Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 70 total)
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  • #294915

    saxman
    Participant

    I was up at Little Bennett today. For the most part, the new trails are handling the freeze/thaw fairly well. The Browning Run is far more “worn in” now and seems to be doing a decent job of resisting the HHH’s that dominated the old trails. There are a couple of soft spots, to be sure, but no worse than you’d see at Schaeffer or Black Hill.

    The one spot that is just god awful is the new Pine Grove reroute. There is one spot where the mud is so pervasive that it completely disabled my bike, something that has only happened to me one other time in 17 years of MTB. The mix of mud and leaves gave the mud the consistency of the bricks that were used to make the pyramids. Two equestrians could not believe the solid chunk of mud I pulled out of my bike.

    Dark Branch Loop continues to be underutilized, as was the original trail. That’s fine by me! It and the Browning Run are probably the two most fun trails to ride in the park these days.

    Windy Hill and Hard Cider were both good with some soft spots. The “older” section of Browning Run (south of Clarksburg Road) was in pretty good shape. I’m very encouraged by the current conditions as the “old” Little Bennett would have been a giant mud bog by now.

    The new bridge on Hyattstown Mill Road (Western Piedmont Trail) is now open. It beats the crap out of having to do that substitute creek crossing downstream!

    #493194

    philipvw
    Participant

    After staying away for several years, I decided to give Little Bennett a try this past Sunday (11/25/2012) … was quite impressed.
    I parked at the hyattstown end, and rode in on the Piedmont trail (road), but I turned up what I believe is old Prescott Road (I didnt know better) so I missed the part of Pine Grove Saxman was talking about. Then I did the Dark Branch loop (very nice), and then on to Timber Ridge and Tobacco Barn, all the way down to western Piedmont, then cross over to the other parking area, and climbed up Loggers. The first part was a push, but after the initial elevation, was a really nice ride up to Purdum. at the top, I took Browning run all the way back down, cutting back on Windy Ridge and dropping onto western Peidmont. From there I went back towards Hyattstown, but I did have to ford the creek, which is about 18″ deep at that point, and had a log floating at the far shoreline which stopped me dead and I had to put my feet down in the creek (not that they would have been any drier had I ridden all the way through). I didnt have my Lake boots on (stupidly) just wool socks and since it was about sundown, I was suffering with frozen toes when I got back to my car (no dry socks/shoes). I’ll have to figure out a way around that crossing somehow in the future.
    So I hit most everything, except hard cider and a few connectors, but had a great ride!

    #493217

    BottomBraket
    Participant

    @philvw 236251 wrote:

    After staying away for several years, I decided to give Little Bennett a try this past Sunday (11/25/2012) … was quite impressed.
    I parked at the hyattstown end, and rode in on the Piedmont trail (road), but I turned up what I believe is old Prescott Road (I didnt know better) so I missed the part of Pine Grove Saxman was talking about. Then I did the Dark Branch loop (very nice), and then on to Timber Ridge and Tobacco Barn, all the way down to western Piedmont, then cross over to the other parking area, and climbed up Loggers. The first part was a push, but after the initial elevation, was a really nice ride up to Purdum. at the top, I took Browning run all the way back down, cutting back on Windy Ridge and dropping onto western Peidmont. From there I went back towards Hyattstown, but I did have to ford the creek, which is about 18″ deep at that point, and had a log floating at the far shoreline which stopped me dead and I had to put my feet down in the creek (not that they would have been any drier had I ridden all the way through). I didnt have my Lake boots on (stupidly) just wool socks and since it was about sundown, I was suffering with frozen toes when I got back to my car (no dry socks/shoes). I’ll have to figure out a way around that crossing somehow in the future.
    So I hit most everything, except hard cider and a few connectors, but had a great ride!

    You climbed UP Loggers and crossed Lil’ Ben Creek, the Phil, you’re awesome.
    For a gentler, kinder Lil’ Ben, try this:
    MD Little Bennett MTB Cue Sheet 120828
    http://www.more-mtb.org/forum/showthread.php?t=24478

    #493195

    philipvw
    Participant

    @bottombraket 236254 wrote:

    You climbed UP Loggers and crossed Lil’ Ben Creek, the Phil, you’re awesome.
    For a gentler, kinder Lil’ Ben, try this:
    MD Little Bennett MTB Cue Sheet 120828
    http://www.more-mtb.org/forum/showthread.php?t=24478

    Huh? I thought it was all pretty tame compared to Frederick riding, that’s why I went there. I am old, fat, out of shape and lazy.

    Anyway, I remembered that someone posted a que, obviously that one form you Michael, but I couldnt find it on my phone browser when I decided to go, so I just sort of hacked it out. The stream crossing wasnt too bad, I made it across to the other bank before getting hung up on a floating log that I couldnt power over, so te feet went for a dip, and combined with my unpreparedness, made a tough few minutes under the heater.

    But all in all, a great place to ride when I want something more tame, and much closer to Frederick than Black Hills, Hoyles, Schaeffer, etc. I just have to figure out a way around the creek crossing from Hyattstown in the winter.

    #493197

    saxman
    Participant

    There are definitely some loops around Little Ben that avoid water entirely. That would eliminate the grassy hill decent, which is usually one of the more fun parts of riding there. If you start at the Clarksburg Road lot or the Burnt Hills Road lot, you can get a really good ride in and not have to worry about wet feet.

