Sunday, November 14, 2010

Page Hill Cross Post

I don't want to double post so I'll mostly just link to my post over at CNH NEMBA.  Been busy at the new Page Hill site the past two weeks.  Been killing two birds as well, getting set for more local mtb options AND getting lots of compass work in wandering around in the woods.  I've gotten pretty good at following bearings in the field using intermediate landmarks and also 'daisy chaining' with other members of a party.  i.e. they walk while you spot the bearing and keep them on line until you barely can see them and then you walk to meet them, rinse and repeat.

Still need to work on pace counting to get better at judging lateral distance as well as get a bit more fine tuned on terrain association.  I can pick out the big stuff but I'd like to get the more subtle stuff as well as get better at really identifying when it comes down to is that this drainage or that drainage type scenario.


Saturday, November 13, 2010

Finding my inner Belgian

I've been getting a decent amount of road miles in lately, not really sure why but I love riding in the Fall and if the weather is good road rides are great because they get you out in the awesome for a long time and you get all the sweet views and cool Fall breezes.

Friday I was having a real hard time deciding what I was going to do today.  I had a spot to recon for AT skiing this winter, kinda wanted to get back on the MTB, as well as take advantage of the great weather with a long road ride.  I decided on the road ride because Bill was busy and I didn't want to get too removed into the woods solo.

I had mapped out a tentative route Friday afternoon that seemed like it would be pretty cool but I knew there was a small probability of sketch.  I was planning on heading up and over to New Hampton and down to Franklin and then through to Northfield to Belmont and back up and around to Sanbornton.  I had a feeling there were a few spots in Northfield that I may have picked dirt roads but most of the dirt this time of year is rock solid and just as good as some pavement so I figured I would just take it slow.

I was trying to find the "I knew it would be bad..." scene but I couldn't so I went with this.

Beginning of the ride was great, weather was perfect.  Took me a long time to warm up but I got into a groove eventually.  Got through Franklin without issue and hit the first semi decent climb on Pleasant St heading up and out of Franklin.  Hit my first class VI trying to cut over to Northfield.

Luckily it was all down hill and only moderately rocky.  It was fairly short as well, about a quarter mile.  Aint no thang.  Got back rolling through Northfield and hit the second big climb of the day up Bean Hill Rd.  Rode past Highland MTB Park.  Got passed by about 1000 redneck trucks hauling 40lb bikes and somewhat surprisingly they were all very respectful and gave me room and didn't buzz me.  Yeah cyclists sticking together!  Kept on up the hill and never did see the left hander I was planning on.

So I had to connect the dots over some 'rough' terrain on a bike made for smooth pavement.  No problem.  I was actually able to ride a decent portion of it.  I walked some due to fear of flatting...not the kind of place you want to go to the bathroom in Mikey.  Popped out in someones yard on the other side and got back on the road.  Rest of the ride was pretty uneventful.  I ran out of calories around mile 45 so I had to go into damage control to avoid bonking before getting home but it was a pretty sweet ride.  Luckily it all worked out and added some adventure to the mix.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Off Trail 4 Lyfe

This past weekend was an exercise in bushwhacking.  Saturday Bill and I went on a mission to find some lines that have eluded us (until now) and Sunday was a recon mission for Central NH NEMBA to walk the possible future site of a new trail system.

You won't get much info here on our AT recon mission, unfortunately the more people that know about it the less awesome it becomes and this line isn't exactly 'ours' but I can go into the process a bit because it was sort of my first foray into wilderness navigation.

We had some decent beta heading into the trip and we had spent some time last year trying to find this route to no avail.  But through process of elimination we were fairly certain we knew where we were going this time around.  We actually made really short work of finding the line and we began hiking up to our 'backstop' (yeah navigation terminology!) which was a trail running along a ridge.  The line itself looks like it will be really fun.  Lots of natural terrain features, and its LONG.

At the time it was hard to pinpoint exactly where we were, we were hiking in a cloud so it was impossible to site any landmarks to try and pinpoint our location using bearings and I have come to the conclusion after this trip and Sunday's hiking around that I am currently a horrible judge of lateral distance traveled.  I always think I have gone about 10x farther than I actually have.  Gonna have to work on that.  It also became apparent how handy an accurate altimeter would be especially when navigating around mountainous terrain.  Much easier to narrow down your location if needed.  Too bad they are so damn expensive.

We topped out on the ridge and started making our way across two peaks, our plan was to traverse and descend the front side of another mountain to a car we had spotted instead of back tracking.  We had thought this traverse would be easy and would be the preferred method of accessing this line.  But we quickly came to the realization that this traverse would be hilarious in the winter and might even require some crampons and ropes in places depending on how it fills in.  Definitely going to be some adventuring this winter and I can't wait.

I took some pics but they got corrupted somehow, I think that crappy walmart camera has infected my SD card or something.  Or maybe some of the individuals who did most of the work on this line installed a motion triggered EMP that erased all my pics.  Hard tellin'.

I can be a bit more forthcoming with our trip on Sunday.  I am really excited about this one.  CNH NEMBA was recently contacted by the LRCT about a chunk of land that was donated to them.  They had no plans for it and wondered if we might want to build some trails there.  The land was owned by a private party and even has two cabins on the property that CNH NEMBA might eventually have access to.  Best estimates right now are the plot being somewhere between 300-500 acres, we are still working with the LRCT and the town to figure out property lines.

I met with Jesse and Mike to walk the land a bit.  We were trying to find property lines as well as identify if the terrain was workable and worth our time.

We did a quick perimeter around probably 2/3 of the plot and I can safely say this place is going to be amazing when we are done.  Gonna be years in the making but the possibilities are pretty exciting.  LRCT seems pretty open to our ideas and we are looking forward to moving forward with development.  Hopefully we'll be back soon with better info on property lines so we can mark our boundaries all the way around and possibly begin work on a 'perimeter trail' that circumnavigates the entire plot to start.  Best guess is that trail alone will be 6-7 miles long.  We could be looking at 20+ miles of singletrack with plenty of vert and two cabins on the property.  I like getting the shakes for next year's awesome in early November.