On the trail of something good
Now that we live on the edge of Adirondack Park and in an area renowned for its trails and outdoor activities, I decided to convert my Marin Hamilton 29er back over to its trail riding set-up and check out some local trails.
Acting on a tip from a local I gave the Barnes Corners Skiing trails a try. Word was these hugely popular cross country ski trails made for good mountain bike action in the summer months.
I took Home Run (a gravel road) from the parking area up to the far end of Snowbird then followed Snowbird back around to the parking area. The total loop was only a little less than 3 miles. Unfortunately the trails are not maintained during the summer and without regular use they had completely overgrown with blackberry brambles 2+ feet tall so thick they completely obscured the trail and all the rocks, roots, fallen trees, etc. I scouted a few other trails and, after finding them all to be in the same condition, decided I valued my skin and my neck too much, gave up and called it a day.
Today I made the run down to the Winona State Forest about 20 minutes south of Adams. This is another winter sports hot spot but my research revealed that the majority of the trails are used by ATV-ers in the summer months. Sure enough, the trails were very well maintained and marked with essentially a side-by-side single track configuration (from the ATVs). The center and sides of the trails had a lot of undergrowth but it was pretty easy to hop the berm between the tire tracks to avoid the occasional blackberry vine or large rock.
Originally I started off from the parking area at the Pussycat trailhead and headed south towards the Frank’s Fancy trail with the plan to take the Winona Way trail out and back. Frank’s Fancy was great fun with lightly rolling terrain and moderately technical with a fair number of baseball to softball sized and shaped rocks strewn about. After about 3 miles I was just getting warmed up when I got to the Winona Way trailhead and discovered the trail was closed for logging. I continued up the trail thinking maybe it would be clear on a Sunday but immediately ran into felled trees across the trail about 100 yards in.
Since I didn’t have a trail map with me I decided to backtrack on the main (dirt) road to the parking area and consult the trail map posted there. The road was pretty much straight uphill the whole way back (about another 3 miles) and with my single speed I struggled to stay on top of my gearing. To add insult to injury the deer flies quickly descended upon me to take advantage of my plodding pace.
Back at the parking area and free from the deer flies I decided to give the Pussycat/Bronze trail a try. What a blast! I pounded 2.5 miles out to Marsh Road on a roller coaster of a well-used dual track ATV trail. At Marsh Road I was ready to continue out via the Musher Ridge trail but I had already been on the bike for 45 minutes and didn’t want to bonk out in the middle of nowhere and end up so much deer fly fodder. So, I backtracked the 2.5 miles back the Bronze trail to the parking area at breakneck pace that I found rather startling! I adopted a loose grip on the bars and just floated over the rocks like I used to before suspension forks stole the show.
The Hamilton clearly isn’t a true off-roader but equipped with a pair of 2.3″ wide knobbiest and 20T sprocket it certainly was fun! I know I will trash it pretty quick if I keep this up. However, its full-rigid single-speed simplicity offers a purity that instantly transported me back to 1991 and riding my original Klein Rascal down the Bartram Trail in Auburn. And that’s really saying something!!
UPDATED with Winona Forest trail and deer fly picts!