Friday, August 28, 2009

Bradley-Palmer and Willowdale Recon

I know, I know. I should be putting up my Timberman post. Sooooon.

I decided to skip the repetition of pounding pavement in MHD and head to one of the nearby trail running locations. A couple of weeks ago a did a jaunt in the rocky disjointed mess of trails known as Lynn Woods. I kind of know my way around there from several outings and still don't really enjoy the place. The maps are insufficient, trails are seldomly marked and tons of unofficial trails add to the mess. But as an alternate opinion some people think that there's some good ridding there. Plus there is a cool 'mural'. On a brief continued note of positivity I might enjoy the place better if I knew the trails more. But I still think the ones I've been on don't flow that well.

'Nuff about Lynn.

In my quest to find some trail running on the north shore I found these two websites. I was leaning towards Manchester because of proximity but decided I wasn't really up to another stop and go Frost workout. Dogdown sounds like a pretty sweet spot. But sounds equally heavy on the guesswork unless you stop in Gloucester for a map. I guess there's nothing wrong with getting on a trail blind and trying one intersection or another. But I find that you end up doing loops, on crappy trails and often have to retrace your steps. Which is fine for an adventure, but not for a workout.

So I pointed towards Willowdale and Bradley-Palmer. They're technically two separate parks but are only separated by a road. They're also connected to Georgetown-Rowley if you're interested.
Any way the ample amount of trails plus maps to follow make this trio appealing.

I got maps at the 'Park Headquarters' in B-P by the Willowdale estate. (There's an outside map box) And then started running on the B-P trails. Which were fair but not very lengthy and inconsistent. Plus they frequently open into fields where the trail just kind of seeps into the grass.
But what's really cool about the area is the obsticals setup for Hunter-Jumper (Cross-Country?). Big fence like obstacles that barricade most of the wide field-trails and dot the open fields. Looks like an awesome place to ride...if you have a horse.

I worked my way up to the Willowdale trials and found them much more enjoyable. I tried to follow most of GAC's 10k directions which I only read once, briefly, and did a pretty good job of running the course. If you try it be heads up around intersection 15. I think this is where the trail turns left and it goes up a semi-washed out jeep trail that's also is intersected by a bandit single-track trail and going right takes you to the edge/end of the park and a dirt road.
Also, up near Marini's field it gets a little screwy. I jumped onto a spot of single track on the left as I came into the field. Which was a ripper of a trail by the way. But presumably the 10k trail goes straight up into the field.

The trails up on the Willowdale section are pretty well marked with the intersection markers. Some have disappeared, but there are some additional markers for the Bay Circuit Trail and others. Most of the trails are on the flat side of thigns, are bridal baths/jeep trails and are smooth. There is also some clean single track here and there. Overall it actually looked like a really excellent location to bring your Cross bike. B-P would also be good to ride through although neither one is particularly technical if you bring your MTB.

That said, I hope to return, explore more and see if there's some tricky stuff nestled in the woods...or bring a horse, that would just be so awesome.

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