Saturday, September 11, 2010

TA Report: Bennetts Pond

TA Report: Bennetts Pond 9-11-10
Saturday, September 11th, 2010
Condition of Trails: Excellent
Trail Ambassador Name: Rich C
I had to be in Danbury for a few hours on Sat so I took the opportunity to revisit Bennetts Pond. My son and I had visited Bennetts Pond years ago when we first started and I remember what little we rode of the park we liked. Mark Lurie even recommended a couple of loops and even sent me marked up maps. Not sure of the time needed, I opted for the easier loop but I would be in for a big surprise later on...
I remembered a short ride up (eastward from the parking lot) took you to a field and from there you had a long and swooping bomb downhill to get to the pond. Well, it wasn't quite as I imagined but there was a section in the woods where the non-stop continuous downhill was pretty amazing.

Bennetts Pond

Once at the pond level, I rode west along the pond on a nice and easy singletrack. Although the day started off mighty cold, it was lovely, sunny and warm at that point.
Turning right at the junction, shortly thereafter, you hit super narrow footbridge over a rocky streambed, I took the trail to the left and headed up the hill. It was a gradual climb punctuated with some rocks and roots here and there and the occasional super steep short climb and/or sharp curve.
I came across a very interesting area where the trail shoots thru a small rock crevasse and there are a few fairly large boulders (glacial erratics) perched nearby. The ground consisted of moss-covered rocks and it felt like this was (or could be) a mountain biker's stunt area in the making...

Mossy Rocks

Big Rock

I rambled on, climbing higher and higher and traversing twisty tight single track along rock-strewn ridges. All the trails were really nice. The only sound I heard was the incessant sound of acorns raining down all around.
Taking a right (kind of following the map Mark provided), I ended up on this winding trail thru the woods that left the ridge and wandered up and down... twisting and turning thru the deep woods. It was great, quite a challenge and obviously built by a mountain bikers. Kudos to all who have been busy building in here. I finally ended up meeting the yellow trail and took a left. Unfortunately, I didn't have clue to where I was and needed to head back.
I hit another major trail marked Blue and clambered on. Once again this was a great trail - parts were bluff sweet flowing single track... but other parts were sudden rolls and small plunges over overhanging or protruding rocks. Once section had even a massive slick rock section.
 Blue Trail-Slick Rock

I finally came to a sign that said Lake Windwing so I bombed in that direction and after much more rough and tumble (but awesome) trails, I saw a lake thru the trees. The main trail turned right and went up the hill but I took a left and made a quick bomb down the last section of the hill to bring me to the lake's edge.
A quick ride around the trail that followed the periphery of the lake brought me right smack in the middle of kid's baseball game. I asked the first couple I met ("Where am I, please?") and they explained I had reached Lake Windwing and pointed the way back via the road.

Lake Windwing

In a hurry (I had to pick up my son), I took the road back to the lot but ended up having a bit of extra time so I rode back into the park on a different trail, a tighter single track right out of the lot. It was a long gradual downhill and real easy compared to the stuff on the ridge north of Lake Windwings!
Bennetts Pond is definitely on my list of places to revisit -- but I'll be sure to bring a map with the trail colorings marked on it next time! Great trails, especially in eastern Hemlock Hills section (I'll probably be putting together an interactive map of this place at some point as well...)

Trail Ambassador Email: mtnbikerdad[at]yahoo[dot]com
Town: Danbury
Location: Bennetts Pond
Trails Ridden: Many
How did you use the trail?: Biking, Photography
What was the time of day? 9 AM -12 noon
Duration (Hours): 3 Hours

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