04 January, 2008

Dupont State Forest

Pre Race Road Trip......

Nothing better than escaping the winter weather of the midwest, loading up the car, and making the long drive south to enjoy the sunny skies of North Carolina.

Good Morning! The good news; we did escape anywhere from five to eighteen inches of snow in Cleveland. The bad news;With a little bundling up and some oatmeal inspired good spirits we hit the trails from the Lake Imaging trail head; Climbed up the Ridgeline Trail, around Hooker Creek, down Buck Forest Road, apparently the most dangerous road in Dupont.Watch out for black ice! My knee swelled up pretty good. Thankfully I had a first aid kit all the way back in the car. We returned to the single track, found ourselves in a rhododendron tunnel working our way through the Locust Trail, linking to the Isaac Heath trail, and then a great downhill on the Jim Branch Trail.
After our first short loop, we went back out Lake Imaging Road to the Oak Creek Trail, and took Joanna Road out to the Grassy Creek Trail, where we encountered some really strange frost formations. These crazy things were growing out of the rock four or five inches, and they're not attached to a grass or plant or anything, just strips of frost. Chris showed off all he has learned in his years of service and volunteering for Mountain Biking and trail stewardship with I.M.B.A.The next morning we woke to more of the same. Lots of cold but a lot of sun, and less snow on the trail. We headed over to a trailhead in the southwest to do two trails the get a lot of attention at Dupont; Cedar Rock Trail and Burnt Mountain Trail. Cedar rock was an amazing trail. We started up the north east section of the trail, hit the powerlines and then started climbing the granite slickrock.
The south western exposure allowed the sun to melt off the snow in the afternoon, but left stripes of ice as the water refroze over night. I'll have to get back to this one and do it in good condition. We took a few seconds to take a group shot up top, and a cover for the yet to be started Dieringer Fabrications catalog.
We pointed the bikes for home, and rode a great slickrock downhill, back into the shade and snow of the pines. The west half of Cedar Rock trail took us back to the road, where we road over to Burnt Mountain. We had to hike a bike up a few 3 foot water bars/drops that looked liked they might be fun the other way if I were on a bigger bike, and they weren't coated in ice. I pedaled up a short uphill, pushing the limits of the 32 x 20 I was running for Saturday's race, and then hit some great wooded singletrack ascending to the top. The back side of the Burnt Mountain Trail was the smoothest trail we hit all weekend. A long, fast and bermed downhill, complete with a couple tabletops and doubles (probably best rode the otherway), and we were back at the car again. This section of the park is kind of limited if you can't cross a wet stream crossing, and in sub twenty temperatures, we weren't messing with a stream, so we drove down the the Fawn Lake parking area and rode the Reasonover Creek Trail to Julia Lake, and then worked our way back on Conservation Road. Somewhere in there I stopped taking pictures.

Trail Maps: Day 1; Day 2 part I; Day 2 part II

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