Sunday, October 30, 2016

Laurel Reservoir Ruins Exposed

The Stamford Area (actually all of the NY metropolitan area) has had a shortage of rain this year. Warnings on the radio and local news stations remind us to conserve water. The reservoirs are very low.

Of course for me that meant “time to explore”! There might be some historic remnants of yesteryear exposed in the local empty reservoirs! Sure enough - a trip to the Laurel Reservoir revealed quite a few ruins and old roadbeds that were normally underwater.

The map below is a 1947 topo map with the roads from an 1898 map superimposed on top. Old roadways and foundation ruins were photographed and documented where indicated on the map.  It was productive excursion! :-)
1908 Map - showing roads and residences
Note: There was a mill!

A on the map

A stone wall - most probably an embankment support for the old road that went across.

#1 on the Map

Ruins - these are visible from the road as you drive by.

B on the Map

The former road veers off and descends here.
 It continues across the now dry reservoir bed (kinda hard to see thru the trees)

#2 on the Map

I found an extensive array of foundation ruins - even the steps that went into the house!
Note the curvature of the stone fence behind the foundation ruins

C on the map

On the other side of the reservoir - the old road bed was visible as well. Peering out into the semi dry reservoir bed reveals the old roadbed stream crossing and the junction of the two roads...
Enlarge this to see the abutments for the bridge
(stream crossing) 
Here is where the roads intersected

#3 on the Map

Going a little further south - you can see another foundation exposed...


The old road north of the reservoir was visible from Trinity Pass Road (These are a Google Map Street View and Aerial).

Further Info

Apparently I discovered the "Atlantis of New Canaan"!

DantownThe village was at its most robust during the 1850s, as it became renown for producing were baskets, shoes, hard cider and hearty potatoes. In fact, 80 families in the Dantown area were involved in the basket-making trade at its peak.
In 1923, the stone remains of the community were submerged by the water company to make way for a 265-acre lake known as the Laurel Reservoir.
There is reason for this street name :-)

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Woodway, PValley and Sleepy Hollow

Sleepy Hollow Park

I was a beautiful day (midweek) and I wandered over to check out Sleepy Hollow in Springdale. The pond was nice (ducks are highlighted) but the trails are almost non-existent. There is potential here --not for biking - just cut some better trails thru out the woods...
Sleepy Hollow Park - Springdale
Woodway Park
Almost every time I head in here - I see deer. We've kind of stuck up a friendship!
Deer Encounter - Friday Lunch Hour Ride
Deer Encounter - Sunday Late fternnon

Trumbull - Pequonnonck Valley

It's been ages since I been here but I got back for a quick ride on Sunday afternoon. Sadly, the fall colors are past their prime. The leaves were everywhere! It's a good thing I know the trails so well because at times they were almost impossible to see!
The "Burma Road" 
Under the Green Monster
Looking south over Rt 25
Kinda sweet!

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Hawkwood Estate - Burnt Hills, NY

What a brilliant addition to the area’s parks. From my quick ride thru on Sunday morning, it appears that the town is making this a major destination with a large parking lot and a fairly extensive trail system being developed.

I mountain biked in on the White Trail and continued on the Yellow Loop on the back of the park.
Parking Lot
Entrance - White Trail
First Footbridge
The White Trail
Mansion Remnants (orange fencing protects archeological dig)

Historic Photographs

Second Footbridge (too narrow for the bike!)
Yellow Trail
Chimney (different location than the mansion ruins)
Heading back on the long "thoroughfare"
Tree growing thru old car chassis

Further Info

Ballston buys historic Hawkwood property

Hawkwood - PDF (written by Town Historian Rick Reynolds)

History Lesson: The Baker Brothers made their home in Ballston

Hawkwood Photos

Friday, October 7, 2016

909 Bust

I took Friday off to ride 909 on the way up to visit my mother. The weather was absolutely incredible - sunny and in the 70s. Just the shorts and a jersey was all you needed. I decided to finally ride BykHead -- the only time I rode it was years ago with my son.

I parked at the Tyrell lot and made a beeline south on Brockway, veering on Tent. I meant to turn off on Mary Murphy but somehow I missed it :-(.  Once I got to the main dirt road, I turned left and headed uphill past the chimney and found the other side of Mary Murphy (after continuing a bit too far on Anthill!). Mary Murphy is a great trail for XC. I ended looping back and crossed the dirt road to get on BykhHead. Once I got past where the other old log road crosses it (brown trails on the map), I recognized the climb I did with my son ages ago.

It was a tough climb but once the main steep part ends, you are rewarded with a great, great trail. After a bit of exhilarating riding - I hit a small rock and the back wheel froze! Bummer--the axle came out!!

I tried hard to put it all back together but somehow I couldn't. I also wrongly assumed I was missing an end bolt on one side. Can you believe it? I was finally on ByHead again over a decade later and my bike was inoperable - man I was bummed. I had to walk out of the park with the bike.

I tried slinging the back of the bike off the ground with my arm and helmet chin straps, gingerly walking my bike using sticks as an temporary axle to hold the wheel in place and finally simply propped the bike on my shoulder and walked for the next hour and half or so!  It of course felt like an eternity!
BykHead is the best!
These photos can't/don't capture the magic of this trail
Temp solution only!
Man - if only I was riding this!
Carrying my bike for seemingly forever...

Fortunately, I stopped at a great bike shop "Plaine & Son" in Schenectady a few hours later and they were able to fix the bike. :-)