Ride Report: 07.23.11, Stony Valley Trail

As I was sipping coffee and thinking about some possible routes to take Saturday morning, I realized that the typical options were getting a little stale.  It wasn’t until I was actually out in the garage, thinking about which bike I was going to take, that I decided to load up and head north to Dauphin.  It had been over a year since riding this trail, and I had recently recommended it to a friend, so I figured I should check it out.  It also occured to me that it would be much cooler under the canopy of trees, given the warm forecast.

As I was loading up the Trucker, I discovered that I had not carried the bike using a fork mount clamp (just installed about two weeks ago) since installing a front rack and light.  It’s a tight fit, requiring some improvising; but it works:

While I remembered to take a third water bottle, in my haste I forgot my gloves; and realized soon enough that I should have swapped out the smooth Paselas for the knobby Kendas that I keep for rides like this.  I really should have planned ahead.

The surface seemed rougher than I remembered.  I looks like wherever the cinders get washed out, they replace with a courser stone, and there were many sections where the springs on the saddle got a good workout.

Camping has been in my head lately, so I had to stop and shoot some pics when I came across this area.  It’s a little tight, but near perfect.  This is a little over three miles in.

The world needs more ferns.

It wasn’t until I got home and did a little research that I discovered that camping is prohibited on State Game Lands; except near the AT.  I wonder how they define “near?”  I also figure I’d have some explaining to do about the bicycle.

A little further and I came up on a group of casual riders surveying this downed tree.  They were a little frustrated at the roughness of the trail and opted to turn back.  After talking for a few minutes, I was able to squeeze through and continue the ride.

Pretty far in there is some timbering equipment set up and working.  But it appears they are clearing but not logging.  The trees in this area aren’t that big, and there is no evidence of logs being hauled out.  It looks more like they are clearing a road.

This bad boy is a harvester.  Rather than relying on timberjacks and chainsaws, the process now is to roll up with one of these, grab the tree, and grind away.

Right next to the work area is a sign: “Forest Health Study Area.”  Huh?

I went as far up as the resevoir and rested for a bit before turning for home.  I was already behind schedule for the day.  It seems everytime I come up here I run out of time.  A full day would allow time to explore some of the side trails a bit more.

The ride out was uneventful, other than I concluded that one mile on a rough trail is equivalent to two miles of smooth road.  Two days later and my legs were still heavy.  I also think that some knobby tires, at the least, are in order for this ride; and ideally either a mountain bike or adventure touring bike.

Distance: 38.7 miles  2011: 922.2

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3 responses to “Ride Report: 07.23.11, Stony Valley Trail

  1. I was up there Sunday. I turned around at the downed tree. The trail does seem to be getting rougher.

    I think my camouflage bivy bag would work well for evading the game commission up there.

    • I saw your post. The KM was definitely the right choice. I’ve seen campers in there along the creek, so I wonder if the rule is really enforced.

  2. Scott and I did a bike camping trip there a couple of years ago — we ended up camping by the AT:

    http://www.apertome.com/blog/2009/04/29/stony-valleyrausch-gap-offroad-bike-camping-trip-s24o/

    We might have broken a rule, when we were on a brief section of the AT on our bikes, but no one hassled us. Actually, we didn’t see any signs preventing us from riding where we rode.

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