Moosamaloo Overnight

I snuck out on the IF for an overnight last weekend. Burlington to Shelburne and Charlotte on Spear, then dropping down to Vergennes and off to Middlebury on the backside route, staying to pavement most of the way down to Middlebury then up to Moosamaloo. Return route included Steam Mill and Natural Turnpike and some new (to me) dirt roads near Monkton.

The ADKs from Vergennes
The ADKs from Vergennes
Crossing the tracks on the Trail Around Middlebury
Crossing the tracks on the Trail Around Middlebury
Crossing the tracks on the Trail Around Middlebury
Crossing the tracks on the Trail Around Middlebury

I had a late lunch in Middlebury and then connected the TAM to skip some busy roads, only to find a construction detour that put me right back on Rt. 7 south out of town. In East Middlebury I hunted for a decent beer at the gas station / convenience store but nothing sounded good – so I topped off on a snack or two and water and headed up up up VT 125. The climb up 125 took forever. I was pretty cooked from the ride, and I walked the first steep pitch just out of town, pushing the bike uphill until I reached a pull off where I collected myself, hydrated, and then pushed on for camp.

At FR32, Goshen Ripton Rd. I turned onto dirt. This was about ~52 miles into my ride, and I found myself off the bike and pushing for a stretch to give the quads and lungs a break. FR32 is one of my move favorite places to get to on a bike.

FR 32
FR 32

My plan was to arrive around dinner time, setup camp, then make dinner while shooting a time-lapse sunset from the Voter Brook Overlook. I pulled into the Moosamaloo Campground at about 6:30, found an open site, dropped some $$ into the deposit box, and setup my Tarptent Moment.

Tarptent Moment Setup from Mike Beganyi on Vimeo.

The Voter Brook Overlook is a 5 minute ride further down the access road. It was a bit underwhelming with regards to getting a good sunset time-lapse – but I tried out the GoPro and made dinner.

Setting up the GoPro
Setting up the GoPro
Voter Brook Overlook... last frame from an unimpressive time-lapse.
Voter Brook Overlook… last frame from an unimpressive time-lapse.
Dinner, Voter Brook Overlook
Dinner, Voter Brook Overlook
Voter Brook
Voter Brook

After dinner I rolled back to camp, did some bike and gear adjustments, bear bagged my food and kitchen, and planned to turn in for the night. After I played with the long exposure settings on my Canon G12.

Bike, Tent, Lights, Night
Bike, Tent, Lights, Night
Self Portrait, lit by Tent
Self Portrait, lit by Tent

Morning found me up early, with the other campers still sound asleep. I made breakfast and broke camp, and headed for Steam Mill and Natural turnpike, 2 of my other favorite places to be in VT on a bicycle. Both of these roads are up up up… so I started the day with a good deal of climbing.

Camp road, morning light.
Camp road, morning light.

I stopped at the Robert Frost trail to adjust some clothing, and take advantage of the restrooms at the trailhead, from there I found Steam Mill Rd.

Robert Frost trail sign
Robert Frost trail sign
Steam Mill Rd.
Steam Mill Rd.
FR 59 Sign and IF
FR 59 Sign and IF
Wetlands, Natural Turnpike
Wetlands, Natural Turnpike
End of the World
End of the World

From high up on the Natural Turnpike I dropped into Lincoln, then Bristol for an early lunch / second breakfast at the Bristol Cafe and Bakery. A large group of GMBC cyclists congregated while I was enjoying my food. They were on a Sunday ‘touring’ ride. I chatted with a few before they left, then rolled out myself for home.

Bristol Bakery and Cafe
Bristol Bakery and Cafe

I picked a few new roads on the run back from Bristol… and the route pretty much did me in. I struggled from Monkton to home, but the roads I did choose are sure to be additions to future routes… especially if I route them to be downhill. Piney Woods Rd. is a lovely lane and a half (at most) of dirt… and it is steep as it follows the creek. Plank Rd., North Rd., Parks-Hurburt Rd. and Old Stage Rd. are also nice alternative routes (dirt) for going north / south and connecting into Bristol from Chittenden County.

No problem. I was slow enough at this point...
No problem. I was slow enough at this point…
Creek on Piney Woods Rd.
Creek on Piney Woods Rd.
Piney Woods Rd.
Piney Woods Rd.

From Monkton I followed familiar roads back into town, struggling with the heat, and feeling a bit dehydrated. I returned home about 30 hours after I left.

