Sunday, September 29, 2013

In My Own Backyard

Went out for a spin this weekend, initially with the intent of camping near the Barkhamsted Reservoir after exploring some of the dirt roads.  It was a soft plan, so soft that I changed it part way and looped back to Hartford after bush whacking a particularly gnarly gravel road (Broad Hill Road, off of Simsbury Road), that degraded into quad track (Weed Hill Road), and then became a vague memory of what at some point seems to have been a trail.  The rock walls on either side of the downhill track were the only thing that hinted at the creek bed having a prior life.  Somehow I got from Weed Hill Road to Firetown Road (LINK), which Google doesn't recognize as a road.  Lots and lots of undeveloped preserve land out here.  Prime for a weekend out and back trip with primitive camping overnight.

A beach in Hartford.  WTF?  
Part of the reason I turned back after lugging my camping gear most of the way to Barkhamsted was to catch the Pipes in the Valley festivities at the Hartford Riverfront.  An amusing pale alcoholic crowd, with a few in kilts.  In addition to the numerous beer tents, there was a whiskey tasting table and an Irish coffee booth.  I didn't stick around for the later shows, but I'm guessing the crowd was well soused, perhaps enough to even dance, when the Red Hot Chili Pipers went on at 9PM.

Wee driftwood campfire on the beach.
Instead of spectating the bag pipe fueled shit-show I rode North along the riverfront path, past the boat house, in search of a camping spot.  It was a beautiful evening, and clear.  Camping could still be had.  While considering potential spots to tie up a hammock for the night I noticed that the island just off shore appeared to have a passable land bridge.  I'd heard this happens with low water levels.  It ended up being a surreal location tucked behind a large pile of trees deposited by higher flood levels, but just a few steps from a great view of the city.  I set up my camp and put together a small driftwood camp fire.  The sand on the island was great for lounging next to the fire and gazing up at the heavens.  Now that I've told all 8 readers of the BBB about this priceless spot, I'll have to kill you all.

Rolling fog and amazingly quiet.
On the topic of amazing stuff in Hartford's backyard, if you didn't get enough during Hartford's bike-splosion last weekend, Providence is trying to do one better this coming weekend.  During the day on Friday, October 4th, Providence is hosting the New England Bike Walk Summit.  That night in the same venue you can catch the FREE New England Builders' Ball.  The ball is chock full of regional frame builders with their drool worthy rigs.  Saturday and Sunday brings the Providence Cyclocross Festival.  Just a short drive.  I'm planning to catch a carpool over on Friday morning, and ride back to Hartford on Saturday.

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