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Trip Ideas

A bummer of a motorbike experience

blowdown on bike ride
Among the blowdown encountered on the experience on the outdated Otter Brook Truck Path within the Moose River Plains. Phil Brown photograph

Regardless of bike designation, Moose River Plains truck path is a bust

By Phil Brown

I had hoped it might be one of many best mountain-bike rides within the Adirondack Park, a 27-mile loop combining deep-woods trails and dust roads within the Moose River Plains.

It turned out to be a depressing expertise. 

I can tolerate occasional blowdown, however in a single two-mile stretch of the outdated Otter Brook Truck Path, I encountered at the very least 30 fallen bushes. I hardly ever was in a position to experience greater than a tenth of a mile with out dismounting. After six miles, I gave up and rotated.

It’s laborious to consider that the state Division of Environmental Conservation as soon as made a serious change in a unit administration plan for the sake of this bike route. Certainly, it’s laborious to consider it is a bike route in any respect. If not for a couple of bicycle path markers, you’d by no means guess.

The truck path runs alongside the northern border of the West Canada Lake Wilderness Space. Years in the past, DEC had deliberate so as to add the path and about 12,000 acres to the north to the Wilderness Space, the place biking is prohibited. The division later modified its thoughts and determined in 2010 to maintain the path open to bikes–with the backing of native officers and regardless of the opposition of environmental advocates.

The 12,258 acres north of the truck path turned the Little Moose Wilderness. The path itself, nevertheless, retained its less-restrictive Wild Forest classification. Thus, the path is a ribbon of Wild Forest separating two Wilderness Areas. 

The truck path is barely 6.6 miles lengthy, but it surely connects to a different little-used path, the Wilson Ridge Path (a former woods street). By combining these two trails, you possibly can, in principle, bike 15 miles by the woods and return to your place to begin by way of 12 miles of scenic dust roads.

phil on Otter Brook Truck Trail
The writer on the Otter Brook Truck Path.

On Memorial Day weekend, I put that principle to the check. I began at a bridge over Otter Brook and headed up the truck path. Shortly, I got here to a register. Perusing the entries, which dated again to 2021, I inferred that the path will get little use from hikers or bikers. The general public who had signed in have been hunters or anglers.

Past the register, an uphill part of the path was washed out, making biking tough. After the washout, I obtained again on my bike however quickly began encountering blowdown. Different difficulties included washed-out culverts, stretches of deep mud, unbridged creek crossings, and encroaching brush. 4 miles in, I met a father and daughter climbing from the wrong way who have been astounded that I used to be on a motorbike. “In two miles, it will get actually overgrown,” the person informed me.

Worse than this? I pushed on for one more few miles, so far as a former logging website the place artifacts lie rusting within the woods. Given my gradual progress and the hiker’s warning, I made a decision to show again. I by no means made it to the Wilson Ridge Path.

bike trail marker
Phil Brown photograph

What’s particularly disappointing is that the Moose River Plains loop could possibly be a unbelievable journey. DEC has completed a lot to encourage mountain biking within the Adirondacks, however many of the bike routes within the Forest Protect are “nested” trails–networks concentrated in comparatively small areas close to hamlets. The Moose River Plains route promised a special expertise: a prolonged experience by distant woods. 

DEC says its employees and volunteers have completed some upkeep on each trails lately and plan to do extra this 12 months. The division additionally plans to put in bridges at some stream crossings.

I hope mountain bikers sooner or later may have a greater expertise than I had, however I do marvel if the division has the sources to keep up a 15-mile bike route in a distant space. If they’ll pull it off, this might change into a vacation spot experience. If not, it calls into query the division’s resolution to separate off the Little Moose Wilderness from the West Canada Lake Wilderness.

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