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I went for a hike today. Nothing that would normally be seen as out of the ordinary, except this time I went alone. Usually, I try and head out to the trail with my grandma or with Archon. But, I was tired of reading and studying, and decided I wanted to get outside and think about a few things. I also decided not to ride my mountain bike. When I ride, my mind is too engaged in staying unhurt and on the trail that it isn’t exactly relaxing. So, I filled up my Camelback, grabbed my walking stick and headed for Little Walnut. I also decided to take some music along, in the form of my iRiver SlimX.

I started out on the trail, and got going at a pretty good pace. I was hiking up to Gomez Peak, a fairly strenuous climb that basically entails a series of switchbacks up the side of the mountain. My pace may have been influenced by The Chemical Bros., and after I started huffing and puffing I switched over to Tori Amos’ Scarlet’s Walk, a CD I had not listened to twice since picking it up 6 months ago. The music was more suitable to the occasion, and I continued my stroll at a more doable pace.

Halfway up the trail, I found my way blocked by several piles of brush and stones. I knew that there had been some recent trail work going on, but it seemed that what was being done was more extensive than I had imagined. I decided to make my way up the brush and found a new trail moving perpendicular to the old trail. For the rest of the hike I used this new trail, and it turned out to be a very nice stretch.

The amount of trail maintenance that had occurred got me to thinking about a situation prominent in a lot of wilderness areas in America. There’s something of a struggle over land usage going on. Nowhere is this more evident than in Marin County, CA. The area where mountain biking was born has some of the strictest regulation for cycling in the nation.

I remembered an article in the March 03 issue of Bike Magazine. It seems that there is a proposal to create more trails open to mountain biking in the county next year. The trails would basically be a conversion of two fire roads into trails on Mt. Tamalpais. To sum up the cyclists perspective the magazine states, “If the plan weathers the cries of outrage from equestrians and hikers (who are already up in arms, in spite of the fact that the proposal is one of the most environmentally conscientious and proactive acts to go into effect on the mountain thus far), construction of the new trails would begin next fall.”

It seems amazing how the different groups in America will fight or bicker about anything. People simply trying to spend time outdoors, and get some exercise, arguing about who has the right to use the trails. Instead of uniting in an attempt to protect the forests from logging and other development, they focus their energies on meaningless power struggles. And every group is as liable as the next.

So, I’m working with a few people in town about getting a mountain biking club going on in town, and I’ll see what I can do to promote a little understanding with others trying to use the trails. Fortunately, in most of the wilderness areas around Silver City, the trails are open to most everything.

Incidentally, “Scarlet’s Walk” is really good. This was my first real exposure to Tori Amos, and I must say I’m impressed. She’s no Fiona Apple, mind you, but that’s comparing Apples to oranges, so to speak. Yes, I know, I’m so funny with my puns. I’ll try and get a review of the CD up ASAP, just for shits and giggles. Next time I go to Gomez Peak, by the way, I’ll take Archon’s camera (unless he won’t lend it to me, in which case I’ll just take him). Maybe we can get a shot or two of Silver City up for your viewing pleasure.

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