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Monday, January 3, 2022

New blazing at Upper Paugussett State Forest

 This is a repost from Cyclesnack.

If you have ridden Upper Paugussett State Forest in the last month or two you might have noticed some new trail blazes on the now two legal trails.  I came to a verbal agreement with the State Forester that for official recognition of the Mulikin Trail, I and NEMBA (the Housatonic Chapter) would take care and maintain both the Mulikin and Gussy Trail and dissuade any future trails coming off these two trails.

The New Mulikin Trail is blazed yellow and it's a combination of my old Mulikin Trail, Easy Up, and my Mulikin Trail Re-route, which took the trail off the blue blazed, Lillalohna Trail.  

The Upper Gussy Trail has been blazed orange and in both cases there is no mistaking the trail blazes. Another unsanctioned popped up within the last year between the first unsanctioned trail and the Gussy and it seems over the summer a few stunts were built and were subsequently dismantled by the State.  The second unsanctioned trail has been blocked and I hope it stays that way.  

The creation of these unsanctioned trails has really been a set back for Mountain Biking and the development of new trails in this part of the state. The DEEP Foresters look at mountain bikers as selfish brigands who do what they want on public land. Just because you pay taxes in this state doesn't give you the right to build unsanctioned trails on State Land. You are paying taxes for the privilege of living in this state, as with every other state in the union. 

I am hopeful at some point that the first unsanctioned trail will be officially recognized but to do that I think what is needed now is the cessation of any additional illegal stunts and side trails, let things calm down and hopefully we'll be able to add this trail to the inventory, as well.

Friday, January 1, 2021

New Year's Resolution

The storm over Christmas appears to have brought down another tree on the Gussy.  This happened to come down along my favorite section of the trail that was until recently blocked by another blowdown that someone recently cleared. This blowdown, however, is a major problem.

I reached out to the Housatonic Valley Chapter of New England Mountain Bike Association and Andy Engel, who is a master Sawyer offered to come out and help me clear the blowdown and build a skinny at the same time.  He wasn't doing anything New Years Day so we met at the Echo Valley Parking lot, hiked in and got to work.

Andy cut the top part right at the point where three branched because that would make a good entry point for the skinny

We put a log underneath it so we could turn it.

Then Andy went about cutting the other end

After he cut it initially he had to cut another piece off the end because we couldn't get it over the edge of the trail

We then started moving it by levering it inch by ince

Until we were able to get to the other side of the trail

To line it up with the up and over

Andy shaved the top

And voila! New Year's Resolution Skinny and drop

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Trail Maintenance - Armoring some muddy sections

After adding a flow section on the north end of the Upper Gussy Trail (Cyclesnack: Adding Some Flow to the Gussy) I headed down the trail to fix some issues.

There is this low spot in the trail just past the new skinny that was created after the tornados that has been OK in the past. However, the combination of the wet spring, the increased usage due to the COVID-19 Pandemic and the fact that people won't let the trail system dry out after a heavy rain, this section needed an armoring.


I pulled out as many flat rocks as I could find, including one really big one to cover the big wet spot. It needs some work.

I also armored this low point on the original part of the Gussy that was closed for some time due to trees blocking the trail as result of one of the past hurricanes.  The is a big rock right next to the trail. It's not pretty but it works for now until I decide whether or not to reroute this section all together.

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Paugussett State Forest - Newtown

Upper Paugussett State Forest appears to have a new name:

Paugussett State Forest - Newtown

  • Activities: Boating, Fishing, Hiking, Letterboxing , Hunting, Mountain Biking, Additional Recreational Trail Use Information
  • Services: Parking, Boat Launch
  • Location: Lower Block:   From the junction of Route 34 and Route 111 in Monroe, proceed west on Route 34 for 0.1 mile and turn right on Great Quarter Road.  Follow this road to the end (1.4 miles) and park at the trailhead.  Upper Block: From the junction of Route 6 and Route 25 in the center of Newtown (at the flagpole), proceed north on Route 6/25 for 0.2 mile and turn right on Hanover Road.  Follow Hanover Road 1.1 miles to the end, and turn left on the Boulevard.  Follow the Boulevard 0.5 mile and turn right on Echo Valley Road. Follow Echo Valley Road 1.3 miles to the fork, and bear left. Follow sign into the Forest.  Boat Launch: For the boat launch, from the corner of Hanover Road and the Boulevard, turn left on the Boulevard and follow 2.3 miles to the Pond Brook boat launch on the right.
  • Fee:  There is no parking fee at this forest.
  • Trail Map (Upper Block)
  • Trail Map (Lower Block)
  • Trail Map (Lower Block - GPS friendly for use with mobile apps) 

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Trail Riding Etiquette

Jerry Milne, CT DEEP Forester, reached out to me the other day about trail etiquette.

Some mountain bikers are not yielding to hikers. They are coming up behind them, startling them, and saying “coming through”.

Don't let your favorite riding area turn into another Mianus, where access to one side of the park has been shut off to mountain biking due to poor rider etiquette.

Sunday, January 5, 2020

Break in at the Echo Valley Lot

I saw this the other day on Facebook. A car was broken into at the Echo Valley Lot. 

Here is what was posted:
Be careful Newtown and visitors. Went for walk in upper Paugusett State Forest this afternoon around 3:10 pm. This is what I came back to 1/2 hour later. Parked in upper Paugusett off Sanford. Bikers said a red Jetta almost ran them over while driving away. Purse stolen. I know I shouldn’t leave it in car, but went for a quick outing while I was out. Too bad there were no cameras.
It's a shame this happened here but it's a wake up call. Don't leave your valuables in your car when parked in the woods.

Also, be on the look out for a red Jetta!

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

New Year's Day Hike

My daughter and I went for a hike New Year's Day and upon arriving at the Boat Ramp I was dismayed to see there was a mountain biker out on the trails given the temperature was in the low 40s and riding on soft trails would be really detrimental.

I see this BMW with a trailer hitch bike rack parked here a lot but don't know who it belongs to.

A fellow Veteran, even.

Lost and found at the trail head includes a pair a glasses and keys.

Katie and I headed down the Blue Blazed Trail and after crossing the second stream noticed that hikers have left their mark on the soft trails as well. We stayed off to the side in any places that were soft.

Looks like Connecticut Forest & Park Association is using a new kind of blaze.  No longer painting them on trees, rather using painted strips and aluminum nails.

I don't think I have been this far down the Lililonah Trail in a couple of years. Definitely not after the Micro Bursts/Tornados a few years ago but the trail underwent a serious reroute up to the Kissing Oaks. I noticed that the new trail was even benched in places.

Although only one part of the tree still remains

The lower section is still kissing!

Looks like a mountain biker lost their go juice. The bottle is now sitting empty in my recycling bin.

All in all, it was a nice hike with my daughter to welcome in the new year and decade.