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Dude, we live on the East Coast, man. All the trails to the east are under water. Yeah, dude! Scuba tanks and sealed bearings, though, and hey...!
Sure, there are the islands but they're really kinda' small, and you'll start tearin' up wildlife in about half an hour because you're so bored. And the ferry charges your bike the same price as it charges you for the ride, maybe even more this year!
The thing about islands: you can't leave when you want... and bikes don't swim too good, dude!
There are some neat, little sections of old school trail all over the East End, but not enough that it's worth the jaunt getting there if you're looking to trail ride. The trails don't lead you to much of anywhere, except the ocean (see trail description above). But if you're already in the neighborhood, or beginning or ending a ride, hey, why not...?
Shailer Banking off North Street is cut off to direct riding by a wooden rail fence, but the view from the benches at Fort Sumner Park - spanning from the Fore River to the White Mountains on a clear day - is worth the climb to the top of Munjoy Hill.
A little scramble off Walnut Street, behind the elderly housing complex on North Street has been ruined because creeps were hiding in the bushes! This trail, which has seen generations of children walking to and from Jack Elementary School, has been cut off (click photo). A cyclone fence and "No Trespassing" sign now greet you at the end of the dirt way. But a hole in the fence to the left still lets in children - and creeps - but it keeps out bikes. The Munjoy Hill Neighborhood Organization was supposed to be addressing this and reopening trail access, but I haven't heard anything and it's been a while.
Climb the remaining mound from the old reservoir next to the softball field on North Street for a lovely view before taking the scary-fast descent (click photo) off the steep side. The lip of the drop-off has been worn in well and is not as intimidating. Some fair-sized rocks make the descent more interesting. Be ready to hit the brakes, too, as the street below comes up quickly. Remember, just because these little sections are in the midst of the city doesn't mean they're not challenging or dangerous! This area has been slated for some sort of housing project for years, but thankfully nothing stupid has sprouted yet!
A deceptively steep, hidden downhill - behind the newly-completed memorial to Korean war hero Charles Loring- at CB Circle is super-slippery when wet and it takes you to the dead end of Marginal Way and the head of the new Eastern Promenade Trail which was recently designated as part of the nationwide East Coat Greenway. This area will eventually be connected to the Back Cove path, allowing for extended off-road commuting and recreation!
The dirt rail bed that used to run along the East End Beach was more fun on a bike - and easier on runners' legs than tar - and then you didn't have to worry about out-of-control inline skaters. But for some reason, small projects need to turn into big ones when money gets involved, and this one was typically overdone. There's even a new, big yellow trail phone to add to the scenery! Just like on a regular city street... hmmm. You should e-mail Portland Trails and find out how they plan on handling future "trail" projects - and give them your idea of what a trail should be! I thought it meant more than the tarmac path running between subdivisions...
At least there's one remaining section of the old-school shoreline singletrack running from LSD Rock to Fisherman's Hang... yippee...
Another downhill from the Eastern Prom to the waterfront near Fort Allen was a super little thrill, but now it's totally fenced-in. An almost-invisible, dark-green cyclone fence that my dog ran into (click photo) has turned this recently clear-cut section of coastal woods into a back yard for a bunch of people living in fear. But the trail will find a way around... Most of the woods through here - presumably under the ownership of the infamous, view-blocking high-rise named the Portland House - were all clear-cut last year - and it looks miserable. Aren't there state laws about taking down trees close to a shoreline? What about erosion control? What a sight that will be seeing the high-rise wash down the steep banking into the Atlantic Ocean!
If I remember right, the high rise was the intruder a few decades back, not the residents of Portland enjoying their promenade...
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