Fall Fargo Foliage Fest

Peak color. Pave, dirt, trail. Some hike a bike too. My favorite time of year.

I left the house a bit later than I wanted, sipped a coffee and had some breakfast at a local cafe, then took off for higher ground. I ventured through the Intervale, enjoying a glorious and misty sunrise. Stunning, was the sky and the sun.

As I started to climb out of the vale to pavement, I noticed a vehicle stuck on the tracks. I’ve seen lots of bizarre things happen down here early in the morning – so I can’t say I was surprised – but it looks as if someone ‘borrowed’ the truck for a joy ride. Windows were open, with stuff left on the seats. Glove box was closed. I made sure there was no one injured (abandoned) then called 911 and was connected to local police. After a chat I continued on.

From Burlington I ventured off to Richmond via Mountain View and dropping down Governor Chittenden Rd. The Winooski River Valley was covered in a fog, and the light had a silver quality to it. No views to Camel’s Hump, but an otherworldly feeling as I hit the lower dirt road and a horse started running alongside.

Some flat riding out of town to the east, and then I climbed Stage Rd. Wonderful dirt, steep, with only a few cars passing. I saw a Long Trail hiker emerge from the woods, heading into town.

Somewhere nearing the top I turned onto a signed hiking / ski / snomo trail. Some hike a bike for the first 100′ or so, then leveling out on old double track / logging road. I skirted a small pond (north of Preston Pond), dodged some soggy trail, snapped some pics, and pressed on for the overlook.

The overlook trail is a loop, connecting as a U shape to the main trail. I took the first turn for it, riding quite a ways until the roots, rocks, and gradient made it difficult to pedal. Typical of VT trails, this rolled along for a bit, then turned straight up. I’d later learn that I took the longer / harder way up… as my descent from the lookout was equally rocky and rooty, but much shorter, and I think more rideable (for me, with my limited technical mountain bike skills…)

Returning to the double track, I made my way to Notch Rd., where I had hoped to continue on to the Bolton Access Rd. via another set of trails. I was met with some serious ATV rutted double track, and upon exploring a bit found a crew clearing trees. Chainsaws running, and ATVs scurrying up the trail, I assume these folks were prepping the trail for winter snomo use.

Bombing down Notch Rd. led me back to the river valley, where I made my way to the Cross Vermont Trail. This stretch follows the edge of a farm field and a dirt road. In the field it can be wet, and flooding from Irene left the bridge damaged – but it looks like repairs are under way, and the trail was firm.

I followed my path back into town – climbing up Governor Chittenden Rd. past Catamount, eventually meeting up with the family on the waterfront for a fall day out…

~60 miles
~3100′ climbing

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