Tuesday, June 17, 2008

To the Lake and Back

Yesterday's ride at Upper Paugussett might have been the longest I have done in the State Forest to date. It lasted 2.5 hours and I covered 8 miles! I hit just about everything include the Brody Road climbs, Upper Gussy, the old road that turns into Al's Trail, Al's Trail, and Mulikin Trail. I did the whole ride on my Fetish Fixation, which is a single speed and has a rigid fork. So, I felt every bump and was tested on every climb. Still, like the 29er, the 69er performed flawlessly.

Still can't tell whether there are fresh ATV tracks entering across from Silver City or not. I thought I saw fresh tracks entering the yellow trail, though. I think I am going to have to ride the horse trail to see where the tracks lead. When Tom and I walked in that way earlier this spring there wasn't any apparent damage from the ATV over the winter.

Started out on the Brody Road. Cleaned every climb up the Brody Road till the Upper Gussy Trail Head. In fact I thought it was pretty easy on the Fixation. It's all in the rigid fork! Rolled everything that I have been doing on the other bikes, when it comes to the stunts along the trail. In fact, I found another roller right off of the bucket. It appears there might be an old skidder path heading up the slope. Follow that for a couple of yards and then turn southwest and keep some rock outcroppings on your right and you'll come to this one.

I rolled it for the first time on the fixation and it was a lot different on the Fixation, in fact I think I would have preferred some squish because of the roots near the tranny.

Next to that one (on the left) is an even bigger one but I will save that for the Qball or the 'Horse.

Headed down the old road to the lake because I wanted to find where those kids were swimming and I think I found it. However between the The Beach and the trail there is a cut that I couldn't quite figure out. It's too wide for an old rail road and where would it have gone? Was someone trying to connect the Shepaug Line to the Main Line that went through Hanover North and Sandy Hook Station?
It seems too high up for it to have been a re-routing of the Housatonic for the construction of the Shepaug Dam so I have to think that it was another road. I will have to come back when the power company drops the lake in the fall to see where this goes.

A couple of rides ago I passed by what I thought were three high school kids walking up the Old Road with towels and I figured they were swimming somewhere on the shores of the forest. Well, I think I found that swimming area today. Found this little bench someone made from driftwood which overlooks the The Beach. It's not a true beach with sand, it's just not rocky and it stays pretty shallow for a while.

There are some nice views from this section
Below you are looking up river

Here The Beach is in the foreground and you are looking over at George Waldo State Park

Through the trees you can see the Shepaug Dam

Here is a close up of the Shepaug Dam off in the distance.

Above is where the forest road at Waldo State Park comes to the water's edge. If you look closely, you will see two people on that side
I think they were swimming - below is the shot blown up

I found a little bypass around another section of the trail that went up an embankment that was unrideable, however, when I came out on the trail, I wasn't which way to head to the Kissing Oaks. After going up and down the trail a few times I figured out that I had to continue north even though it felt like I was past the oaks and heading down the other leg of Al's Trail. Got the oaks and took a picture of the Fixation against the tree. There is a box there with a log in it. Also from this point, there is an unofficial letter box somebody hid in the forest.

So it looks like I am creating a composite map of Upper Paugussett State Forest. Looks like all I need to do now is ride the two trails on the west side of the forest, the section down to the bottom of Albert's Hill and the north side of Al's Trail and I will have a complete map of just about all the trails in the forest. I know of some others but I won't ride them in the summer due to the ticks and they really don't go anywhere.

Here are the same trails on the 1953 Topography Map which I think is a little finer detailed then what comes off of GPSVisualizer. It's probably due to two things: (1) The background map from GPSVisualizer is set for 50% opacity and; (2) I think the original wasn't scanned at the top most resolution. The historical maps from the University of NH LIBRARY of Historic USGS Maps of New England & NY I think were scanned at a much higher resolution.

As you can see the 1953 topo doesn't show anything man made appearing where the swimming hole is. I have marked on this map where the hike-a-bikes are located and trust me, there is no way you riding these sections of the trail. I did find, however, a bypass of the first hike-a-bike which, if I had to venture a guess was done originally by horse back riders. The picture below is a quarter of the way up the first hike-a-bike where it starts to get really nasty.

From what I have heard there used to be a trail for horses that followed the edge of the lake and I strongly doubt they went the route Al took. In fact why would someone route a trail up these climbs is beyond me, guess I think too much like a mountain biker. I wonder what other trails may be hidden in the forest.

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