You Were F-l-y-i-n-g Down That

Before I begin this, there is something you should know, if you do not already. I’ve put in quite a lot of miles on my road bike (which I’ve had for a year today!). Riding on the eastern side of the Hudson is pretty awesome. Well, so is the riding across the river. Meh, everywhere I’ve ridden on the roads have been nice (except for route 9 from Hudson to Rhinebeck which is a pot hole mess with no shoulder). My mountain bike is a different story. Truth be told, I think I’ve put in less than twenty five on my mountain bike. I think twenty-five is stretching it. Maybe more like eight, and two of those were on a road. Do I let that stop me playing? Pshh, please. You’ve gotta learn how to handle the bike somehow, and what better way to learn how to do that than by 1) riding by yourself in 2) a completely foreign place (okay, okay a different state).

Yes, you may know my special bond with my road bike. But after this weekends occurances, I think my bond with my mountain bike might be even closer.

I returned from my whirlwind vacation of being in New Hampshire, NYC, and Vermont, and have decided to tell you about it. Might I add, this is the first vacation I have had in over a year, and the first time I have driven anywhere by myself as the driver for a longer distance than kingston/New Paltz to Boston, which, once upon a time, could do blindfolded with one hand tied behind my back. Don’t worry, I never actually did that. I try to obey the law as much as possible.

Map of my trip

Day 1: Kingdom Trails and Stowe, Vermont

I headed out early (0600) since I was up at 3 and got to my first destination, Easte Burke, Vermont, known for it’s amazing network of trails for mountain biking known as the Kingdom Trails. Now, I’ve never been to this place, or this area of Vermont before, so it was all new to me (just like in NH, gas prices are way cheaper than in Dutchess County) I would have made it sooner had there not been so much road work going on. Left lane closed—-merge Right—right lane closed—merge left. Seriously? on I-90 going up to East Burke there was construction construction construction. Which was slighly annoying. But, with it being that early in the day, it wasn’t too bad because not too many people were on the roads.

After multiple cups of coffee and iced coffee  to keep me awake, and munching on a Molly trail mix of almonds and dried cherries (which look like cranberries dried, who knew?), I made it to Burke Mountain to find that the lifts were only open on weekends. And, I think Burke Mountain is where downhill bikers go. Anyway, after getting lost, I found my way to the Kingdom Trails Information Center and discussed options for biking.

“Hi!” I said to the information center person

“Welcome! Have you ever been here before?

“No, I know nothing about this place and was hoping you could tell me where to go.”

“That’s my job! Do you do much biking?”

“Yeah a little,”

“Where do you live?”

“Rhinebeck, across from ulster county.”

“Close to the Catskill region?”

“Yeah.”

“Ohhh, then I have some great trails for you which should be a piece of cake.”

Hmm, maybe I should tell him that even though I live close to the Catskills, I’ve only ever been on my mountain bike less than 5 times….The very friendly man behind the desk pulled out a very detailed map will miles and miles of different mountain bike paths, ranging from “easiest” to “most difficult”–most of what he showed me was single track paths.

Trails, trails, lots of trails!

If you are unfamiliar with Kingdom Trails, and like mountain biking, this place is amazing and you could spend days riding all of the paths that they have. There is not only cross country mountain biking, but downhill mountain biking over at Burke Mountain, which I mentioned before. If I did not need to use my limbs for work, then I totally would have tried a downhill mtn bike course they have for people.

The weather was super gorgeous, and since it was the  middle of the week, the place was not too busy. I started up Durling Hill Road and then went down into the forests. The trails are awesome and kept up really well. It was a little muddy in some places, because of all the rain they had gotten, but still fantastic. I started off on one called Coronary Bypass, which at somepoints, thought I would need my own coronary bypass after riding up (I know, I’m still learning the whole going up steep hills part of mountain biking). Then, made my way to Pastore Point Loop and over to more of Coronary. I did keep bumbing into a couple of riders (we tended to meet at areas where there were different routes available, and I ended up riding with them for a little while. I warned them I was not the best mountain biker, but I guess I have no problem going down hills as after going down River Run, one of my new friends exclaimed, “Dude, you were flying down that!”

My response: Yeah, I love going fast!

Some River close to Pastore Pointe Loop

Looking back at Tap n Die---on which I really would have died

*As a side note, yes, I have this weird ability to be able to talk to complete strangers which some people find odd since I’m somewhat shy. These two guys were on vacation from Seattle! It was nice to have some other people to ride with, even though at a point I had to part ways with my newfound friends.

