Sunday, August 28, 2022

Litchfield Dirty Thirty

Climbing Blakeslee Road

Last fall, Mike and I rode what I called the Litchfield Hills Roubaix in which we rode from Roxbury to Thomaston and then back through Litchfield and we just scratched surface of all the dirt roads between Roxbury and Route 8. I decided to come back and try a few more.

Starting from White Memorial I rode out the trails out to Whites Wood Road. Technically, First Dirt, occured in the parking lot and the ride down to the bridge over the Bantam River.

The first dirt road was on Webster Rd.

Last year we avoided coming up Pitch Road from the other direction. From this approach it's really steep and the gravel is really rough.

A dead end for cars but not for bikes!

After the gate it's pretty rideable

Until it ends in a bog

But there is a trail that skirts around

It has some tech but overall pretty good to ride

The sections of trail through the pine forests are exceptionally buff

This pond, due to beaver activity, is what ruined the road

After the pond, the Trail goes down hill pretty fast, both figuratively and literally

The outlet for the pond has taken over the old Pitch Road

 Creating a Napoleon's Death March section

 Once you get past the pipes the trail is quite nice

and gets better and better as you descend

When hit the intersection with Chestnut Hill, Pitch Road continues south on some real Hero Gravel

Then it's a nice descent along the Pitch Reservoir

And then the Morris Reservoir

Popping out onto Rt 109 I descended down to Moosehorn Road and started climbing again. My route had me continuing right at this intersection on Moosehorn but seeing this nice gravel right here was too much to turn down so I went off script on Wigwam Road.

The gravel ends when you leave the water company property and then a mile further I turned right onto Whiskers Lane and picked up my route only going the opposite direction.

This way took me over to Northfield and big paved climb up to Route 254.

The view from the top of hill was outstanding

I was on Rt 254 for 3/4s of a mile and then turned onto Blakesee Rd which took me back to Wigwam

Looking back down Wigwam

Blakeslee does a dogleg over Wigwam and then there's this great dirt road descent

That's always a good sign

After the last stream crossing Blakeslee starts climbing 

It's quite a climb up to East Chestnut Hill Road.
Making the right it reminded me of the other Chestnut Hill Road on the other side of the reservoir

The toughest climb of the ride was Richards Rd Ext

Continuing on Richards Rd Ext there appears to be a road on the map but it was posted No Trespassing so I detoured around it

and found a really good dirt road named Jefferson Hill Rd S

Which leads into Topsmead State Forest

The road starts out nice but then gets progressively sandy

There were also a lot of hoof prints in the sand and a lot of road apples, too

Then I came to four way intersection and decided to head towards the center of the park

Looking west

Looking east

I found a port-a-potty in the parking lot and took an urgent call with Mr Hanky
and then rolled down to Buell Road and then picked up my course again and rode up this road back to the four way intersection I rode through earlier.

 While descending the dirt road to Rt 118 there was a well defined track with a lot more hoof prints.  
Turns out there's an outfit that runs horseback tours into Topsmead.

Off of Chestnut Hill there is a dual tracked trail that descends down to the Bantam River

I found this by looking at the White Memorial Map and noticing this old road connected Chestnut Hill to South Street

It's definitely a unicorn for these parts

and brings you to a bridge that crosses the Bantam River

I brought the fender thinking if I didn't bring it I would need it and if I brought it I wouldn't need it. It was way to too dry out and was totally unecessary

The Bantam River is looking pretty low

The climb out was steep but no trouble at all.
Just watch out for the waterbars. I stayed in the middle and it was much easier.

Coming out onto South Street it just looks like someone's driveway

You might be able to make the gate in the shade which marks the entrance to the preserve

I saw signs for a new rail trail on the old Shepaug Railroad and I was getting a little burnt out after yesterday's ride so I found the trail

 But it was only about a mile long.
It looks like there are plans to connect this section to other side of Bissel Road

This section ends at Whites Wood Road

I rode the trails through White Memorial

and then popped out onto Bissel Road and checked out the continuation of the rail trail

The rail trail parallels Rt 202 for a 3/4s of a mile and ends at North Shore Road

I headed over to the Bantam Market and picked up a beer to have with my lunch at the parking lot.

1 comment:

Ken said...

never noticed that trail that connects east chestnut to south! Can't wait to check it out