Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Multi-use trail?

When I was hiking with Niko this summer on the Tank Trail in one of the designated off leash areas in town this summer. I discovered a trail that I've been wanting to check out for awhile. The trail isn't much of a trail in the summer. You eventually run into a swamp, but that meant that in winter this trail would be frozen.

So on Sunday Niko and I went to go check it out. The trail was awesome. It seemed so remote even though it was right in town. I thought it would be the perfect place to do some training rides because it is closer to my house than having to drive all the way up to hillside. And it was in the off leash area, so Niko could run free on it. This trail had everything.

Niko was excited as I was...

On top of that it was gorgeous...

But it was too good to be true. Niko had run off (back to the car I found out later) after about 20 minutes of riding, which seemed strange. Maybe Niko had sensed what this trail was about before I did. So after losing Niko I decided to ride back and forth on a two mile stretch of trail until he came back. He doesn't run away much, but when he does he always comes back to the same place where he left.

And then I was almost run over by dog sled team, when I realized my dream of the perfect trail that I had all too myself was not a reality. The woman on the sled yelled, "THIS IS NOT A MULTI USE TRAIL! THIS IS A DOG MUSHING TRAIL!" At that moment I just so happened to be going the wrong way too, so I looked like a real a**hole.

I didn't know what to say, so I just yelled back, "OK!" and started back to the car. As a user of the trails in Anchorage, I generally don't care much for certain trails being designated for only certain sports.

I ski, bike and run on the trails of Anchorage and I honestly don't give a crap if someone walks down the middle of a groomed trail with their unleashed dog and their giant hoofed horse. It's just good to see people out being active. I can deal with ruts, skid marks, hoof holes, dogs running around, etc, that's all a part of the adventure of recreating off-road. It's not supposed to be all smooth and easy.

But this is a huge issue amongst trail users here. I have never lived in a town where there is so much a conflict of users groups on the trails. People can get really nasty. Everyone wants to point the finger at someone else, when really maybe they should be looking at themselves.

But I do understand why the dog mushing trails are designated for just them, because it's dangerous. Those sleds go fast and their are blind corners, just like the one where I almost had a collision with 10 dogs. THAT is a legitimate reason to restrict trail use.

All that other stuff I will never understand. But I follow the rules so as not to piss too many people off.

So I'm off to Pennsylvania tonight. I fly into Newark at 3:30pm tomorrow! And I just upgraded to first class for only 79 dollars for the entire duration of the flight. Maybe I will get some sleep after all. Vacation!

1 comment:

Jeanne said...

I randomly stumbled on your blog and have been reading to pass the time. I was SO HAPPY to see your comment about how Anchorage has more user conflict than any other place. That was my experience too and I was wondering if it wasn't just me who thought that. Anchorage trail users seem like a bunch of preschoolers who never learned to share or be pleasant for that matter. Every other place I've visited has surprised me with how friendly people are on trails and how accommodating they all are to other users (with some exceptions of course, but the general rule is 'be nice'). Living in Alaska so long I've come to expect a dirty look at the bare minimum whenever I run into someone, just for being there and doing whatever it is that I'm doing.

I primarily blame the nordic ski club for setting this tone. They certainly seem to have decided they own the trails. Now if you want to build a trail or use a trail, you have to defend it with your life or the nordic ski club will take it over and try to block everyone else from using it. Very unpleasantly too I might add.

So thank you for writing that! And please keep doing what you're doing on trails; the more users, the more voices.