    #493196

    philipvw
    Participant

    @saxman 236275 wrote:

    There are definitely some loops around Little Ben that avoid water entirely.

    While that is entirely true, what I want to figure out is how to park at Hyattstown and go from there without crossing the creek or climbing the (vertical) pavement of whats left of Prescott road. That might be a challange. I know, I know, just drive to the next exit ya lazy bum….

    #493218

    BottomBraket
    Participant

    @philvw 236279 wrote:

    While that is entirely true, what I want to figure out is how to park at Hyattstown and go from there without crossing the creek or climbing the (vertical) pavement of whats left of Prescott road. That might be a challange. I know, I know, just drive to the next exit ya lazy bum….

    I hate wet feet in the winter worse than I hate driving automoblies.

    Plus, all I’m saying is Logger’s is way more fun to go down than up. I usually go up the steep asphalt RD next to Purdum (right up from the old school house), or up Browning Run from Clarksburg RD, or my new favorite way, from the Kingsley trailhead, up Hard Cider – then hang a left on Purdum – from there chose left through the trees to single track or right to continue on the washed out jeep trail – then left on the gravel road to the campground, Logger’s, and Browning Run.

    aka: The New Lil’ Ben Connoisseur

    #493198

    saxman
    Participant

    @philvw 236279 wrote:

    While that is entirely true, what I want to figure out is how to park at Hyattstown and go from there without crossing the creek or climbing the (vertical) pavement of whats left of Prescott road. That might be a challange. I know, I know, just drive to the next exit ya lazy bum….

    As of now, there is no way to access the bike trails from Hyattstown without getting your feet wet. Your choices are both equally bad: Cross the creek at the old Prescott Road crossing and then climb up an extremely steep and unmaintained hill or follow Hyattstown Mill Road (Western Piedmont) and cross Little Bennett Creek at a much wider and deeper section (entirely comparable to the old Hoyles Mill Bike Wash before the bridge was constructed).

    The Dark Branch Trail used to be the only connection from that side of the park to the park’s interior. The trail has been closed off and turned into a loop, albeit a fun one..but still a loop, nevertheless. Austin Steo and the Trail Conservancy has offered this online petition to restore the connectivity of the Dark Branch Trail to Hyattstown Mill Road (Western Piedmont). If you haven’t signed off on it yet, I would recommend that you do for the sake of your feet!

    http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/l…il-connection/

    #493254

    Patches
    Participant

    I like LB!

    #493261

    crispy
    Member

    I was out exploring Little Bennet the other day, taking all the side trails and trying to learn the entire trail system.

    Agree that the Dark Branch Trail is very fun and underutilized. It may be because the sign post at the trailhead has a picture of a horse only (no bike or hiker). The first time I rode out there I turned around assuming Dark Branch was horses only.

    About a half-mile down Dark Branch Trail, there is an unmarked side trail that goes down that steep hill toward Dark Branch Creek. It looks beautiful down there, the creek had a bunch of golden leaves floating on the surface like a woodland scene out of a movie. Most of the unmapped side trails in Little Bennett have been clearly closed off with branches or other barricades. This one has not (of course, it’s possible someone just moved the barricade).

    Does anyone know this trail? Do they not want us riding it, or is it like a locals trail?

    #493199

    saxman
    Participant

    It sounds like you may have tripped across the original Dark Branch Trail. It went all the way to the bottom of the stream valley. It was closed because the trail became very eroded, and a missed step or bad line would take you over the side of a very steep slope.

    There is an online petition to restore this connectivity, as there is no way currently to get from the campgrounds to the interior of the park without getting your feet wet.

    #493228

    sierra11861
    Participant

    Road LB today and noticed some of Austins planned pink flagged pathways. One I noticed look interesting left off the steep downhill of Tobacco Run and I thought I saw some excavation in the distance but could not tell for certain. Looks like the very end of Browning run is going to be re-routed to the right. I could have been seeing things because my glasses were fogged due to the well, fog. Still looking for pink flags off Dark Branch that we voted on but either they don’t exist or I missed them.

    #493229

    sierra11861
    Participant

    Just FYI, there is a tree down about 100 yards up Pine Grove. It has been there for about 2 weeks.

    #493200

    saxman
    Participant

    @sierra11861 239359 wrote:

    Just FYI, there is a tree down about 100 yards up Pine Grove. It has been there for about 2 weeks.

    From which end? Earl’s Picnic or Prescott Road. How are the overall trail conditions? I haven’t been out to Little Ben since early Feb. I’d like to restart the night rides one the freeze/thaw levels off and when the weather patter stops raining on Monday into Tuesdays.

    #493219

    BottomBraket
    Participant

    @saxman 239361 wrote:

    From which end? Earl’s Picnic or Prescott Road. How are the overall trail conditions? I haven’t been out to Little Ben since early Feb. I’d like to restart the night rides one the freeze/thaw levels off and when the weather patter stops raining on Monday into Tuesdays.

    See my post in:

    2013 Trail Conditions- ANYWHERE
    http://www.more-mtb.org/forum/showthread.php?t=25038

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