Thursday, June 24, 2010

My trip to NMU and Mt. Marquette.


Recentley my family and I went up north to Marquette for my daughters orientation at Northern Michigan University. We are certainly proud of her and excited for her and I was excited to have the opportunity to ride in such a beautiful area. Doing some research I decided that riding from campus where we were staying in the dorms south through Marquette to Mt. Marquette ski hill was my best opportunity. I had to be creative when I took this window away from the family and also had to reschedule due to rain. Need less to say I found the window and weather was very cooperative around 11am Tuesday. Once at the trail head you basically have 4-5 options. Blue, red, yellow, green and strategic mixtures of all four. I heard that the blue was the most difficult and of course had to see for myself. It did not disappoint. As you can see by the pic what kind of work I had to do on the blue and that was only one place I had to get off. The climbs were not so bad but the jagged rocks were somewhat daunting. The pic is only a small taste of what else is up there. It was a fun trail but highly suggest full(front and rear)suspension. After finishing the blue and reading the map trying to make my decision another rider rolled up doing the same thing. He was a local named Brian and also rode from home closer to the lake. Since he had also just finished the blue he offered to show me the red. It was across the highway and had a steep climb up a jeep trail as a welcome statement. Once at the top of that climb there is a great view of Mt Marquette. Looks like that's the bonfire party area from clues left behind. Note to self. Brian and I continued to climb the Benson Grade and he pointed out where the trail took a fork to the right were all the Free Ride stunts. We were not really equipped for that so we continued left on some awesome single track climbing. For about a half mile I was following Brian's line when we came to an opening. That's when he said "Go ahead, have at it.". So I took the lead and shot down this ultra smooth rail of hard pack with the occasional rock and root at a turn with slight up hills that just sucked you into a few pedals and down again through another rail with a little moisture to create a two wheel slide that makes you wake up real quick. I think I had the most fun on this trail because of spots like that to keep me honest. The red had awesome flow and still challenging climbs. After rolling out of the woods, across the freeway and back to the map, Brian said he had to show me "Gorgeous" which is part of the yellow. We went a slightly different rte that he knew and were able to circumvent most of the yellow and get to that area. This was the most beautiful area I had seen all day and and the name did not disappoint. At some points you are riding on a bench cut made into the side of the ravine and looking down 30-50 feet at the rapids of the Carp River. That was incredible and only regret not stopping to take a picture if not for having so much fun during the ride. I knew Brian the local was excited just by my reactions. It felt great to be the one to be shown around a new area and I understand how he felt by being the guide. I hope to get some more time in that area in August and October. Let me know if anyone else wants to go. Also for anyone doing the Ore2Shore you should check this out after if you have time. I will be there a few days after the event.


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