Clement MSO 32s in their natural habitat
Clement MSO 32s in their natural habitat
Almost home - barn on Baldwin Rd.
Almost home – barn on Baldwin Rd.

Day 1
~62 miles
~5926′ climbing
Pavement with a bit of dirt and trail

Day 2
~57 miles
~6220′ climbing
Dirt with pavement

Spring Overnight

Took off with Wil to meet up with some usual suspects at Little River State Park. Dirt road, trail, pavement, mud road, some single track. A true S24O as I returned to the car 22 hours after I left.

Down Governor Chittenden Rd. and across Johnnie Brook:



Things got muddy along the Winooski:



Met up with Greg in Waterbury and climbed to Little River State Park:



The reservoir and some more climbing on snow and ice:





Tested out the new 0dF down sleeping bag – my feet were steaming when I woke up in the morning. I am close to having a gear range to go from 60s summer nights to low teens, zero degree winter nights. Temps got into the 30s overnight. The lean to blocked the wind and everyone was cozy:



Rolling out in the morning – we split up, and made our way to home / second breakfast and some nice riding:





Winter S24O to Little River

Quick, solo, sub 24 hour (S24O) bikepacking trip to Little River State Park. Dirt roads, a bit of pavement, and the park access road on day 1, then the access road and pavement on day 2.


Dinner, small fire, and a night in the woods.
Rain, muddy roads, soaking wet, cold, muddy.
Smiling from ear to ear.





~42 miles – ~6 were pushing the bike up and down the access road.

Silver Lake Early Fall

Wil, Greg and I did a S36O to Silver Lake. Road, dirt road, trail, and single track to Lake Dunmore, then we found the Minnie Baker trail and connected to Chandler Ridge. We rode the ridge as the sun was getting low in the sky, and made it to camp at dusk.



Our plan was to camp and then ride out exploring some VAST and MTB trails that connect up to Brooks Road and then ride the high dirt roads to Lincoln and Bristol. That plan changed when I realized I lost my brand new Showers Pass Crossover Jacket somewhere on the ridge trail. We checked my camera to verify I didn’t leave it in the truck, and found a spot where we thought it might have ejected. I opted to leave it, not wanting to alter the trip, and I wasn’t confident we would find it. The boys voted to not let my jacket remain lost in the woods.


The change of plans had us riding more single track out – the Leicester Hollow trail. Wil move on ahead and ditched his camping kit and blitzed the south end of the ridge trail, back to where I thought I lost it. He found it far far away from where I thought it would be – but returned with it tucked into his jersey.


We then opted to roll into Middlebury for breakfast / lunch and not try to regain the high ground and ride our original route.


Even with the changes we had a great time. Covered ~74 miles with plenty of climbing, roots, rocks, dirt and a beautiful sunset.

S24O Silver Lake

Snuck in an S24O last weekend. Drove part way, and traversed road, dirt road, TAM (trail around Middlebury), forest road and single track to Silver Lake in the GMNF. Came into the forest service campground via the Leicester Hollow Trail – a rocky, root fun ride of single track.





Made camp and dinner, enjoying a Heady Topper that I packed in ice for the trip. After hanging my food I tucked in for the night and listened the the loons, the owls, and the small critters that tried to steal my dinner when I got up to rearrange some gear. Awoke early and enjoyed the view of the lake, before taking off for the car.


I was going to ride out the campground road, or explore some VAST and MTB trails to VT Rt. 125, but after walking up some steep gravel decided to roll back down the Falls of Lana trail and get to Middlebury for some real food.

~70 miles round trip to the car, and I actually completed the trip within 24 hours of leaving home.

Frosty Fall Fatbike – Photodump


I set out with a friend and a couple of online acquaintances in early November to do a bit of late fall bikepacking. I need to write up a full trip report – but here is a photo dump from the ride. We covered 56+ miles, much of it on trail and class 4 road. Machines were all Pugsleys – a single speed, an IGH Necro, and my white 2×9 all with bikepacking bags. We also had a first generation along (the first one sold in VT) with racks and panniers.


The start was in Pittsfield, VT. We crossed the Green Mountains near Chittenden Reservoir and made our way north to Silver Lake to camp, taking the Leicester Hollow trail in from the south. Fire, chatting, eating, and then sleeping as snow started coming down.



At 2am everything was white – but by 6am when I got up to start a fire everything was just wet. We left the park on the Leicester Hollow trail, which was the only dirt on the second day.


