Monday, July 4, 2016

Waldo (finally!) and Upper Gussy


I finally made it up to Waldo -- it's great place to ride! Bikers in the parking lot told me where the trail started otherwise, I might have missed it.
Trail heads are here...
I rode down Where's Waldo--the Red Trail---and at times I thought I was at Kingdom Trails--the flow was so good... A nice mix of up and downs and lots of smooth (and sharp) curves and switchbacks on the climbs made it a pleasure to ride. Thank you Paula Burton - this place is a work of art! :-)
Where's Waldo Trail Descent

Photos don't really capture the flow of fun....
Of course, once by the Lake -- the peaceful beauty is overwhelming.
Lake Lillinonah
I mistakenly started back up on a bootleg trail heading north right along the shore (red dashes on the map) but realized this wasn't correct and found my way back to the Purple Trails (Extra Credit, etc.) and rode back up that way. Once again, 95% of the trails had doable climbs and there where plenty of terrain challenges along the way.
A nice rocky section
I did get a bit confused at this section (panorama below - it is the roller #6 on the map) but realized "Thing 2" lead around back of this (on the left) and made my way back to the parking lot  -- a little winded but glad to have ridden here for sure. Just gotta come back and ride the Yellow and White next time!

Sandy Hook

Surprisingly there is very little commercial activity for a wide swath in the area (especially being a holiday nothing was open!) but I found a Subway open right in the adorable town of Sandy Hook and sat at a shady park bench next to the rocky stream right nearby. One cannot be in this area and NOT think about the terrible shooting tragedy the Town's name is now synonymous with. It was an absolutely horrible event - such a charming, quaint peaceful little village scarred forever by senseless gun violence....
Downtown SandyHook
The stream runs right through here and all the stores have decks overlooking the rocky streamed 

Upper Gussy

Well since I was in the area, I thought I'd go and ride Upper Gussy. as it has been years since I rode here. My very first trail maintenance session was here with Mark Lurie and Paula Burton.

You drive in on Sanford Road and it is a skinny bumpy potholed dirt road -- kinda rough on the car but thankfully the parking lot was not too far.

I remembered the loop: ride up the Poly Brody Fire Road until you see the turn for Upper Gussy and ride all the back on Gussy.

But it is confusing now as there are a lot more trails in the network and blazes do NOT exist at intersections. Thank God I ran into a biker who straightened me out twice as to where to go.

The trail itself is nice but not as well traversed as Waldo and as mentioned: confusing as there are quite a few connecting trails and skimpy and/or nonexistent blazes at all the interactions. Most of the time I relied upon gut instinct and a vague memory to continue on the main trail.

I even missed the turn off on the Blue back to the parking lot and rode on the brown trail (as indicated on the map) for quite a way until I felt it was wrong.

The descent into the parking lot is quite steep and I was exhausted (it was hot and I was bummed about being confused much of the time).


Waldo is phenomenal. Upper Gussy needs blazes and both my map and DEEP's are equally inadequate...

Sunday, July 3, 2016

From the Serengeti to the Huntington Mica Mines

Saturday at Trumbull - Pequonnock Valley

White Trail in the Serengeti

Sunday at Huntington

I parked in the Upper Dodgingtown parking lot and zoomed on down to the lower lot before hitting the Burn Loops. I then decided to venture up north and check out the mica mine. I was only here once before - literally ages ago with my son. It was kinda cool checking it out knowing that ages ago, mica was actively mined here.
I guess the sign was for the mica mine when it was active
One of the pits
Mica was scattered everywhere - glistening in the sunlight
Hard to tell from the photo but this is pretty big...
Oo yeah - nice trail - part of the mica mines rim loop
There are trails that encircle all around the mica pits... 
Couldn't resist snapping this shot from my handlebars...
This is the trail out of the area (heading northeast)
The next section of riding had some really nice flowing trails but then on the circle back... a huge climb. Ouch!

Then I headed further north and explored the northern-most white trails(s). Although I was trying to find the old chimney, I ended up at the extreme north off the park near a farmhouse. Yikes!! I had no idea how I got there! This detour wasn't in my plans! NOTE: Even the trail itself shows up on a Google Map aerial.
End of the line!

It was a long slog back up going southward but I eventually found my way back to the Blue Trail and headed back across the Pipeline trail past the parking lot and back to more familiar territory. 

I stopped to chow down on an apple at this scenic spot overlooking the lake and snapped a photo of the little lighthouse.
The mini lighthouse on the lake
After riding both the South Pond and South Park trails, I headed on north on Rock and Roll to check on the new boardwalks and armoring by FCNEMBA. It was great!

Finally along a really scenic stretch of Rock and Roll that's right at the lake edge - I reluctantly stopped (the flow was nice) because the lighthouse looked great in the sun and I wanted a photo.

Huntington is really a great spot and certain trails and section really kick my butt. It's a bit of a longer haul to get up here but I really should do it more often!

Further Historical Info

Not too much is found online about the Mica Mine but it was known as Biermann's Quarry.