Last weekend I finally checked out the the rumors that I have been hearing about a new trail at Upper Paugussett State Forest. The first thing I noticed was a new trail directly across from the Mulikin Trail Head. This also happens to be my favorite place to snowshoe in the winter time!
It's really cool back there because it's flat with some little hills and drop offs (4 to 5 feet), rock outcroppings, and bowls. I had also through it would be a great place for another trail because it could connect to the Mulikin Trail Head but I my focus for the past year has been to reroute the Mulikin Trail due to washed out section.
On the ride down the Gussy I kept wondering where this new trail came in and I found it on the ridge that for the old watering hole. The Mulikin Tract, for which Upper Paugussett State Forest was preserved as open space from what was once a big sheep farm and was going to become a golf course and housing development. Some local Newtown Residents, led by Poly Brody worked with the State of Connecticut to get this land set aside and be preserved for ever.
I can see why the route back starts here because riding down the Gussy is fun but riding back up is a lot of climbing. Branching off here lets the rider have an alternate way to get back to boat ramp via the Mulikin Trail. Granted, this spray paint a marker for the trail head is truly unnecessary. If you can't see there is a trail there, you shouldn't be riding a mountain bike!
I only got to ride it in one direction, south to north, and I have to say for someone who probably hasn't been to a trail building course it's still turned out to be a great trail. Riding it was a blast! It has good flow and has a few challenges here and there to make it interesting. There is angular descent at one point that I am still confused as to what the purpose for it is and there are some minor issues that I hope will get sorted out over time.
At the southern section it's really technical and has a lot of rock work that kind of looks hastily laid and kind of loose. Armoring such as this should be more fitted so that the rocks don't shift and slide. For me, this section is pretty tough and knowing the land pretty well not sure why this was picked as the point of origin for the trail. Personally, if this were me, I would have started closer to the Echo Valley Parking Lot because there are some really cool grade changes that would make for a really cool roller coaster, flowy trail that you could tie into an existing trail that goes around east side of the watering hole.
Other issues that I have found include an off camber climb that should be benched, a potentially wet area that will turn into a mud bog when we start getting a lot of precipitation and there is a fall line climb. Funny thing about this climb is through my wanderings back there there are only two ways up to the plateau and this turns out to be the uglier of the two. The better one is a little more subtle and has some features that would make it into a fantastic trail but also requires more planning and work. The climb, though, is not bad and asking for Granny's help shouldn't necessary unless you riding a really heavy bike.