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Old 07-16-2021, 08:24 PM   #1
Join Date: May 2018
Posts: 163
Essex Chain Lakes

Took a whack at the newly-opened ECL tract. Started at Outer Gooley, in hope of reaching the Cedar. Nice double track, but blue trail disappears into the yellow, and no sign of where it bears off to the river. No worries; I was very close according to Strava... Went to Pine Lake where I heard a lovely loon call and saw a pair of them, just before the floatplane fired up and the place sounded like a race track for about 10 minutes. Not enough to spoil it, though. Nice campsite- would be a great place to overnight. Returned via same route to the rapidly decaying Gooley camp building. I hope they clean it up soon.

**Note- I am fairly certain I spied a large snake, likely a rattlesnake, in an derelict culvert along the road about halfway back from the blue/yellow split. Keep your eyes peeled and if you are hiking/biking with a dog, be wary.

Then drove a looooong way to Newcomb and drove to the Hudson access parking and rode the short way to the Polaris Bridge. Very pretty. That stretch of the Hudson is on my Hornbeck list.

Then drove back to what I believed was the gate to the bike trail to the main complex. No signage, and very few trail markers. At interesection (with signs!) 3.5 miles in or so I headed south to the Cedar, passing Third Pond and the site of the former Inner Gooley camp. No sign of the buildings, which was nice. Rode and waded my way to the Cedar (many beaver dams messing things up on this and other trails, so be prepared to have wet feet) where I took a break at the double rapids where the river makes a 90-degree turn to the south, just upriver from where I would have popped out on the previous ride. Saw several deer along the way, but not a human for the whole trek. Back to the main intersection and then the half-mile to Fifth Pond. Nice campsite there, too. Headed back to truck and came upon a good-sized bear on the trail about a mile from the gate. Watched it for a little bit- beautiful creature. Then with a "Hey bear!" it was off like a, those critters can MOVE.

About 25 miles total on the day; chocolate milk and honey BBQ Fritos from Stewart's in LL capped off a fun day. Will return to paddle the Chain from the Deer Pond side. If I bike it again, I will go from that point and explore the Deer Pond Loop.

A trip to make if you are interested in seeing miles and miles of lovely woods, some beautiful bodies of water, and fauna. As far as MTB excitement, though, it's pretty low on the scale. But, no hills overly steep or long, so a nice way to spend a few hours in the woods, and the breeze of biking kept the bugs (somewhat) at bay.

Last edited by 2505; 07-21-2021 at 08:44 AM..
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