Friday, September 4, 2009

TA Report Branford Supply Ponds

Date of Activity: August 15 & 20, 2009

Trail Ambassador Name: Glenn Vernes
Trail Ambassador Email: glennvernes33athotmaildotcom
Town: Branford
Location: Branford Supply Ponds
Trail(s) Ridden: Yellow, red, silver, purple, corkscrew, switchback
How did you use the trail?: Hike/Mountain Bike
What was the time of day?: afternoon
Duration (Hours): 4.5
Distance (Miles): 20

Condition of Trail(s): Dry, dusty, well used.

Observations: This was a popular riding area in the early to mid nineties, with weekly group rides. But it fell out of favor with the freeride craze, since it doesn't offer much of that type of riding (and it's only a few miles from Westwoods in Guilford, which does). Then a threatened golf course/housing development put its future in jeopardy, but the development never happened and the place is now a nature preserve (thanks in part to NEMBA fundraising).

I hadn't been riding here in over ten years, and the 4.5 hours I spent hiking and riding the trails proved two things: most of the older trails are still there and remain much as I remember them, and there are also new trails of the same character as the old ones. One of the new ones is blazed purple and includes a boardwalk which is a little too narrow for wide bars (see picture below).

Supply Ponds is the home of fast, smooth, dry and dusty Southern California-type trails. They seem to dry out pretty quickly in most places. They are too wide to classify as singletrack but not doubletrack either- call them somewhere between. It would be a great place to learn the sport, a great place for race training (just take it easy near the ponds), and a great place for the simplified bikes (one gear, no suspension) that are becoming more and more popular. It's a stacked loop layout, with a smooth, easy trail around the pond and relatively tougher stuff as you radiate outward.

I rode the infamous Corkscrew downhill- considered a radical, steep and extreme descent back in the day but nothing too frightening by today's standards. My efforts to locate the Juice Box trail- the longest and most technically demanding trail in the park (and so named because a discarded paper juice box, with straw, was found on it) were unsuccessful.

If you live anywhere near Branford and you're looking for fast, smooth XC trails you should give this place a try.

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