5 December 2008 - 1:48An Oldie, but Goodie
I made the trek out to Colchester yesterday morning, M2 was going to ride the infamous “Camp J” before work, and I found myself free at the time. I haven’t been there in probably 9 years. Camp J, or Camp Johnson is actually a plot of Colchester Town land, that abuts the Camp. The Camp is the big VT Army National Guard base. It is also known as Sunny Hollow, and is currently under the care of the Fellowship. Pre-911, you could pretty much ride anywhere, then obviously, things got a bit weird once the government thought everyone was out to get it. Fences were erected, and weekend warriors with guns were posted at the borders keeping an eye on things.
Way back when, we used to ride out there all the time, 3-4 times a week! Before we moved to Cali, we lived in Winooski, which was spittin’ distance to these trails. Ten years ago, this was one of the few places OK to ride mountain bikes (that we knew of). We used to bring Dagget out here. He was the best mountain biking dog. He’d run along side of the lead person, and if he thought he had a better line, he’d run you out of the way. Then, he’d bolt into the ferns, find something stinky to roll in, and come back horrendously filthy.
I missed him so much on yesterday’s ride.
I just had to get up and walk away and be really sad for a minute…
The trails aren’t much more than a series of short loops strung together. The area is far less than epic, but what the trails lack in technical features, they more than make up for it with fun. They basically run along the tops of ravines, occasionally dropping in to cross to another. Camp J was also famous for it’s log piles. You could always expect a downed tree to have a log ramp built on either side of it. Some of these got rather large.
Since the Fellowship took over maintenance, there has been huge improvements to the old system. Lots of bench cutting, switchbacks and quite a few bridges have been employed, the most notable one being about 50 ft long, over what I remember being a rather soggy crossing.
Like I said, it’s been a long time, but I can easily see myself getting back there soon. It is a great place to rock the rigid single speed, a far cry from the 26″ full suspension bikes we all thought we were so tough on back in the day. The climbs are much flatter and shorter than I remember them being, the log piles only inches to the feet they seemed at the time.
I feel a nostalgia ride coming on!