The forest of Nisene Marks State Park is my subject for this post as it is one of my favorite mountain biking places and happens to be very close to my home. Prior to 2004 it was legal to ride the single tracks here, the most impressive in my opinion being the Hoffman Trail. For those whom are not mountain bikers, a single track is a narrow mountain biking trail that is approximately the width of the bike. It contrasts with double track or fire road which is wide enough for four-wheeled off-road vehicles. In addition it is frequently smooth and flowing, but it may also exhibit technical rocky sections, stream crossings, tree roots, super steep slippery slopes etc. You get the idea! Single track riding can be quite challenging from a technical standpoint and requires skill and bravado. Sadly, it is currently illegal to ride these trails, although hiking is allowed. It is my hope that in the near future these trails will be opened to mountain biking once again. It is currently in the works! The forest of Nisene Marks' history is briefly but concisely described here at Wikipedia. As I mentioned in a previous post my deck overlooks the Loma Prieta peak of the Santa Cruz Mountains and I stated this is where the epicenter of the Great Quake of 1989 was. Well it just so happens the exact epicenter, (37.03° N 121.88° W), of this quake resides in this very forest. It is clearly marked and can be hiked or biked to. As a state park it offers camping and day use. You can find details here, at the Santa Cruz State Parks website, or here, at the State Parks area of the ca.gov website. This forest is magical and deserves a visit whether just for a stroll under the redwoods, or for an exhilarating bike ride! One of my favorite things to do while in the forest is hop off my bike and drag out my camera to take images of these fantastic surroundings. I have included a few here for your enjoyment, the first of which depicts a bridge bearing the name "Margaret's Bridge". I have included this image because my Grandmother's name was Margaret and every time I go over this bridge I am struck by fond memories. You will notice there are some "macro" shots, as this area of photography greatly interests me. I am kind of a "pattern junkie". I just love random patterns in nature and art. Also one image is of the bench at the Sand Point Overlook which faces a rewarding vista of the Monterey Bay that pops into view after climbing through a densely forested 7 mile/11.2 kilometer trek to the top of the fire road. I "found" my initials carved into this bench amongst many others. Enjoy!