Trail use philosophical question
Most of you will not be interested in this, but some might have opinions. So here goes:
What are your thoughts on hiking on a trail, in the Chugach mountains (e.g. the Middle Fork Trail), that is frequented mostly (or so it seems) by cross-country skiers. Let’s say the snow is conducive for post-holing and you don't have snowshoes, but you stay off the parallel ski tracks the whole time (at least 8” to a foot away).
Now, what if you happen to have a walking aid that resembles a bicycle. You never try to ride the walking aid. The walking-aid (a.k.a. the fat bicycle) is obviously not doing any damage to the ski tracks or to the underlying tundra nor is it contributing to trail erosion in the winter.
Do you think this violates ethical, logical or metaphysical boundaries of trail use? What if there was a no-biking sign on this trail?
Could post-holing even alongside the ski-tracks be objectionable?
Is post-holing only objectionable when done alongside a bicycle on a multi use trail?
Is post-holing by snowshoers, dogs and ski poles tolerable instead?
Should the skiers always command / demand authority on how a back-country trail gets used and how the trail gets broken (is taking over all the trails in Anchorage, in the winter, not sufficient)?
Should there be a sign that read “No cranky skiers on this trail”?
Did you have a "run-in"?
Some folks take their dogs on walks and there are some of us who care enough about their bikes as much as people who love their dogs. These people who enjoy their bikes can walk their bikes as often as they want on these trails.
What's next ... yelling at mothers with strollers
For as long as I can remember, everybody is just thrilled to be out there and to see everyone else. Except this grumpy guy who happened to be on skis. First thing he says to me as I stand next to the trail is "You shouldn't be on this trail. This trail is closed to bikes". This was even before the no bike sign. So I just stare at him and he keeps yelling as he goes by. Then I decided to point out that if was paying attention he would have noticed that I haven't set one foot on the ski tracks. I had been post-holing by the side of the trail the whole time (and did till the very bitter, thigh-deep end).
"But you are postholing" ... hello! there is snow on the ground - that is what happens when you step on it. And really if I had snowshoes on that narrow trail I would have no choice but to step on his precious tracks and "ruin" them. And then he keeps repeating "but you are postholing". ... Maybe he was deaf and couldn't hear me.
And finally he says "goodbye *******".
What next, is he going to yell at mothers with strollers on the tour trail, or people with disabilities needing walkers?
The way I understand them, the "no-bike" signs, on back-country trails, are used to discourage bike riding (this happens when you actually sit on the bike and attempt to turn the cranks) for the environmental reasons that are redundant in the winter (That is why we can bike to Nome in the winter ... try doing that in the summer). When the trail user is not sitting on the bicycle this becomes a very similar concept to pulling a sled, that a lot of skiers do too.
There are plenty of ski only trails in and around Anchorage. On a multi-use trail it shouldn't matter, like Carlos says, whether I am taking my dog for a walk or my bicycle.
I think when it comes down to the basics: fundamentally cyclist embrace obstacles more graciously than SOME people that insist on walking around with sticks strapped to their feet. Now, this is a generalization and for that I apologize.
Some people's children!
Yes, fun weekend.
The fact remains....
the guy on skies values more his outdoor experience than yours, which makes him a bigot by my standards. You can't talk reason to bigots. The no bike sign, or the no bike rule, simply justifies and falsely fuels his irrational hatred of mountain cyclists. I'm sure if you would have been just post-holing along without your bike he would have been indifferent to your chosen activity.
Your not alone. Same story.... different bigot.... different trail.
I say do it again.
My advice and $3 will buy you nothing more than a tunafish sandwich - Hobo Jim
Don't let 'em get you down
I thought I was the Japanese bike pusher!
Don't let 'em get you down. These people are unhappy because they are unhappy in their lives, not because you're taking your bike for a walk in the park.
Could've been worse. You could have been hiking with a couple of unleashed dogs! But hey--hiking in the winter is legal on Middlefork and so is hiking with unleashed dogs in Chugach State Park! But you still would've been yelled at by this unhappy person.
Keep truckin, Brij, and get your way safely over Rainy Pass while you're at it.
Meanwhile, back at the hive....
Queenbee, You know how Brij got his name right??
I had a similar experience a few years ago, I came down the gorge trail to spencers not really thinking it through and found a nicely groomed trail, I ended up postholing down to the bridge completly off the groomed part. This didnt stop about 10 skiers from giving me the business. whoops
All I know is that if I see a single skier out walking with his skis in the summer on the hillside, I'm going to give him an earfull !
I couldent agree more, but I think overall the modern trend of everyone riding with endomorphs is a good thing for Bike-ski relationships.
Fill me in!
Hee hee... no, I have not heard the story, but would love to hear it! You could PM me the story if it's not fit for public consumption.