Looking out towards West Burke

I continued my journey biking up through trees, over bridges (which I didn’t fall off of!), speeding down hills,through streams, through puddles of mud, and getting lost. It was a blast, and I wish there was a place like this closer to Rhinebeck with trails like them.

After spending a couple hours of biking, I was famished and covered with mud. I kind of washed enough of the dried mud from my legs and headed into Lyndonville for food before heading to my next destination: Stowe, VT. For some reason, after any bike ride, I crave food that I do not usually eat, like pizza. And at the end of this ride I thought, Mmm, pizza and a beer sounds really good right now. Alas, I got to a pizza place right in town (there isn’t much in Lyndonville, just incase you were wondering) only to find out they had stopped making pizza thirty minutes before I got there, and they would not start serving it again for three more hours. First of all, what type of pizza place doesn’t have pizza all the time? Ohh well, the Molly trail mix and gatorade in my car would have to do. I looked down at a map and decided I had had enough of being here, so onto the next stop before heading to my final destination of Burlington.

Stowe, Vermont, is about an hour and twenty minutes east of Lyndonville. It is home of the highest point/mountain in Vermont. Since I had come prepared with not only my mountain and road bike, but also hiking gear, I figured I would do some hiking/walking if the weather permitted. Once I got to my B&B that I was staying in, which was a very cute , I went and walked the Pinnacle Trail– which was a little more than 2 miles walk outside the village to the trail head, and then a 1.4 mile hike to the summit of Pinnacle. The weather could not be more gorgeous, and this was a perfect afternoon/early evening hike.

I spend the night at the Three Bears at the Fountain Bed and Breakfast  which was a very cute and cozy bed and breakfast. If you are ever in Stowe, I strongly suggest staying there, although there is a plethora of different inns/b&bs/lodges open in the summer and winter (there is lots of skiing available during the winter in Stowe). My room was awesome, and they had great breakfast in the morning. I decided, why not treat myself and stay somewhere nice, I am on vacation! (This really is a great place–they did not even question how insanely dirty I was after arriving post mountain bike ride…Although in the future, I will make sure that I am somewhat clean, don’t have old dried mud smeared across my forehead, and am wearing clean clothes before checking into a bed and breakfast, or checking in anywhere for that matter. They did ask me where I came from when I apologized for looking so messy.)

Stowe's most romantic and historic bed and breakfast.

After a hearty breakfast the next morning (they had great great breakfast) I decided to hike up the Long Trail– a trail that will take you to Mount Mansfield, the highest point in Vermont (4395 ft). I went up Smugglers Knotch and got to the summit in the early afternoon. I was amazed at how many hikers I saw along the way. There were some areas which were a bit tricky, but for the most part, it wasn’t that difficult of a hike. And the views from the top were amazing! And with a clear, cloudless blue sky, you could see for miles. Ofcourse, the one time I forget both my camera and my phone. I guess I’ll just have to go back!

Song of (that) day:

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6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Uncle Dick
    Aug 23, 2011 @ 23:50:00

    Sounds like you had a great time…I was wondering what was going on in your life..
    We were in Meredith , NH a couple of weeks ago. We were visiting friends that have a place on lake Wicwas . We have been going up there since 1968. I think Aunt Pam was pregnant with Wendy the first time we went to visit these friends.

    Take care. Love ya,

    Uncle Dick.

    Reply

  2. Chartrese
    Aug 24, 2011 @ 03:03:52

    I told you you’d LOVE it!!!!

    Reply

  3. rendezvouswithsneakers
    Aug 24, 2011 @ 04:41:56

    It was awesome. Vermont is the best! Good people, good cheese, good ice cream, good beer, ahem, beverages, good trails for everything!

    Reply

  4. Ros
    Aug 24, 2011 @ 07:21:12

    Wow Molly..
    Your great experiences brought back memories of me as an 11th grader, at Warren Witherell’s ski camp (Burke Mt Alpine Training Center). My challenges were no where near as intense, as the ski lift was up and running. Look foward to seeing more photos of this beautiful corner of the world in Oct.
    XXX m

    Reply

  5. Auntie Pam
    Aug 25, 2011 @ 13:44:49

    I’m looking forward to reading part 2!!! 🙂

    Love you,
    Auntie Pam

    Reply

  6. Trackback: WinterBike and Kingdom Trails in the Winter « A Rendezvous with Sneakers

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