Sunday, July 30, 2017

BykHead Nivana

On the way back from visiting my mother, I stopped by Taconic 909 late afternoon Sunday. The weather was perfect - sunny but not too hot with a refreshing breeze.

I parked at the Tyrrell lot and rode in on Brockway veering off at Mary Murphy. The great single track took me above the start of BykHead, so I rode on the double track (Horseshoe) and zoomed off down the connector to connect with BkyHead. That first climb is a doozy and although I didn't hike any of it, I did have to stop twice for a breather. Once at the top it was non-stop nirvana - some sections have so much great flow you fly at breakneck speed without a care in the world!

Once I reached the bottom, I rode a bit on the jeep road and veered off the the left on the connector to Mustang and then climbed Mercury (on previous visits I always rode in the opposite direction: descending).

It was a great ride and finally a bit of redemption for me as last time I visited, my bike broke on BykHead and I had to walk it out. Eeech - that was a bummer...

My ride (clockwise)
A brief stop on BykHead - the photo does not do justice to how great this trail is!
At the bottom of Mercury
A brief pause on Mercury
Back at the lot

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Schenectady Central Park and Colonie ...

I was up visiting my mother for the weekend and rode both Schenectady Central Park and the Colonie Shale trail on Saturday.

Schenectady Central Park

This park packs a lot of fun riding in a small area. Tight switchbacks and frequent turns add up to about 5 miles of trails. Although much of it is flat and marshy there are quite a few hills, and boardwalks of all different sizes in the marshy areas to keep it interesting. There are quite a few tight squeezes thru trees and many kinda of unexpected large log up and overs as well. I got clipped on the first tight tree squeeze but learned my lesson and slowed down enough to negotiate all the others without incident.

The section south of the creek channel was really fun. Kudos to the trail builders here--they have built a masterpiece!
This section is super fun!

Colonie Shale Trail

After a complete ride thru the many trail options at Schenectady Central Park, I popped on over to Colonie to ride the Shale trail(s). Much to my surprise, it looks as if the trail system is now legit and there were lots of markers and tags on the trees to indicate where to follow the Yellow Loop.

I rode in the first "long climb" entrance for a change and made it up to the top without incident.
Vestiges of the Halloween night ride are found scattered here and there and it caused quite a few chuckles!
Its real a great place to ride and packs a wallop each time I have been there.

Lastly, I rode west a bit on the rail trail and discovered this secret trail offshoot. Sadly it ended abruptly only a few hundred feet into the woods. Too bad it looked like a gorgeous area. (No trespassing private property signs on the opposite side of the creek probably caused this trail to be abandoned)

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Thacher Park - Hiking and Family Picnnic

We had a family get together picnicking at Thacher Park, NY. We got there early to set up the BBQ and reserve a spot in the Pear Orchard area. I had time for a quick hike. Hope to be back to mountain bike!

The Hike

Looked a bit like driftwood!

The Picnic

Clumsy me - I spilled the pasta salad!
Winding down...

About the Park

A 3-mile- long, 1200-foot-high limestone escarpment southwest of Albany forms the core of the park. The escarpment was formed more than 100 million years ago, when layers of limestone, sandstone, and shale were uplifted and exposed an extraordinary collection of marine fossils.  Details >

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Bennetts- Hemlock Hills Ride

I took a late morning/early afternoon spin up at Bennetts/Hemlock Hills. It was hot and not very breezy but beautiful nonetheless. I parked at the Bennetts Pond lot and took the nice single track down the hill. After scurrying across that narrow footbridge on foot, I climbed up the unblazed trail to Hemlock Hills. Truth be told I was huffing and puffing much of the time and stopped a bit here and there to catch my breath. I'm getting old!!

Once on the Red, I veered off on the first new Green (lots of terrain challenges ) then headed up the hill on the second new Green taking it all the way to the Pink. Next, I rode the Pink all the way to the Blue. What a great trail! This was the first time I had ridden the Pink eastward all the way - some serious tight squeezes here and there! BTW - the blazing on the Red, Green and Pink are all excellent - a big thankful to RCC (and Mike M) for a great job at Hemlock Hills!

