Trails I've Ridden

What My Wife Calls My Bragging Wall:

Ohio: CVNP Trails, Camp Tuscazoar, 2 Ton Falls, Medina Reagan, Royalview, Bedford, West Branch, Mohican, **Vulture’s Knob, Lake Hope, Alum Creek, Dillon, The Wilds, AEP Lands, Wayne National Forest/Marietta, Findley

Michigan Island Lake, Highland, Proud Lake, Hickory Glen, Novi Tree Farm, Addison Oaks, Merrill, Luton, Pontiac Lake, ***Potowatomi, Brighton, Yankee Springs, Fort Custer, ***Big M, North Country Trail segments, *Copper Harbor, Boyne Highlands, High Country Pathway, Bass River, Stoney Creek, Hungerford, Hines Trails

Florida Hannah State Park, Jacksonville

West Virginia ****Cooper’s Rock, **Davis, Slatyfork, Watters Smith, Two track to Wonder Falls/Big Sandy River Gorge, Big Bear, Mountwood, Kanawha, North Bend, Spruce Knob, Valley Falls, ***North Fork Mountain, Kennison Mountain**

Pennsylvania Moraine, Brady’s Run, Laurel Mountain, Tomlinson Run, Quebec Run, *Apollo/Roaring Run, Northpark, Bavington, Allegrippis, Blue Knob, 2 Mile Run, Tussey Mountain, Rothrock/Cooper's Gap, Kennerdell

Virginia **Carvin’s Cove, Massanutten, Elizabeth Furnace/Signal Knob Harrisonburg/Reddish Knob

New York Ellicottville

Maryland ***Gambrill/Frederick Watershed

North Carolina Dupont, Pisgah: Turkey Pen, ***Bennet Gap, ***Daniels Ridge, Bracken, Black Mountain, Long Branch. ***Kitsuma, Rocky Knob, *Dark Mountain, Warrior Creek

Arizona Sedona: Highline, Slim Shady

California *Sequel Demo

South Dakota *Storm Mountain, Tinton Trail

Utah: St. George/Hurricane: Zen, Barrel Roll/Suicidal tendencies, Gooseberry, Guacamole, JEM

**Brown County Indiana

* My favorites

My Strava Feed

Classic 2Ton30Inch Pics

Artemis and the Pack

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Vulture's Knob

Monday, June 27, 2016

North Manitou Island

After having such a great time backpacking North Manitou Island last year, my wife and I decided to return. This time we invited our niece Carolyn, and we all enjoyed the peace and solitude of a place Karen and I have fallen in love with. 

The passage from Leland across the historic strait. 

We were met this time by a National Park volunteer, who warned us of the spirits that arise on solstice nights under a full moon. 

We stuck to our plan and headed down the east shore, then across to the west side where we would set up camp and take day hikes. 

The history of the island is fascinating, and every clearing and passage through the woods has a story, many of which we are beginning to learn. 

This was once among the forty miles of roads that have now mostly returned to a natural state. It doesn't take much to see the old road cuts that extend into the forest, tho. 

Carolyn was a real trooper. We dubbed her hat "Goby".  

The beach is wild and the sunsets are wilder. 

Our campsite sat on a bluff overlooking Lake Michigan, with a view toward South Manitou and the Sleeping Bear Dunes. 

We got super lucky with the weather; the days were sunny and blue, and the nights were just chilly enough for a sleeping bag. 

South Manitou in the distance. 

Miller's Beach and Dimmick's Point, the site of the Piping Plover Sanctuary. We had a great time hunting Petosky Stones. 

The colors are nearly tropical. 

Woke up the second day and hiked the shore up toward the site of Crescent City, following deer and coyote tracks part of the way. 
On the way back to the east side, we made the short hike to the Stormer Place, a beautiful homestead clearing that is slowly being reclaimed by the wilds. 

This was our campsite on the third night, a short walk to the nearly white sand beach, crystal clear water and a view that rivals any place I've ever been. 

The water was a bit chilly on the east side, but we had the beach all to ourselves. That evening we visited the island cemetery; the names and the stories are slowly becoming familiar to us. 

Carolyn swam a bit too long and had to spend some time warming back up. Karen and I took a nice stroll down the beach and found the remains of the old Stormer Dock and the plank roadway that once extended down the east side of the island. 

Crazy incredible view. 

Our tent perched up on the secondary dune. 

We made it back a little early on the final morning, and the volunteer showed us a pair of Piping Plovers that had taken up residence on the beach near the dock. 

We got into some cool conversations with some fellow backpackers on the ferry boat ride back to Leland, ate a good meal at the cool restaurant beside the dam, then drove Carolyn to the big dune at Sleeping Bear. She vowed to return and do the climb, and we said goodbye to the island in the distance for another year. 

Friday, June 17, 2016

Between science and religion, there is art

Friday, June 10, 2016

Warming up to Marquette

Peter Dragn and I had a trip planned to Snowshoe, but it got rained out.
So we both decided it was time to check Marquette Michigan off our lists. 

It was Brando's first time across the Mackinac Bridge, and he was amazed. High praise coming from somebody who has travelled all over the world!

