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A Fun, Nostalgic Tour of the Old Trails and Mine

Both my boys have been somewhere else for a few days, so I've had some Amanda time. I get to do whatever I want with my free time. What a treat!

Let me tell you about this adventure from Saturday. It was so nostalgic!

It must have been around 7pm, but I decided to take the power bike out for a spin. Somewhere... somewhere I wouldn't see much traffic. Luckily, I am able to calculate that out pretty well.

I pedaled up Manganese Road and turned left onto the road to Estivant Pines. At the first two track intersection, I veered left up this old, rustic two-track called East Vein.

Climbing this was seriously a flashback because it used to be the start of the "trails" for the Fat Tire Festival back in the day. If you used to ride it, you know what I'm talking about. I'm talking about this.

East Vein on the downslope

Please note that I took this picture coming back down (we'll get to that in a bit), but it's the same, except more difficult to ascend.

Why do I show you this picture of muddy tracks?

So you don't drive up it.

It's terrible. Those are four-wheeler tracks in the picture. That is the biggest vehicle I would recommend for that particular "road." It's terribly rutty, and there are no spots to pass another vehicle. This is not a challenge. It's a polite warning. I'll show you the nice road in a minute.

So yeah, riding up that thing brought me back to those grueling moments of racing people up this treacherous climb on mountain bikes. This first climb was said to thin out the herd, as the strongest riders would zing right up it and leave the slower riders in the dust... or mud, depending on the conditions.

Half way up this road, I saw the resurrected Black Bear trail. It was marked and everything! After the last bout of logging went through, it got opened up. That was nice to see!

And then at the top where East Vein turns right, I saw the resurrected Kamikaze trail! There's a historic one for ya! I'm excited to try this out on my mountain bike. It's been ages!

The Kamikaze trailhead resurrected!!!

This trail gradually descends east until almost the end of Lake Fanny Hooe. Then it traverses the south edge of that lake until it arrives back to the bottom of Paul's Plunge. It's pretty iconic and, well, wild. It would be a neat experience on a bike or hike if you've never tried it or want to do it again! Hopefully I'll get out there soon.

Continuing down the two-track that I hoped would land me at Ye Old Clark Mine site, I got even more nostalgic. Not only did I remembered the terrain during the race, I remember that those used to be the trails we rode. Those used to be the trails! A lot has certainly changed in my time here as we now have more mountain bikers than ever, and I bet less than 1% ride out there. The trails are professionally build for a good time these days.

And then I coasted down a spot that got me a Bear Pit award 11 years ago because I was recording a video (with an actual camera) and flipped over the bars because my camera was in my right hand, so when I hit the left brake, I flew over the front tire. Ha!

It's only 11 seconds long, but I just watched it and I cracked up. I learned a valuable lesson after that! You can view that video here if you want to watch the world spin as I crash. Really. It's okay to laugh.

As I pedaled along on Saturday, after a rain, I was reminded also how puddly it gets out there. I had to skirt some big ones, and I made it through! I was almost to Clark Mine when I came to this, however.

The moat before Clark Mine

This puppy was a lake. Deep, wide-spread on the sides, and waaaay too long to risk it. I could have waded through it, but not with a 75 pound bike!

I remembered this happened to me before. I was on my way to Clark Mine from the north and I had turn around then, and I had to turn around this time.

Whelp, so I turned around.

I rode the same trails back to that lovely road that goes out to Estivant Pines. That one must have been recently redone. Not a ripple! I highly recommend driving this road to Clark Mine. It's like floating!

Clark Mine Road

Now that's a nice road in the woods! I flew down that baby and made it to Clark Mine in no time!

Selfie with me and the old smoke stack

If you have four extra minutes, I recommend taking the tour of the grounds with me. That video is linked here. I even crawled inside that hole!

Afterward, I couldn't pass up a dreamy view of Lake Manganese in the evening, so I stopped and got you a picture. You're welcome!

Dreamy Lake Manganese

Then I just coasted down the pavement and went home. What a fun adventure! Thanks for coming with me!

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