Stillwater Natural Area

On Tuesday, I had a window to go out and get a few miles in. I really wanted to check out some new trails, just off Flat Ridge Road. Jamie, tipped me off last week and I’ve been eager to check them out.

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The mid-teen tempts jumped to 25 degrees by noon, so I jumped in the car and parked At the end of Five Mile Meadow, just off Silver Lake. I planned on entering at the Flat Ridge Cabin, across from Little Mud Pond, so I climbed up the back end of Five Mile and hopped on Little Mud Pond Trail (another trail I’ve waited to ride). This is an old snow mobile trail with a 2-3” rip rap surface. The climb was moderate, but the descent to Silver Lake was fun.

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I rode across to the Flat Ridge Cabin (one of hundreds of hunting cabins scattered throughout the Delaware State Forest). This is a great place to enter the trails, as this is one of the state owned cabins.

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The narrow singletrack, wraps around for a little over a mile, before intersecting with the yellow trail. This trail, which is mostly singletrack, winds through the thick woods and ends at Coon Swamp Trail.

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I headed down to Big Bear Swamp. On the way, I noticed an animal carcass. It appeared to be a deer. Who says bears are in hibernation. Coming to a narrow stretch of singletrack, I realized that I better head back. The sun was going down soon, and it’s too cold to get caught out this time of year.

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Hidden cabin off Little Mud Pond Trail

What I did notice is that there are a few more trails off Coon Swamp that I will need to investigate. Can’t wait, this seems to be a nice area of the forest. Spinning around, I headed out to Flat Ridge, veered onto Silver Lake and took the Little Mud Pond Trail back to Five Mile.

 

What’s Playing (what am I listening to while writing or what’s dancing around in my head while riding) – today -Men at Work – Be Good Johnny

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Bontrager OMW Jacket: Reviewed

The last few winters, I’ve been entrenched in a never-ending quest for the perfect winter jacket.  Let me explain. I own a few winter riding jackets. All keep me warm or dry in a number of conditions. Yet, I still feel, each time out on a winter ride, I’m missing something. It could be 30 degrees and raining or 20 and snowing. I have jackets that are warm but not waterproof, winter shells that are windproof, but not very insulated and extremely warm jackets that just do not provide enough ventilation.

As I’ve said in the past, I don’t work for any of the companies I review.  I do not get paid to review a product. I purchase each product for my personal use, wear it or ride it, enjoy it or not.


This year, I took a chance on Bontrager’s Old Man Winter Jacket. As you know, I tend to overdress when the temps get low. This leads to shedding layers midway down the trail. Fortunately the OMW provides plenty of ventilation, via two large zippered chest vents that are hydration pack compatible. I need to have a jacket that will keep me warm in a multitude of conditions. But the ability to fully ventilate, makes this jacket killer!

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 When your out on a ride and the skies open up, rain, snow and sleet tend to fall. Having a hood helps, but having a hood with a Boa Dial that cinches down around your helmet, makes a cold, wet ride seem like a cold, wet ride where you stay warm and dry.

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 Bontrager’s  Profila softshell fabric, powered by 37.5 active particle technology provides what I believe is the warmest softshell on the market. There are warmer jackets, but at this weight, you’d be hard pressed to find something warmer. Storage is provided by two spacious zippered hand pockets and two zippered chest pockets. There are also two internal drop pockets. The semi fitted cut, with double cord adjustment at the waist, keeps water and other liquids from hitting your body.  The radioactive orange color makes this jacket a bright choice for riding through hunting season or any season.

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Bottom Line: Finally, I have a jacket that checks all the boxes. If you want a winter jacket, that’s light, warm, waterproof and well ventilated with a Boa Dial hood, this is definitely the jacket for you! Bontrager calls it a MTB jacket. I call it an anything jacket. Get it, you won’t be sorry!

 

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New Year’s Gravel

I could give you a year in review. I thought about that. I could tell you about some fantastic rides, good times with friends and complain about all the rain. But, 2018 is in the rear view mirror and 2019 is upon us.

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I met up with Eric today to get the year started on a high note. A gravel ride through the Delaware State Forest. We departed the Rt. 739 parking area around noon and immediately tackled the hills on Five Mile Meadow Road. At 43 degrees, the weather finally cooperated. After about 2 miles of climbing, we turned right on Standing Stone Trail.

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A mile in and we had to dismount to jump across the creek crossing. It was a little too deep after yesterday’s monsoon, but we managed. The hard packed gravel that makes up the surface of Standing Stone, drains extremely well. We cruised through the deer management area to the gate at a nice clip. A left on Silver Lake Road put us on some pave until we turned right onto Flat Ridge Road. Mostly dirt, Flat Ridge was mushy for most of its 4 miles.

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It was Eric’s idea

We rode up Bushkill Falls Road and eased into Minisink Lake and onto Whitaker Trail. Up and over the hills and around the switchback, we came to a swath of private property. There were more that a few “no trespassing” signs,  but the newer looking gravel road was too inviting. This private country resort is tucked deep in the woods with a beautiful roadway complete with wooden bridges and a scenic pond. The road loops around the property and ends with a tour through the main house and smaller cabins.

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On Whitaker, we pedaled back to Flat Ridge to push through the mud one more time before screaming down Silver Lake Road and onto Five Mile Meadow. We chose the long way back to toss in a few more hills. My legs did not thank me. They were a little rubbery after maybe indulging a little too much last night. As we capped the last of numerous climbs, we descended back to the parking area, with a really nice ride to start the new year. You get the longer rides in when you can, so this was a plus for January 1st. I hope it’s a sign of things to come for the winter, but I doubt it. Full winter gear and shorter rides are right around the corner.

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Warming up after a chilly ride home

What’s playing (what am I listening to while writing or what’s dancing around in my head while riding) today – Dave Davies – Susannah’s Still Alive

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