Finally, I got on the Blue and made my way back out, reconnecting with the unmarked Purple (much easier going down for sure!) and back up to the lot on the same single track that took me in.

It was only early afternoon and I could had ridden more but I was dripping in sweat and tired so this XC weenie headed on home...

One of my many resting places to catch a breath
(there was a fire pit and big rock to sit on off to the left)

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Rock Work at Pine Mountain

FCNEMBA is building a new trail up Pine Mountain. Today's session was heavy rock work!!
Needless to say, this trail will be awesome when completed...

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Bunker Ruins - Peaks Island

A large completely abandoned military fortification remains unadvertised and obscured by nature on a remote section of Peaks Island near Portland Maine. Completed in 1942 as part of World War II, it was built to protect Casco Bay.

My niece was getting married that night on Peaks Island so it was a great opportunity to explore the ruins with my son. After taking the ferry from Portland, we hiked at a brisk pace for about three miles and found the spot, barely visible among all the overgrowth.
My son forging ahead at a brisk pace
One of three entrances - too wet to enter
We climbed up on top
Nature vs. Man
Up top there were remnants of old ventilation shafts
We found the way in!
Graffiti everywhere...
This is the view from the front that faces the ocean. I believe it was a huge gun turret.
Inside - a long scary walk in the pitch black darkness
A super short video - "Whistling in the Dark"
I meant to whistle the X files theme but Chariot of the Gods and the opening bassoon lick of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring was whistled instead! It was scary but the reverb was awesome!

Hauntingly beautiful!
Returning to the ferry stop, we passed by marshes and a beaver house.

Further info

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Hemlock Hills (scouting out the new loop, etc)

On Saturday, starting from the Ned Mountain Road parking lot, I hiked much of the southern and western part of Hemlock Hills, GPSing trails and taking snapshots of trail intersections.

Part One

Heading South on the Fire Road (Blazed Orange)
Here is the first intersection (trail enters on the left)
On the right is the side Blue Trail
Ah -at the Yellow...
 Up the Yellow

Part Two - At the Hub

Slick Rock
South up the slick rock is now blazed Blue and Green
Heading East at the Hub  - it's now Green (actually a Yellow Green)
The trail on the right is the descent to the Red 
I first headed south over the slick rock and hiked the green loop (which includes the new FCNEMBA-built trail).
Heres where it makes an abrupt turn to the right (new trail!)
Green Blazes...

 Part Three - Back to the Red

Intersection (where the Ryan-led section was built [4-8-17] )
Intersection (where the Dave-led section was built [4-8-17] )
Heading north on the Dave-led 4-8 trail it meets the XC trail.
This will be blazed pink.
 Back at the Hub  I took the trail that descends to the Red
Looking up towards the Hub
 The Big Rock on the Red
Freakin' Awesome here - its like you are in Middle Earth!

Along the north of the Lake

Parking Lot
Joining up with the Orange

 Part Four - West Side of Hemlock Hills

Turning Left onto the Green-Yellow Fire Road
Trail  on left joins Fire Road
Fire Road (blazed Green-Yellow) is straight ahead
GreenYellow Trail (Fire Road)
Here is where the trail on left joins the FireRoad
First trail off to the the right is blocked
Tree Down!
 Turning right off the FireRoad
Here's the turn off on the right to get back on the single track going north
Looking back at the first next intersection
Looking bro the side at the next intersection
The side trail (photo above) parallels the main trail and joins it ahead near the rocky hill
Here's where they join (looking back)
Footbridge #1
Footbridge #2
A couple of panoramas taken on the Green-Yelow Trail (not blazed) heading north

Blue Offshoot
This is the decent on the Blue offshhot
I finally finished up back to the Ned Mountain Road parking lot and headed home.. I will rebuild the trail map inventory, updating it with GPS tracks taken today...