by Jeff Potter
You know House Music? --The new trance dance stuff. Well, this is House Trails. If you have some of your own, you can go out every day and unwind to your own rhythm on them.
I have about a mile of trails. It takes me quite a bit of work to keep them clear.
We live next to a church. They have about 15 acres of vacant land around their parking lot. I have 1.5 acres of my own. I've had trails on this land since we moved here 12 years ago. Well, there were faint old trails there already, probably deer trails. The deer sure like mine.
An 80+ year-old guy named Old Man Lee was the groundskeeper. He was a well-to-do competent guy who liked to work. He was a decades-long church board member, a tough cookie---no fun, I'm sure, for the feminists who've gradually taken over the church. No one else took any care of the property. He moved slow, so I helped him out. He'd be over there with his little dog and the Tigers on the radio, fiddling. We'd talk church politics and I'd haul the big stuff. He was a great guy.
The church recently let a Boy Scout kid of theirs organize trail-building on their land for his Eagle badge. He layed his system over a small part of mine. A few people a year use it. They never acknowledged the perfectly maintained system they already had available to them year-round. (I mow it in the summer.)
My family, friends and I use the trail almost daily.
My system is pretty neat, I think. It has a cosmic pattern. You start from the house and ski/run/bike up and down my 600-foot-deep lot, like a sewing machine, moving away from the house in 3 looping passes. Then you start making loops spiraling inward. When you hit the center the trail suddenly flings you out toward the church side. You cross behind the church then hit a 1/2-km loop on the other side. Then come back and end up at our house. I layed out the system to take in all the best views and go up all gradients.
I groom the trails with a homemade box-style tracksetter/snowpacker. The kids ride in it when the snow is deeper. I sometimes have to pack with snowshoes, too. If you trackset whenever it snows a couple inches, it goes easy. More and more neighbors are starting to ski my trails. They kinda know to take turn-offs to not ski right up to the house, but sometimes we notice them gliding right by the windows.
Here are a few views...