Finally got out again in the North Conway, NH area this weekend; JUST in time, as it snowed yesterday and now it’s going to be brutally cold this week. I went out with a map (well, an app on my phone) not really knowing what to expect, other than a steep climb on the way up this:
Clearly the trail I came up was on the back side, not up the rock face. That’s actually a big rock climbing destination, unsurprisingly (source):
Not having been up there before, I kind of expected to come out near the top of that sheer face and get a clear view of the valley below. The view was good, but I didn’t get a view down over that face. Later I figured out why.
Strangely enough, the best image on a quick google search to illustrate where I was compared to where I thought I’d end up, was this ‘alamy stock photo’ below:
I added the red line up top, that’s the open area where I was. I had no idea I was that close to the top of the ledge because of that deceptive row of trees just below. I figured I was farther back, and didn’t have time to explore, or to study the map more closely and take a bit of a walk down. Oh well, next time.
The trails themselves were described as “old school, technical...” which was accurate. Even the ones made for biking rode like hiking trails for the most part. Rocks, roots, and lots of technical stuff. And leaves. So many leaves. The forest went back and forth between coniferous and deciduous, and at times I could slide around switchbacks with the rear wheel completely locked, literally opposite locked going around corners, in the leaves. SO fun. On the other hand, it made it hard to follow the trail at times - I only went off twice, but I did have to look ahead a lot for where the trees weren’t, rather than where the ground was beaten down.
There were also some stream crossings, which were less than welcome at 40F but at least they were just shallow enough to keep my feet from going completely in. I didn’t dare go slowly for fear of stepping off the bike, but too fast meant I got really wet. A delicate balance indeed. One of them was just a single plank across a 12' wide crossing that was a bit deeper. And one had a beautiful steel bridge! Who knows?
Here’s the reason for one of the trails being named “Tent Boulder” trail:
That rock had to be 25-30' high. Pretty cool just sitting in the forest like that. There was a big ledge up to the left where lots of big rocks had fallen from over the years. Maybe not a place to linger on a warm spring morning with the sun beating down on the frozen ledges.
Anyway, that’s it. Fun ride, about 2 hours overall. No idea how many miles, I don’t really track myself. Can’t wait to get up there again and explore more of the huge trail network up there. The local MTB group (White Mountains NEMBA) has been active for years, and has a good cooperation with the White Mountain National Forest - they even share signs!
I think the MTB season is about done for me though, at least until I can ride on the lake ice again. It’s been a good one!