Sunday, September 4, 2011

Holiday Ramble

With the end of summer nigh and my 2 weeks vacation winding up I took the opportunity to spend some quality time with my sister who was car camping in Bon Echo. Since a couple of other Tall Tree’ers had ridden out there earlier this summer I decided I would spend Friday riding the roads and old rail trails in the area. Having picked up a copy of Eastern Ontario Recreational Trails map I was intrigued by the road, off-road, and rail trail routes identified and wanted to see what was off the beaten track in a new area.

Google Earth image of the route here. (Not sure if there is a way to actually link or insert the google earth kmz file).

I started at Marble lake (westernmost point on the route pic) and enjoyed some rolling terrain heading south towards the 7. Road surface was mostly good and traffic along this route quite light. Passing the 7 after about 1 hr of solid riding I continued south through the quaint little burg of Arden then promptly hung a left onto the TransCanada Trail (Central Frontenac trail). The surface is mostly good crushed rock with some sections, particularly the lower lying areas, a bit bumpier with some rocky fill. The trail is actually kind of cool, winding though various forest groves and wetlands. Plus there are small communities of houses along the route….now with road access but I imagine it was the rail line that was the lifeblood years ago. Coming around to beautiful Sharbot lake (the lake) then the town - took me a little longer than anticipated at less than halfway my planned 120 route and already 2.5 hrs in. I stopped at the local Fresh Mart for provisions and a quite evidently “rural” type commented about my being “out for some exercise” and having a cord of wood that needed chopping and stacking. He was not being rude with it but went to great lengths to expound as to the “quality workout” that it would give me. I happily informed him that I’ve spent many a time chopping and sawing wood over the course of my active outdoor life. Seems some people must think we ONLY ride for exercise and do not grasp the concept that it is actually an enjoyable avocation

Moving along I had hoped to head north on the K+P trail but ended up continuing west as the main trail showed no evidence of a turnoff and I had not crossed the 38 through Sharbot Lake (or so I thought - apparently I went “under“ a nondescript bridge - even drove back after to figure out how I got west without crossing the main road). Cost me about 5 km before I realized that I should have hit the #7 and found a side road to jog up then back about 4 km on the 7 (not particularly recommended). Could not find the K+P trail access, and it did not matter at that point as the clock and weather were closing in on me so I sought the safely identifiable road route. Going north on the 509 was fine - good road, little traffic then eventually a west jog on Ardoch road proffered a variety of shield country standards as well as homesteads, small farms and meadows. By the time I arrived at Ardoch and soon to head back east along the 506 I was fighting a massive headache and raging sore throat and time had ticked much faster than the miles - I just wanted to be done. The last 25 or so kms were uneventful save for my increasingly weary body and a few trucks towing boats who just loved to whiz down the freshly graveled sections catapulting stones (inadvertently I’m sure) at the struggling cyclist in the opposing lane. Some nice views again coming back towards Marble lake and finally after almost 5 hrs in the saddle I was happy to be back.

While it might not be a “cycling destination”, anybody heading out to that area might want to bring their CX or touring bike, pick up a 5$ trail map and do a bit of exploring…or…rambling.

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