QB is not a handle I would've chosen for myself, but it seemed to fit the circumstance when I earned it. I have AKDeluxe to thank for that.
Meanwhile, back at the hive....
There are so many obligate ski trails in the Anch Bowl. IMO all of the undesignated trails are fair game. The x-country elists have dominated the winter trail use for years (for a variety of reasons). I am actually frustrated with the lack of access non-skiers are given especially at Kincaid. Some days I don't feel like sking and I just want to walk, or heavens forbid, ride a bike in winter.
On a multi-use trail I have no problem bombing down a trail with tracks in it. I will try to be sensitive, however, if a skier is going to give anyone a hard time about it, send 'em to Kincaid or Campbell. In your case I guess the assumption is you have a bike with you you must have been riding it at some point.
What about novice skiers that break track or fall? Should we take them out and publically snowball them?
Last edited by Valhalla; 02-17-2007 at 06:01 PM.
Williwaw lakes in November
In November, me and a buddy rode from Flattop to Williwaw lakes and then down out to Near Point. A few people were irritated (I could tell by the non response when I said hello) and I would have felt bad if it was summer, but it wasn't. My perception of trails closed to bikes is, they are trying to keep the trail safe from erosion. That must be wrong because some "no biking" trails horses are allowed on (symphony lakes trail). Um, I rode it when it was frozen and didn't leave tracks. I think it should be totally copasetic to ride any trails in Anchorage in the winter as long as it's rideable, (not making gutters and barely able to pedal anyway.) Good judgment. Can't we all just get along?
There are a number of reasons why a trail may be closed to one use or another, such as biking, horses, etc... One is, as Elfbkr50 mentioned, erosion. This is primarily in the summer with extra emphasis around the spring and fall when trails are typically much softer than other times of the year. Another is the safety of the trail users. In the case of trails around Anchorage, many of the trail use designations such as "ski ony in winter" etc.. were agreed on through discussions between the Anchorage Parks and Rec and user groups.
I am an avid nordic skier (raced from jr. high through college and still race now) as well as bike racer (road, mtn, and cyclocross when the schedule allows) not to mention a cross country runner. When I head out on a trail, I take into account the trail use designation. It is nice when I go running up on Flattop to know that I don't have to be concerned about the possibility of a biker coming around the corner doing 25mph. Likewise, I love a good ride down Powerline where the other users are aware of bikers and tend to keep their eyes and ears open and give a little extra room allowing us to let it go just that much more.
As I have seen mentioned before, just because you don't get a response to a "hello", it doesn't mean they disapprove of you being there. I am on one kind of trail just about every day of the year. I, like many of you, say "hi" or "hey" or "hello" to most other users and only occasionally get a response. Many people who participate in endurance sports are loners and aren't always the most sociable. These are individual sports, so I don't get on anyone for wanting to keep to themselves. Others are just focused on what they are doing or may not realize that you said something until you are past.
I encourage people to respect the trail use designations. If you disagree with a particular designation (in Anchorage at least), you should contact Jeff Dillon of the Muni Parks and Rec Department who can direct you to whoever is in charge of that area. There are ways to change things, it just takes some initiative.
Wood chips are stupid
Thank you for the constructive reply. I know that not all x skiers are cry babies. The ones who are just seem to ski a lot Your last paragraph says it all. If you don't like whats going on on our trails,do something about it, get involved. Good post.
"Trust me,you don't want a big baby."
Unless & until the trail restrictions change if you are riding on "no bike" trails you are in violation and may get ticketed - and your personal views on what "should be" won't get you out of it if you get one. Though I happen to agree that the justifications for "no bike" status that apply in the summer often don't make much sense in the winter, they are the rules. It is also true that many bikers use bad judgment which undermines all of us when it comes time to get some changes. For instance, in Chugach Park, bikers (often the ones that ride down from Glen Alps after getting a ride in a pickup truck to the top) come blasting down the Powerline & Gasline when there is deep mud and leave tracks and make it all worse. Others plow down ski-only trails leaving deep furrows because the snow is too soft. MTBs have been outlawed around most of Boulder, CO for this kind behavior (or at least the perception of such). Flouting the rules -particularly if you are getting in other users faces while you are doing it - and/or using bad judgment even when you are technically allowed to be there, work against all of us.
If you just can't help yourself, at least be sensible when you poach. Ride only when you won't have much, if any, impact on the trail AND go at times & in places when you are not likely to meet other users. Riding to Williwaw in the middle of a sunny Saturday is a good way to insure you piss off everyone one you meet and give us all a bad rap. The more that people do things like that the harder for STA to get anything done. At least have sense to ride at night, or very early, or during bad weather AND go on weekdays when relatively few people are out there.