We stuck to pavement back to start, as the weather turned as we climbed Brandon Gap – we had rain and freezing rain and sleet coming down the east side.




The last 10 miles were truly a death march – I was a little sad we eliminated all the dirt and trail – but thankful to eventually be warm and dry.

Fall Bikepacking

Wil and I took a quick overnight tour from Burlington through the Cotton Brook with a lean to bivy in Little River State Park. We left BTV later than expected Saturday afternoon, rolling out of town in spotty showers on familiar roads to Richmond and then on to Waterbury.

We had a heat lamp dinner at the Waterbury Mobil as the sun disappeared from the cloudy, dreary sky before rolling up a dark ~6 miles on busy VT 100 to Moscow. In Moscow we turned up Cotton Brook Rd., passed through the gate, and onto the double track logging road. It was well after dark, and we worked our way up and through ~10 miles of forested double track, to where we thought a mountain bike connecting trail was located. The climb was steep in places, rolling in others. We gained 1000 feet over a few miles, and I found myself hiking quite a bit. Tired, the rain luckily stopping, the ground wet and covered with leaves, and my stomach now protesting my dinner.

We eventually found a trail, closed to bikes, that was posted for snowmo, hike, and ski. We ventured (up again!) on foot a bit – but found it rather disagreeable for riding. We then rode the double track to its end, passing another turn to connect back to where we started, and eventually settled on a trail following the reservoir. After a bit of smooth single track Wil hit the brakes hard in front of me, calling out that there was wildlife in the trail. A porcupine (appropriate, as I think we were heading to Hedgehog Hill Trail) was ambling down the trail. We kept our distance and walked along behind until it wandered off to the side and climbed a tree. For the balance of this section every time I’d stop I’d swear there was something following me. I kept hearing a ‘brush brush’ in the vegetation, with nearly every step. Looking around with my headlamp I would see nothing. This went on for quite a bit, with no clear idea of what was going on.

Some rolling single track with dark views into the abyss of the reservoir to our left brought us to a trail junction. We both knew about where we were – but we both had different ideas on how to get to the campground. Wil wanted to head uphill on some double track, which would lead to the Dalley Loop trail, very rideable double track down to the campground. I wanted to head straight down, walking if needed.

At this point I was really feeling it. Tired. Stomach far worse off. Cold but not miserable. And really looking forward to a fire, warm socks, and some food. Wil didn’t even want to walk down – as he felt the trail was sketch in the daylight. So, after some disccussion, and imagining we were miles and miles away from anywhere on the TD route, we opted for more adventure – easily adding 4+ miles to our trip. Upon starting to roll out Wil noticed something caught up in my rear wheel. The mystery follower! A 6′ long piece of bailing wire was wrapped in behind my cassette, around my wheel, and into my brake. Its amazing that I had ridden for so long without the wheel locking up. It took us about 10 minutes to get it all untangled. We walked a bit uphill, then jumped on to ride. Wil disappeared over the top, and I fell over, cranks locked up. Another round of messing with my wheel – my rear derailer was jammed all up. Nothing moving forward or back. After a few minutes of cursing I was rolling again. Up some more, past old foundations and a cemetery, and finally to a trail junction. A left turn and some wonderful double track downhill, with both helmet and bar lights on high to pick out the water bars, and we were at the campground road. A short paved ride up and around the loop and we were picking out a lean to.

~57 miles from home, about 10:40 pm, and we finally stopped moving. We covered pavement, dirt road, single track, double track, way finding, rain, slippery leaves, and wildlife. Now it was time to warm, rest, eat, and sleep. I set out to build a fire. Wil made a backpacking dinner, I ate some cookies procured at our gas station stop and tried to re-hydrate. After a bit of coaxing we had a roaring warm fire, which dried our socks and warmed our cores. We stayed up way too late watching the stars and not wanting to leave the warm fire. Sometime after 1am I settled into my bag. A fitful sleep ensued – my stomach continued to protest, and Wil’s homemade Tyvek bivy sounded like an army of cats were chasing yarn balls inside FedEx packages all night…

Eventually my stomach settled and I drifted off to sleep. I awoke late (for me), put on water for oatmeal and coffee, and began packing up.

Chilly, getting into riding clothes, but much warmer than the last time I was here, so no morning fire was needed. We rolled out down the campground road – bundled in all the clothes we had for the descent. A quick breakfast in Waterbury, and then a wholesale gear rearrangement for me, and we were rolling home. Dirt and paved roads to Richmond, where I needed a warmup and calories. We parted ways at the Village Cup. I mentally regrouped from my slow morning and lack of sleep, Wil powered on home.

