Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Naugatuck State Forest

Date: 2/25/2015
Report Type: TA Report
Trail Name: Naugatuck State Forest
Town: Oxford (and a tiny bit of Beacon Falls)
Trail Conditions: Snowy

Observations/Information: Cabin fever finally got the best of me so I went for a quick ride this morning @ Naugy (West Block). Atypical of me, I waited until after nine instead of riding at first light cuz single-digits+breeze. In (and out) at the Pines Bridge (Rt 42) gate.

The snowmobiles had been through, and wherever they had been was (for the most part) sufficiently packed down to be rideable. This, of course, means the fire roads. There were some other places they hadn't been but there was sufficient foot traffic, but be forewarned that riding these is like riding skinnies: on either side you'll be in up to your knees. (I made the mistake of trying to follow a XC ski track under the power lines by Res 4 and found myself Maxpedition-pack-side down, leg trapped by the bike, doing my very best upside-down turtle impression - the more I thrashed the more stuck I got.)

Friday, February 13, 2015

TM Report: West Rock Ridge SP

Date: Feb. 13, 2015
Report Type: TM Report
Trail Name: West Rock Ridge SP
Town: New Haven
Trail Conditions: Deep snow

Observations/Information: I met with a representative from a private school that is interested in having students help with trail work. They plan to start once the weather warms. I told them to focus on cutting invasive plants and picking up litter. While I was there, I walked a circuit, out on the Red Trail and back on the Teal Trail. I cut lots of vines and pricker bushes on the Teal Trail. I pruned mountain laurel on both trails. I cut a blowdown on the Red Trail that would normally be at knee height, but it was buried under snow. The Red Trail was packed down by boots, as was the Teal Trail near Westville, but some of the time I was post-holing through the snow, as snowshoes are definitely not compatible with the trailwork I was doing. Baldwin Drive is plowed for access to the antennas, so that is one option for biking. Red is one of the designated biking trails at West Rock. I have suggested to the state that they open up the Teal to mountain biking, as that trail is an old carriage road. There is still a 24-inch diameter red oak across the Red Trail by the Teal Trail. I asked the state if they can cut this, which they will do at some point. The tree has been down since 2012, and a well-used trail has been created around the root ball.


Trail Ambassador Name: Tom Ebersold
Trail Ambassador E-mail: bikehikekayak123 [at] sbcglobal [dot] net
How did you use the trail? Hiking/Walking
Trails Ridden: Red and Teal
Time of day: Afternoon
Time/Duration (hours): 4.5
Approximate Distance (Miles): 2
Image 1: Baldwin Drive plowed.jpg
Image 2: Red Tr., big red oak, 2-15.jpg
Image Description(s)/Instructions: Baldwin Drive is plowed.
This red oak is across the Red Trail.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Winterfest 2015

Update 1/29/2015: Forecast calls for COLD, so dress appropriately!

Update 1/26/2015: Saturday,1/31 at 10 AM  Central CT NEMBA will still be holding Winterfest at Rockland.  Bike tours will now be xc ski and snowshoe tours.  Fat bikes will be welcome, though there will be no grooming and it is unlikely that they will work.  Pizza will still be served and there is no charge for this event.  Please continue to watch for updates on this blog and Facebook. 

Central CT NEMBA and Singletracks of Rockland are teaming up for a day of play in the cold on Saturday, January 31, 2015. Led rides. pizza, and cold weather fun. Last year was great and we had about 70 riders. This year should be at least as many, weather permitting.

Guided rides leave at 10 AM. Pizza to follow. Donations to Singletracks of Rockland appreciated.

Poor riding conditions will postpone - updates on CCTNEMBA's Facebook and here on the blog.

Where: Rockland Preserve, 99 Renee's Way, Madison, CT
When: Saturday, January 31, 2015

Helmets required for all riders.

Singletracks of Rockland: http://www.madisonct.org/i3/rockland/sor.html
SoR Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MadisonTrailmakers

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Naugatuck State Forest

Date: 1/25/2015
Report Type: TA Report
Trail Name: Naugatuck State Forest
Town: Oxford (and a tiny bit of Beacon Falls)
Trail Conditions: Snowy (not deep but dense)

Observations/Information: Took my Sunday AM first light ride @ Naugy (West Block). Parked at Old Litchfield Turnpike and entered at the Route 42 gate. Proceeded past Res 2, up to the little loop, then back down across the Res 3 dam, down and around #2 and out.

Snowy. No surprise given Saturday's weather, but with the melting that occurred, the stuff on the ground, while only a couple/few inches deep, was mighty dense. It was like pedaling through marshmallow fluff. Most places mine were the only tracks, sometimes joining a set of foot and paw prints (frozen over, indicating they were made yesterday afternoon). Twas a slog, and I stopped several and many times to give my lungs a break.

Northeast on the fire road loop around Res 2, it looks like the water is avoiding one of the rip-rap crossings and is instead traveling fifty feet or so east along the trail before crossing it at a low spot. If it is so, I'm concerned how this will perform in the spring.

Only other users present were a few people ice fishing on Res 1. There were sled tracks down the trail and onto Res 3, but it looks like they had left (footprints pointing back out).

Much easier riding on the way out, atop my own tracks.



