Oct 13 2014

Camping, Riding and Autumn Colours (Vermont Part 2)

I’ll start by saying this trip was one of the wetter editions of our Autumn In Vermont expeditions. We’ve had cold before. We’ve had some rain too. Never this much of both though.

The initial rain we had at Millstone cleared up and delivered some delightful sun and colours for our two days of riding there. These trails are very different from the Kingdom trails we’ve ridden before and it was both a delight and a challenge to ride them. This entire area is defined by the massive granite rock that makes up the hill. The quarries that were and the ones that still are (have a look at Rock of Ages to get an idea of the current activity) have sculpted the landscape in a very unusual way. Pierre (who is the person behind the Millstone Trail Association) described it as one of the largest industrial wastelands in the US and there certainly are a lot of things left behind from the heyday of quarries.

Cars pushed off the edge of a quarry
MTA trail

The challenge in riding wasn’t because of that though… it was the combination of these being a relative secret so there aren’t a ton of people riding them and the autumn leaves that hide the trails. In a place like Kingdom trails they get ridden over enough that you can see the trail easily. Without lots of riders the Millstone trails blend in with their surroundings so we spent some time hunting them down. The trails are well marked and the map provides lots of detail, it’s just that they were hiding in  parts of the woods. Other than getting lost a few times, we had a great time riding though! I expect to be doing a magazine article on the trails, stay tuned for that to get more info on them.

There’s a trail in there somewhere…

We could have easily spent another day riding there but we had reservations in the Burke Mountain campground (now called Q Burke). It was only an hour drive from Barre to East Burke but we made a few detours (shopping) along the way. The beautiful sunshine had also gone into hiding so we weren’t in a rush. We got settled into our campsite and made a nice fire for the evening, hoping that we’d have good weather to ride the following day.

It took a bit to get Babe level

Unfortunately that wasn’t to be… we tried going out for a ride early but only succeeded in getting very wet. So we cut that ride short and made another campfire!

A soggy ride on Shire

The weather continued to be cold and windy but the rain let up some so we were able to get a few nice rides in. Not much in the way of photographic expeditions for me; the colours were past their prime and the lighting wasn’t really good. The shots I took at Millstone are really the only ones I liked.

An old quarry

Our last day to ride was Friday and it was the best of all of the days we had on these trails this year.  The trails were beginning to dry up so there weren’t as many big puddles to plow through and the sun was beautiful and warming. We had decided the day before that we’d hit the road on Friday afternoon rather than doing all the driving on Saturday so we took our time heading west with stops for some things we can’t get up in Canada. And another stop in at Queen City Brewery in Vermont to get a little more of their delicious beer.

Kingdom Trails
Trailhead

And then it was over… the 2014 camping season has come to an end. I expect I’ll take Babe to a few cyclocross races before putting her in storage for the winter but no more overnight camping trips 🙁

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