Monday, August 26, 2019

Perry Hill - 2019

On Monday I returned to Perry Hill - on my agenda was to play my pocket flute, ride the new trail we discovered yesterday and of course finish the day with a bomb down Campfire.

The tunnel under the interstate highway was a perfect spot to play my small Native American flute as the echo is awesome.

Pocket Flute

A short improvisation on a small Native American Flute inside the tunnel - natural reverb!


Truth be told, it was a struggle up the main trail - its a freaking tough climb and this mid 60s aging old man had to mix hike-a-bike with riding :-(  But once in the "fernland area" off to the right, which is super flat, I regained my dignity!

Since I never saw any of these trails on any trail map I decided to GPS them.
red lines and green line are trails that I GPSed


The confusion on our hike yesterday was that I was unaware of the new trail that snakes way down to almost the interstate level. A few years back - I rode down a long gully but although it still exists, the trail has been rerouted to an awesome long series of switchbacks. There were some really tight corners I had to slow down and dab - otherwise I'd go over the edge!  It is truly an amazing work of art - as are so many of the trails here...
The Deep Stream Crossing
I stopped to snap pics of the deep stream crossing.Its about 8 feet deep and probably etched deep in the last couple of years due to the excessive rain we've had in the Northeast.
Destination - Outcropping
Well I finally made it to the scenic outcropping I meant to show on my hike yesterday - it was longer to get there than I expected!
The Old Gully
I turned around and on the way back, I snapped a photo of the gully that used to be the trail.

Heading up the Mountain

Lastly - once on the main trail - I turned off to climb this new trail I was unfamiliar with to get to Campfire. Needless to say, it was incredible!


Seeing this sign was like finding an oasis while trekking for a long time in the desert -- I was elated!
There are of course no pics of the downhill bomb (that would ruin the flow!!) but I remembered the clearing from years back so I rested I bit in the shade and snapped this pic.

 At the River

Finally after the amazing descent - my adrenaline was still pumping so I bombed around the little pump track for a bit and then checked out the riverside--accessible from the parking lot.

Perry Hill never ceases to amaze me - the incredible trails,  the stunning scenery, the lush greenery. As long as I can ride (heck as long as I can walk!!), I will return here once a year to partake of its beauty....

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Adventures with the Ashtons

I awoke early Sunday Morning and walked to the Trapp Family "wedding platform" to play my Native American flutes. The residual fog in the valley is always beautiful.
What's cool is I actually had a musical "conversation" with a hawk. As I played the flute (with backing tracks from my cellphone channelled thru a mini battery-powered amp), I heard the strange noises that I wasn't used to hearing. I stopped the backing tracks and played solo flute. Sure enough, a hawk would call back to me only if I played a certain set of notes. If I stopped playing, no response. If I played the lower register of notes - no response.  But if I played notes in the mid to high register - the hawk would caw back!

Perry Hill

Next I went to my favorite riding spot: Perry Hill/Rasta Mtn in Waterbury. This time not to bike but to give my extended Family (my sister and the Ashtons) a mini hiking tour of the place.

As mentioned a few years back, they built a sculpted reroute of this section of the trail. Here's a comparison

Years ago
this crazy steep section is now blocked off and the trail turns to the right
The ascent on a bike is still a ball buster but as you can imagine... the descent is pure nirvana!
We veered off the descent at the aptly-named Disneyland section of the park and enjoyed the incredible ambiance of trees, ferns and the play of sunlight on all of the greenery. I played flute to the squirrels and Rick generously took the time to film me - a couple of snippets will be eventually posted on YouTube.
I tried to take them down a gully I remembered that led to a very picturesque rock outcropping but there was a new trail put in since my last visit that confused me so we turned around at this point. Needless to say, the new trail is another masterpiece which I have put on my agenda to ride.


Lastly, Rick Ashton is such a kindred spirit and a fellow railroad enthusiast! We spotted what looked like railroad cars way down on a siding and had to go check them out.

Great fun was had by all...

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Brattleboro Rocks!

On my annual end-of-August pilgrimage to Stowe VT, I decided to stop and ride the Retreat Trails in Brattleboro. I've ridden them twice before. Once, ages ago with my son we wandered around the section by Cedar St. and only a few years back I rode up from the Retreat Farm on Morningside Trail. This time I decided to start from the entrance up on Upper Dummerson Road.

It was a little weird at the start because the trail was roped off (no photo) but I ducked under the rope and rode uphill for a long stretch along the edge of a field. There were a short jaunt through the woods and over a bridge and I ended up in another field. My intention to take the Ice Road Trail all the way to the Pond. Once I hit the dirt trail tread in the woods, I realized my back tire pressure was low but I had no desire to ride back down to pump it up (I keep a pump in the car) so I forged on with caution...
short woods jaunt (there's a bridge ahead)
But where next to go was a complete confusion and I ended up down on a lower section of Morningside! There was no signage and no trail tread to follow over the fields.@$#@#@
lower section of Morningside
But after riding back up and trying another choice I didn't end up on Ice Road (my intention) but a well-traversed section of Morningside. It was stunningly beautiful so I thought: what the heck  - just enjoy the detour!  :-)
I rode up on Morningside and Roundabout (not really sure where I was half the time!) but Idid finally end up at my intended destination: the Ice Pond.
The ride back down on Ice Road was freakin' awesome - single track with many sections of serious flow. It's a great place to ride and next year I plan on spending more time here.


Of course any visit to Brattleboro is not complete without a burger and beer at Whetstone  - it’s an old converted mill right on the river next to the railroad tracks - very cool!!


I arrived at the Trapp Family Lodge later than intended but I did get a short ride in on the easy lower trails. The evening sunlight on the beech trees was beautiful!!

Sunday, August 18, 2019

The Serengeti Gets A Trim!

It was brutally humid and hot so I decided to do a bit a trail maintenance rather than ride. Needless to say cutting the overgrowth in the sun in mid afternoon was still exhausting...

The "Burma Road"

 Before (July)...
Today (after trimming

The Blue/White Trail Across the Field:

Before (July)

 Today (before trimming)
Trimming started...

Trimmed Section (whew!)

At the Intersection where Blue and White Diverge

Kevin Malone went in on Saturday and trimmed this section (thank you Kevin!!)

Before (July)

Observations Elsewhere

Before (April)
Today - Much drier finally!!!

Here's one way to cross from the Rail Trail (Hah!)