NOTE- life isn't all about HERS ratings, utility rebate programs, and energy code compliance. I turned off the phone for a couple of days and this is what I did. Enjoy
Northampton to Wendell : A 32 hour Western MA bikepacking adventure.
The bikepacking goal was to link several regional hiking trails that span Western MA. The route included the trails I learned to ride on in 1994 , top notch well trodden single track, old forest roads, and some brand uncut trails.
The Metacomet Monadnock (M&M) trail, a 115mile trail extending from CT to NH, is currently being re-routed in Western MA. My old paper maps directed me through the discontinued trail. The New England Trail includes the re-routed sections of the M&M. I rode the new sections unknowing that they were truly ‘new’ trails. Part of bike packing is hiking.. in the rain… for a while. There was no pressure to get anywhere. As long as the sun was high and I had a few meat sticks and water left, then it was perfect.
Gear - It's not as much as what you bring, but how much space it will take. Most awesome items included UL bivy and UL Montbell down sweater that saved my ass sleeping in the cold and when I was chilled riding through rain on day 2. Bulky Aeropress and stove/pot ...because bad coffee should never happen
The bike - Salsa Selma Ti. Typically set up singlespeed . With 1x10 gearing for this ride. Whisky carbon fork, Chris King/Arch wheels, Eriksen ti post, Groovy Luv ti handlebars, 1990s yellow Time pedals, yadayada . Bags are all made in Alaska by Revelate Designs and were fantastic...way more stable than I anticipated.
Climbing up Long Mountain. My route over the Holyoke Range could have been better. I meant to avoid the ridge and stay to snowmobile trails on the south side. They're just so much easier to find in the winter. Tyvek ground cloth on the front just to look a little less 'pro'.
Mt. Norwottuck , aka 'shark fin mountain'. The weather was purrrrfect
Harris Rd. The leg from Harris Rd. over Lincoln Mtn. to Buffam Falls was all new . I was getting giddy at this point.
Scarboro Pond, Pelham (maybe Belchertown)
The Robert Frost trail on the top of Mnt Orient heading toward Shutesbury. I used to ride here as a kid from Amethyst Brook area. It’s funny how specific rocks can be remembered years later. The dichotomy of old vs. new was always present on the trail- I recalled specific lines that I haven’t ridden on in years. Then I got lost on trails that have changed drastically by the passage of time and reduced traffic.
Atkins Reservoir and a little product placement.
After climbing up from Shutesbury on No.6 rd. I got lost and had to get out the iphone to use GAIA GPS while bushwhacking North/West to the M&M trail. I was thrilled to find this washed out shit trail that I new led to Rattlesnake Gutter.
The North Leveret Co-op. I downed pizza, muffins, chocolate and purchased just enough breakfast to fit in my frame bag. Thought about beer, but there was still a bunch of climbing before getting to the shelter. I wore running shorts over bibs so as to not scare any of the locals. I saw some old neighbors and then kept on rolling.
After climbing the power lines from the Co-op to find the old M&M trail, I got lost again but soon found the great single-track that feeds Wendell. With out a soul in sight I rolled to the lean-to which was complete with dry fire wood. It was great to dry my shoes and clothes by the fire.
Day 2 consisted mostly of the re-routed New England Trail. The first few hours were stellar. Then the trail disappeared because it's still a work in progress.
Fiske Pond from Wendell State Park is a nice ride.
Missile, mik jug? Had some dialogue with the bovine .
New Boston Road along the Quabbin Reservoir . This is a jem of an old road that everyone should ride.
Near Shutesbury center the NET turned into some decent rideable trail for awhile Along Rt. 202. Yet when the trail crossed Shutesbury Rd. 2 , it was wild and is not yet finished. In retrospect, I would have stopped at Sirius community and rode secret singe-track back to Atkins Reservoir , then back over Mt. Orient. Though in the moment, exploring new territory was more tempting. These trails will be fantastic when completed.
Thanks for looking. I'm already looking forward to my next trip. Be in touch with any questions or if you need some residential energy efficiency services. Back to work until next time.