Last weekend a group of us made camp in the Kingdom - the Northeast Kingdom. Yes, you read that right - we CAMPED (i.e., slept on the ground) for two whole nights! We did have an air mattress, but I am still recovering the range of motion in my neck from the experience ;-).
Our intent was to go up and spend a significant amount of time riding the Kingdom Trails. This is, by far, the BEST mountain biking in New England. Mike and I have been riding these trails for several years, and we always have a great time. Each year, a new trail or two comes into being, making the ride more interesting. Last year, Sidewinder was that trail, and as we rode it again this year, I giggled like a little girl!
The weather was beautiful all weekend, providing awesome views and stellar riding conditions. On Saturday, Susan and I started out with the boys from the campground, screaming down the Burke access road to get our trail passes. From there, it was a climb up Darling Hill Rd to get to the trail head, and the boys set off in front, leaving Susan and I to start our own ride down Pound Cake and onto Fence Line.
Susan was awesome on all of the trails, riding rooty switchbacks and climbing like a squirrel all day. We ended up connecting with Tom and Mike T to ride much of the morning, and later, caught back up to the rest of the group. At one point, near the Beaver Pond, Susan even retried a rooty section three times, and finally cleaned the whole thing with a big smile on her face!
After the roller-coaster ride down Webs (twice) and then Sidewinder, it was time to head back into town for some much needed lunch (Bailey's and Burke serves up an awesome Gobbler sandwich - Thanksgiving dinner in a bun!). We decided to head back the most "direct" route, which took us out to Darling Hill Rd - past beautiful inns and panoramic views of Willoughby Gap and the mountain.
The chapel; Riding Darling Hill Rd.
The Inn at Mountain View Farm
Willoughby Gap; Burke Mountain
After fueling up on turkey and stuffing for lunch, it was time to head back UP the mountain. The boys decided to go back to the campground on the trails, but Susan and I once again chose the most direct route, back up the access road. We slogged up the hill in our smallest gears, reaching the campground in about 27 minutes (it's only a little more than 3 miles). We had a great day of riding, and deserved the pizza and beers around the fire afterwards.
Here are a couple more pictures from the weekend. It was great to be out on the MTB after a long road season - I'm looking forward to some more adventures like this as we head into the fall!
The gang leaving the campground; Susan and Tom
Philip, Mike and Alexis; Cathy and Susan
Philip and Mike riding by the barn; Susan on Darling Hill Rd.
Yum - lunch!; Slogging back up to camp