After calibrating my caffiene and calories, I took off through Johnnie Brook and up Governor Chittenden Rd., then the drag through Vermont semi rural suburbia back home. We totalled ~98 miles in the two days, tested out gear, pushed into the night, and generally had a great time.

Fall Overnight (almost)

Planned to do an E24O (extended 24 hour overnight) with Greg this weekend. Ride ~60 miles. Climb halfway up the spine of the Green Mountains. Hike a bike / ride in to Camp @ Silver Lake. Ride out in the morning through Moosamaloo and The Natural Turnpike for breakfast in Bristol. Ride home.

Greg hammered all week to get a roof on a project he was finishing up… so his legs were toast. At the ~35 mile mark he said he felt worse than when we completed the Lake Champlain 200k. Options were to continue on with a major bit of work in front of us, or slowly head back home. He chose to call it, and offered to ride back to my place solo so I could carry on. Not willing to leave him stranded and suffering (and with no way to carry the 10 year old 3 season tent on my own, and manage to still carry my extra layers, food, and stove) – we enjoyed a leisurely ride home.

A bit of a disappointment – but when I woke up this morning to freezing / sleeting rain and took a short ride to the local cafe I was glad not to have spent a night at higher elevation with a 60 mile wet, rainy, 40 degree ride home.

Bike and gear worked admirably. The tent is something I didn’t carry last year. A bivy and tarp setup is in my future for the cold. All in, a good day out.

Fall S24O


Managed to get out to the woods and meet Greg for a Fall S24O. I took off west from home solo on Saturday afternoon and met Jim at City Market and he rolled with me for part of the trip. Rolled out past Catamount and bombed down Gov. Chittenden Rd. where I lost my wingman to a pinch flat. Crossed the river in Richmond and rolled what used to be mainly dirt to Waterbury – the only stretch left unpaved after a round of stimulus cash is in Duxbury. The smooth ride was nice – but I will miss the dirt as following the river is a favorite ‘flat’ ride that is easily accessible from town – low traffic, scenic, and as a series of dirt roads – relatively traffic and roadie free. I was wearing thick gloves on the way out – and I needed to make time – so even though the sky and the fall colors were splendid – I took no photos. (Jim, ahem – where are your snaps?)

A quick warm up at Waterbury Station and a snack was had as I waited for Greg to roll in from the east. We climbed up to the closed Little River State Park, scoped out a lean to with its back to the wind and set up camp. Fire wood scrounging and catching up ensued as we warmed and I made some (horrible) freeze dried dinner. Temps dropped to the high 20s overnight – but we were out of the wind and comfortable for the most part. I had a hard time getting to sleep as I’m usually in my hammock – but with the cold and new gear I felt it smart to sleep in the shelter. I’m fairly certain the lean to floor was pitched toward my head. I was constantly trying to hike my pillow further under my neck to keep my head up, struggling to get comfortable. I eventually resigned to sleeping on my side, which is possible with the semi mummy cut of the new bag and integrated pad. The new gear worked well – for a 30 degree bag I slept in wool xc ski pants, a thick wool top, heavy socks, and a beanie, and probably could have survived in less. I put on the sweat free and dry extra layers more for the ability to sit in front of the fire and make a nature call if needed…

On the way into the park we encountered a grumpy porcupine, posturing as we rolled by – and throughout the night heard coyotes and several owls. At one point it sounded as if one of the owls was directly overheard – calling loud enough to wake me at 2am. We woke early to frosty temperatures and footwear, quickly gathered up more firewood, and warmed drinking some trail magic coffee that Jim bestowed upon me. (Yes, it was from a major chain, but for ‘instant’ – it was damned fine… and the ease of making it, while waiting for a warm fire, after crawling out of a nice warm bag… was priceless. Thanks Jim!) Our morning derailed from there as we tried to find real breakfast food in Waterbury. It didn’t happen – and as I was in calorie deficit from the miserable dinner the night before I took Greg’s offer of a ride back into town via his truck. We attempted 2 different diners – only to be disappointed by long lines (seriously, BTV needs more good breakfast eateries in town…).

All in I logged 52 miles. Felt strong this morning and had we known our breakfast plans would be dashed by the unwashed masses… I would have ridden back to town and lived off the Clif bars in my bag.