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The Signs

The tale of the Left Hand Canyon trail signs is a story about art. Art in the woods, and corporate timewasting. I had become hopelessly addicted to Left Hand, and I had access to a sweet welder. I thought the broken shovel design fit with the asthetic of the trail system. A system dug by hand with sweat and shovels. My signs would be a tribute to the guys spending their free time out there digging. I started with Indy and Bon Scott since those were the existing trails, quickly followed by Deadass and the RZA GZA sign. The early signs were kind of crappy as I developed my technique. I eventually decided the best way to make the letters was a multistep process. I would lay down a layer of weld, then grind the top smooth, then lay another bead and repeat. I actually carried some of the originals down off the mountain and applied more weld to bring them up to the new standard.
Also the first ones were unpainted and nearly invisible to a passing rider. The new trails started coming fast, I took it as a challenge to get signs up as fast as I could. Several times a new trail opened and I had a sign for it the next time I went out. Each sign can take an hour or more to build. Many were done in one hour over my lunch break. Then covid came and the heavy equipment dealer I was working at slowed to a crawl. No new machines were being produced or delivered. The company was just paying us to hang out. We had to account for our time so I started logging lots of "Welding Training." The broken shovel became the official trail sign of Left Hand. One local rider commissioned me to make his street address sign. I was overjoyed when I saw a sign for Buzzcut and then BDR. These signs were welded shovels that had been created by someone else! Another artist out there was following my design. This proved to me that people liked the design. I have to admit the David Lee Roth guitar was a pretty great design as well. Imaging my surprise when I hauled the David Lee Roth shovel all the way up to the top only to find that the builder had made his own sign.

So I hung mine further down the trail. The David Lee Roth sign was one that I saw for the last time one day and then it was gone the next morning when I rode it again. The angry hiker had begun his reign of terror. I had been off of social media for almost a year when my phone blew up one morning at work. Multiple mountain bike friends were sending me links to a story about the angry hiker. A local hiking enthusiast had decided to wage a one-man war against the Left Hand mountain bikers so he went on Reddit and posted his declaration. He claimed he would tear down all the signs and return the natural beauty to the forest. Notice he didn't haul out any of the beer cans, shot gun shells or other assorted trash left behind from the years of 4x4's and target shooting. Just my signs. By that point I had made signs for Deadass, RZA GZA, Bon Scott, Indy, Straight Edge, Brown Town, Ginger Booty, Black Betty, Jet Moto, David Lee Roth, Skinny Pete, Ol Dirt Bastard, Community College, The Grind,and Start the Party. My unknown partner made the Buzz Cut and Bring Da Ruckas signs. Angry hiker was relentless, I managed to take a couple down and hide them, but he got to most of them. Despite his claim that he hauled the signs out and recycled them, I found one within a hundred feet of it's origional location. So I suspect all the signs are still out there. If you're ever killing time at the start of a trail, poke around in the bushes, you just might recover one of the lost signs of Left Hand. Making art is a struggle, between creating the signs and then hauling them out to their proper locations took hours of commitment. To have my art destroyed like that... now I know how Banksy feels.


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