Alas, the weather got shittier and shittier the closer we got to Marquette. By the time we rolled in, it was windy, rainy and cold. 
Not unusual for the UP at this time of the year, but disappointing nevertheless. 
To make things worse, we couldn't even get a waitress to take our order at the Mexican place downtown. Hell, nobody would even close my tab, so....we made it over to the German restaurant. Way too expensive, but they made a good Marquette Mule. (I ended up leaving made rain jacket there and they were cool enough to keep it for two days! Still too expensive.)

So we hit up the Border Grill. That's when things slowly started to get better. Border Grill - it's all you need. 

No camping that night so we found a decent hotel and hoped the weather and our initial impression of Marquette would improve. 

It did. 

The NTN certainly has its act together. Like many trails in Michigan, the South Trails have maps at every intersection and easy to follow routes. We would come to learn that there was a broad selection of trail types, with everything from a beginner loop to XC loops with a back country feel, to jump lines and downhill gnar. What the system lacks in real elevation is made up through its diversity. 

Supe approved. 

Hard to say goodbye to an old friend. 

Saw this jump and we knew we were in for something cool. 

Hit the Green Trail clockwise which starts with one of the more beautiful stetches of Singletrack I've ever ridden - Carp Eh Diem. 

Not bad for the first couple of miles!!

Things flattened out on the top of the ridge, but we were impressed with the amount of work that went into the flow sections. A good intro trail. 

Found the first section of downhill stuff at the end of green so we took it the rest of the way back to the parking lot. 

One of the cool things about the South Trails is they all loop back to the main parking lot, so we were able to pack light. 

I forgot Supe's water bowl at home so we made do with a plastic bag and my helmet. 

We rode Jethro Tull the second day. 
Ok, we mostly walked Jethro Tull. It's badass. 

Rode up the Benson Grade two track and descended the Flow trail, which was a hoot, then set out on the Red Trail. Kinda the same as Green, and a lot of fun. 
Checked out an overlook to try to get a glimpse of Superior. 

Stopped for a beer. 
We were both still a little 50/50 on the overall experience, given our drive time. We both agreed that if you've ridden one machine built trail, you've kinda ridden them all. Still, the amount of work and care put into these trails was beginning to amaze us. 

Went to the Tourist Park and set up camp. It looked much more welcoming in decent weather. My new Clam screen tent went up quickly as advertised, but the chilly weather kept away the bugs. 

Overall, a nice clean "city" campground. 

Brando brewed me up some Vietnamese coffee then went went into town.
First stop was Ore Dock Brewery. Very cool. A Tony Rice song came on as I sat down, and I knew things were beginning to improve rapidly. Two beers and a John Hartford sing later, plus a cool conversation with the bar tender, who was a mountain biker, and we both agreed that in some ways, Marquette might possibly give Brevard a run for its money. 

Stopped at Down Wind sports to check out their bike selection and got into a cool conversation with some employees - turns out that nearly everyone we talked wherever we went was either really cool and friendly or a mountain biker and frequently both. 
Somewhere along the evening we managed to procure a hand- drawn map of the Harlow Lake trails. 

10:30 and we could still see sun light!!

Woke up a decided to do a warm up spin on the North Trail. The Dead River is beautiful but we got a little lost toward the end and finished the ride on the road. 

Found the source of the roaring sound across the lake from the campground. 

Then it was Harlow Lake. We ran into on of the trail builders and he gave us different directions for McLovin and Angry Bear, which basically required us to hike a bike up McLovin. 

By the time we got to the top, we didn't care about all the bike pushing. The view was stunning. 

This was the area were they shot one of the promo films and it was spectacular. 

We could see both Lake Superior and Harlow Lake. Just plain awesome. Other trail systems have views but none of them have Lake Superior. 

Plenty of nasty fun rocky descents. 


Stomped up Sugarloaf Mt. for another spectacular view, and suddenly we realized that Marquette kicks ass. 

Check out that sandy beach down there with no one on it. 

Ha ha ha ha!  This place rules!!!!!

That night we rode Gorgeous ( it is) and the Blue trail (where I cracked my helmet) then four trips with the Benson Grade for rides on Down Dogger, Eh Line and Jethro Tull. 

Then it was time to leave. 
Black Rock Brewery, Cocos, the liquor store on third street, Lakeside Bikes, Quick Stop bikes and the hat shop all very cool places and cool people. Just a little scratching of the surface and Marquette reveals itself as one of the best places I've ever visited for not just mountain biking but a close, cultured community that really knows how to welcome people. I like it. Wish we had time for the West Side trails and we didn't time up the lift access at Mt. Marquette. 

A quick spin at Bruno's Run was mandatory on our way home. The owner of Lakside Bikes told us to stop in at the Hillside store in Munising, and low and behold - more cool people who are behind an effort to build even more singletrack. I felt bad I couldn't afford to buy a ROAM hat and support the effort, cause I needed to fill the gas tank and buy some Jameson. 

Lastly, stopped at a cool restaurant in Epoufette (sp?) that had a sweet view from its back deck to Lake Michigan. Watched a bald eagle pluck it's dinner from the shoreline. 

Awesome trip and I want to go back. 
Thanks Marquette!