and been just fine.

An XC skier heads off down the trail. I ran across a lot of trail users Sunday in the Green Belt.

Lots of foot traffic made for a rough trail, but it was fast.

I started coming across people using the trail. First it was an XC skier, then a fellow fat biker. Then it was walkers with dogs. Apparently a light wind and reasonable temperatures were bringing out the recreational folk. Like me! Ha! 

Well, it was a fairly typical ride out to Marky-Mark and I was amazed to find it was not only there yet, but that it was getting traffic! This always gets me excited since, well, you know, I was the one that put this in and now others were enjoying it. They have absolutely no reason whatsoever to know that I had anything at all to do with that, so it isn't about the notoriety for me. In fact, unless you read this blog you wouldn't know about Marky-Mark Trail at all. 

Black Hawk Creek looking rather 'post-card-like' this past weekend.

I put this bench cut in almost a quarter century ago. It's amazing that it is still around!

So, Marky-Mark was in good shape, and I noted that someone had cut out a dead-fall near the East end and that they had taken out the old 'log-teepee' that had been there for quite a few years. Hmm.....Well, the main theme of the trail still hasn't been messed with and it is obvious someone- or many people- are 'taking ownership' and responsibility for this trail. So, that's encouraging as well, since I cannot solely keep that thing going. 

Then it was a fast ride back. I came across several couples with dogs. I always am a bit amused that people take their dogs on the Green Belt Trail because there is a huge dog park at the trail head where they are supposed to be taking their dogs. Some people were fine with other trail users, but there is always that one couple, or person with a dog(s) that has a stern look, or an attitude about you being out there on a bicycle. Uh......excuse me? But there is dog park right over there. You know that, right? And don't get me started on the ones with their dog off the leash. Anyway.....

It was a great ride out. A necessary 'mind-wipe' after the events of the past week. Glad I got out and rode, and even happier to see that Marky-Mark not only survives, but that it thrives.


NY Roll said...

The northern section of the Green Belt is where people like to walk their dogs off the leash. Ella enjoys our summer walks out there. Also I wonder how the Martin lake area will encroach on the trail as well as the Ridgeway construction. It looks like they want to put in a access point off ridgeway near Marky Mark

Guitar Ted said...

@NY Roll - That clearing that was put in on the West end of Martin lake? Yeah, that is odd as I thought that was part of the Green Belt, unless the City is, as you say, putting in an access or are selling that chunk off to a developer.

Fun fact: Marky-Mark extended across the original trail to the East and cut through that section of woods and exited near to where that clearing hits the Martin Lake cut-off trail from the Green Belt Trail. When we were working on that, (Me and the "other Mark") it was about twice as long as the current Marky-Mark trail. But people never caught on to that section and it got overgrown a couple years later and I let it go as it was just too much for one guy to tackle. The "other Mark" having moved out of the area by that time.

NY Roll said...

I have been contemplating a Marky Mark Off shot on the SW side, that would wrap around on the side of that-one. I did a recon and saw a lot old fence line. Hmmmmmm, there is a lot woods over on that old section you speak of.