Saturday, July 26, 2014

Mountain Biking

Today was going to be a day of chores and errands, but we wanted to do something fun as well. We were thinking about a bike ride, but other than just riding the roads around Stowe there aren't many places to ride. One placed that had bike riding I'd the Trapp Family Lodge. Yes, *the* Trapp Family from the Sound of Music. They came here, to Stowe, VT and opened a lodge/resort. They have a large network of cross country ski trails that become bike trails in the summer.

Dad and I aren't into mountain biking. We like biking off road, but on smooth off road surfaces - like dirt roads or crushed cinders. The website seemed to imply that there were roads like that at the Trapp Family Lodge so we decided to check it out. We asked at the Outdoor Center if there were suitable trails for us - hybrid bikes, don't like roughy trail conditions - and we were told that "yes, just stay on the bold trails, they are "double track" and are like roads." He also told us that most of the bike routes were cross country ski trails in the winter. Ok! Sounded great! We paid out $10 trail use fee and headed out!

The first trail we were on was pretty good. It was wide, fairly smooth, and had gentle hills. It was clearly one of the cross country ski trails. It was definitely "off road" but it wasn't rough. Soon, however, we came to a fork and had to pick a new trail. We saw a loop on the map that we decided to try. We had to head up a hiking trail though. The guy at the outdoor center had told us that we coud ride on the wide hiking trails, which this was, so off we went.

The riding didn't last long however. The trail quickly got too steep and rocky to ride. There were so many rocks and roots and it was very steep. We both got off and walked. Soon though we reached another ski road - not the hiking trail, so it was wider and hopefully not as steep. At this point going back would involve retracing our steps, we knew the way we came was too hard to bike so we thought this would be easier. We attempted to ride. It was still very rocky - smooth hiking trail rocky, which is a bigger deal on a bike. And it was uphill. And it was still steep. We passed some folks who were walking and when they asked for a ride, I told the that they were the smart ones for NOT trying to ride a bike....I was really just on a hike dragging my bike along for kicks.

Soon we reached a cabin at the top. During the winter the lodge opens the cabin as a warming hut with a fire and hot soup! In the summer it was deserted. From the lodge it was downhill back to the real road. Ahhhh!!!! That should be easier. Wrong. It was not easier. Going down was almost harder. The bike had teamed up with gravity to move faster and faster wasn't better. The trail down was steep with rocks, roots and other small obstacles. You really had to navigate and try to miss rocks and then the bike would get going too fast! Finally I got off and walked the bike. Walking the bike downhill was harder that hauling it uphill, because again, gravity was helping.

Finally, after what seemed like hours, we reached the real road. It was a dirt road, but cars drive on it, so it was a lot smoother! We continued down, and then back up on a paved road to the car. The uphill part was about a 1/2 mile and it was steep, but it was no big deal compared to that trail. It felt like we'd been out all day, but it had really only been two hours. Dad didn't have his GPS so we don't know how far we bike hiked but it was probably under 4 miles.

We returned to the campground for lunch and then headed out for our errands. We are heading our separate ways tomorrow and I wanted to stock up on some Vermont things as well as have fresh veggies! We went to two farm stands and three grocery stores and there's still one thing I was looking for that I couldn't buy! But, I have a fridge full of farm fresh veggies and a stash of Vermont granola, chocolate, coffee and milk!

We took the scenic route back to Stowe through Smuggler's Notch so Mom could see it, then went to Pie-Cassa, a local pizza/Italian/American resteraunt for dinner. They had a yummy "tree hugger" pizza covered in veggies and garlic! Another bonus was thathey were right on the Stowe Rec Path! After dinner Dad and I got our bikes and headed off down the path while Mom took the car to IC Scoops, we'd meet her there! We rode about 7 miles on the trail (we rode from Pie-Cassa to the end, about 2 miles, and then back - 4 miles and then it was three miles to IC Scoops) in about 45 minutes! I felt like we were flying compared to this morning! Bike paths and paved or packed dirt roads are more our speed! The Rec Path was just as lovely tonight as it had been the other night! :-) Tonight there were fewer people though, I think they were all at the ice cream place, there was a huge line when we got there! The wait was worth it though, the ice cream was yummy!




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