Frum Outdoorsman: Rare but Possible

The wanderings and adventures of an orthodox Jew

Trail rides of the week

Posted by Frum Hiker on May 1, 2007

I guess I have a good thing going because I get paid some decent money to drive 3 kids from Albany to Kingston whenever I am available- this allows me an excuse to hit up trails in Ulster, Orange and Dutchess Counties on regular basis- since my tolls and gas were already paid for.

This past week I rode the Bluestone-Ontero Lake wild forest trail system locatedabout 10 miles west of Kingston on route 28- this is similar to the Jockey Hill trails that I have written about in the past. These trails are very technical and super rocky so bring extra tubes if you do venture here. The sharp slate and shale rock makes for a bumpy and slow ride in some places- but the long descents and short ascents make for an enjoyable mix of terrain.

There are many spots on the trail that look like mini quarries and in some cases they are filled with dark murky water adding to the nice scenery that joins the trail. I have not been able to figure out any loops in here yet, it appears as if the trail that should loop around has not been ridden in years.

The parking lot lies next to a nice small pond- that I have seen many folks relaxing with their fishing poles, and having a beer. Its a quiet place and a great after ride chill. A double track trail leads out of the parking lot and immediately you are greeted with rocks all over the place. About a mile into the double track there will be a cutoff trail of singletrack- take this trail- it loops around and ends up back on a double track though I have not been able to make a loop out of it. The rock formations and split rocks that the trail goes through are real nice. There are some great places to just sit and enjoy the sounds of silence and the woods. Camping is allowed in these woods so if thats your thing go ahead and bring you gear inside.

Today I rode the Skidmore College trails (Daniels Road) in Saratoga Springs about 30 miles north of Albany. These trails are super technical, rooty and muddy that wind through pine forest and past numerous swamps. You must be a member of the Saratoga Mountain Biking Association to use these trails- membership is 40 bucks and well worth it.

The trails are complicated for first timers but unless you take the Dam Trail you will never be more then a few miles from your car. The trails have some very steep rocky hills that to me are nearly impossible to ride up unless you have a trials-bike. The downhills are amazing with some varying choices such as big drops off rocks and steep chutes down rock walls. Freeriders will find what to do here- though I would say the best bike is a 5 or 6 inch travel full suspension that can pedal. Though I have seen DH guys here I have no idea what they do.

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