Trail Ambassador Name: John Joy
Trail Ambassador E-mail: jmj [at] savagejoy [dot] com
How did you use the trail? MT Biking
Trails Ridden:
Time of day: Morning
Time/Duration (hours): 1:30
Approximate Distance (Miles): 3.6

Naugatuck State Forest

Date: Jan. 25, 2015
Report Type: TA Report
Trail Name: Naugatuck State Forest
Town: Hamden
Trail Conditions: Snowy

Observations/Information: I led an AMC hike through the forest. Trails were covered in firm snow. There was a mountain bike track in many places, including on the Blue-Blazed Quinnipiac Trail where bikes are now allowed. We saw a teenager on an ATV and when he stopped, I told him he wasn't supposed to be there. He was polite and pleaded ignorance, saying he rode in from the neighborhood. I nipped back some overhanging birch and beech branches on the White Trail. I hope to find the time next summer to reblaze as the blazes are quite faded.

Some hikers rescued the bridge over Brooksvale Stream that had washed downstream a year ago. The bridge used to be about 100 yards north of the gas pipeline. Now it is about a quarter mile past that point. Look for the stone chimney on the hill and the bridge is just below it. See photos.


Trail Ambassador Name: Tom Ebersold
Trail Ambassador E-mail: bikehikekayak123 [at] sbcglobal [dot] net
How did you use the trail? Hiking/Walking
Trails Ridden: White and others
Time of day: Afternoon
Time/Duration (hours): 3 hours
Approximate Distance (Miles): 5 miles
Image 1: Bridge.jpg
Image 2: Chimney.jpg

Saturday, January 17, 2015

TM Report: West Rock Ridge SP

Date: Jan. 17, 2015
Report Type: TM Report
Trail Name: West Rock Ridge SP
Town: Hamden
Trail Conditions: Generally clear

Observations/Information: I cleared various invasive plant species along the Red-White Trail near Farm Brook Reservoir with help from a friend. We cut about 100 Asiatic bittersweet vines, plus plenty of Lycra-tearing multi-flora rose, and autumn olive. While clearing the invasives, we discovered an old road paralleling a large stone wall near the reservoir. I am asking the state if I can relocate the Red Trail to this location. More invasives needs to be cleared so this project would not be completed for another few months, plus i can't blaze until the weather is much warmer.

The Red Trail currently heads north from Mountain Road along a gravel road. The gravel road ends at Farm Brook Reservoir, but the Red Trail continues across the field and up the ridge. The problem is that people can't follow the Red Trail easily because there are no blazes in the field between the end of the gravel road and where the Red Trail enters the woods to head up the ridge. The field gets overgrown in the summer, so it is hard to follow and there is the risk of lots of ticks.


I also collected three buckets worth of litter from the trails and the Hill Street parking area. Afterwards I led a hike on the Red-White trail up to the ridge on Yellow and returning on the Red Trail. The trails had minimal ice and snow, except for occasional patches. There was a crust of ice and snow on Baldwin Drive. There were some dramatic ice flows across the rocks. We saw ice fishermen on the reservoir and a group of college students playing hockey.

Trail Ambassador Name: Tom Ebersold
Trail Ambassador E-mail: bikehikekayak123 [at] sbcglobal [dot]net
How did you use the trail? Hiking/Walking
Trails Ridden: Red-White and Red
Time of day: Afternoon
Time/Duration (hours): 7
Approximate Distance (Miles): 5
Image 1: West Rock, old road by Farm Brook Res. w. vines, 1-15.jpg
Image 2: West Rock, Farm Brook Res. ice fishermen, 1-15.jpg
Image 3: West Rock, Red Tr., ice flow on rocks, 1-15.jpg
Image Description(s)/Instructions: An old road near Farm Brook Reservoir, ice fishermen on the reservoir, and ice flows by the Red Trail.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Quillinan Reservoir

Date: Jan. 11, 2015
Report Type: TA Report
Trail Name: Quillinan Reservoir
Town: Seymour/Ansonia
Trail Conditions: Blown clear or icy

Observations/Information: I led an AMC hike today. I had explored this area last winter and created a GPS map for myself with waypoints. Since last year, I see that the mountain biker trail to the left of the map board has been blazed. It was helpful to have that, but it was confusing to come to other trail junctions and see purple heading off in four directions. Our group ended up looping back on ourselves because it was hard to know which way to go.

I'm reluctant to criticize anyone's work, as I know how much is involved with maintaining trails, but a basic rule of a good trail system is to have a trail go in two directions, not four. I hope someone will update the blazes and blaze the cross trails in some other color, as they used to be blazed.

I did the IMBA Trail Building School at Huntington State Park a few years ago. I explained to the hikers the skill involved with the building the trail, which follows the contour lines to prevent erosion. I also pointed out the various armored surfaces. They appreciated the gentle flow of the trail.

As I hiked, I flicked numerous branches off the trail, as I always do. The Purple Trail up on the ridge from the parking lot on Rimmon Rd. (Rt. 313) had been blown clear of snow. Other trails were icy, but easy to hike.

GPS track: http://ridewithgps.com/trips/3971455

Trail Ambassador Name: Tom Ebersold
Trail Ambassador E-mail: bikehikekayak [at] sbcglobal [dot] net
How did you use the trail? Hiking/Walking
Trails Ridden: Purple and Blue
Time of day: Afternoon
Time/Duration (hours): 3
Approximate Distance (Miles): 6