Four of us from Mountain Top headed to Kingdom Trails in Vermont on Thursday August 29th. We drove up at night to take advantage of the lighter traffic and enjoy a full weekday at the mountain prior to the masses arriving for the long holiday weekend. We planned to meet 2 former Mtn. Toppers who moved to New Hampshire on Friday Morning.
We arrived in St. Johnsbury around 1:30am. Some of us stayed at Comfort Inn-(very nice place to say…clean, comfortable, breakfast included, friendly staff and a couple stayed at a B &B in Evansville VT, just north of Lake Willouby, and our friends from NH tried the new ownership LynnBurke Motel.
Day 1 Friday- Arrived at the Kingdom Trail office around 10am to talk w/Tim T. about the trail conditions. After a detailed update on all the work that has been happening fixing up the trails after the rainy summer I was about to head out when I asked Tim where he was from…low and behold he was from my hometown and I went to high school with his older brothers and sisters. Well we had more to talk about after finding that out. Around 11am we started out from East Burke Sports. We headed up Mountain Road to re introduce ourselves to some of the trails that had been closed in July. Moose Alley was the highlight. Shot a couple of short vids on Moose Alley and Pete’s Pond. Finished up riding around 1:30pm and hung out in the East Burke Sports Picnic area. While eating some lunch I struck up a conversation with a guy who was sitting next to us. Turns out he was none other than Leith C. from Jim Thorpe Trails. He was up enjoying the riding(running a single speed) and kayaking. After the short lunch break we headed to Lake Willouby for a swim. After about 2 hours swimming we returned to East Burke Sports and got ready to ride a second time for the day. We headed out around 4pm and rode out to Old Webs area and them back up to the Darling Hill /Wildflower area. Worth It to Sugarhouse to Kitchel to Herbs was the grand finale. Finished up around 7pm and headed over to Hoagies for some dinner. Hillary and the Hoagies Crew did not disappoint. Switch Back Ale and Trout River Red were flowing and we enjoyed a nice meal.
Ride conditions and weather were fantastic. Not a puddle or wet spot anywhere to be found. What a difference from July. Kingdom Trails crews and volunteers did a ton of work filling in mud holes, building bridges, and digging drainage on all of the trails.
Day 2: We did the grand tour on Saturday. Started at approx 10am from East Burke Sports and headed up to the Darling Hill area. Did pretty much everything on that side of the mountain including favorites: Tody’s Tour, Coronary Bypass, Pasture Loop, Sidewinder, and Webs(old and new). Shot a few vids at the bottom of Webs and at the bottom of Old Webs at the playground. We played leap frog with several groups from Canada throughout the morning. Very nice crews who knew how to ride and enjoy themselves. We connected with a father and son team from Boston on Hogback. It was really good to see them enjoying the day together. Reminded me of riding with my daughters as well as skiing with my dad. We headed over the ridge and did a good amount of the trails on that side including Pines, Kitchel, Herbs, and Ridge. Finished riding around 2pm and hung out at EBS enjoying the people watching. Decided to head back to Lake Willouby for a swim and kayak. Enjoyed the lake and scenery at Willouby. Next it was off to Trout River to enjoy a few craft brews. Trout was packed and the beer was really the best. Last stop was the new Valley View across from the LynnBurke motel. We enjoyed the food, service, and atmosphere.
Day 3: Bright Sunshine and low humidity was the weather for the day. Started riding at 9am from East Burke Sports lot. We headed 4.3 miles uphill to the beginning of J-Bar on the mountain. What a climb up the Mountain! Mountain Road to Auto Road and finally to Camptown trail for the final push up to the CCC trail. We climbed Camptown trail with a group from Montreal. (They had started from EBS also) One of the riders was originally from Pottsville PA. It was worth it for the ride we had down J- Bar. After J-B ar it was back to EBS and up to play on the network of trails off the VAST trail. Riverwood, Leatherwood, Beat Bog, Kitchel, Sugarhouse, and Nose were a few that we rode. We finished riding around 12:30pm. Before fully packing up for the long ride home it was into the Passumpic for one last swim.
All in all a picture perfect trip to Kingdom. Weather was fantastic, trail conditions were the best, no major mechanicals, no one got hurt, great riding camaraderie, and felt good riding. Already have my reservations at the hotel for next July and August’s Kingdom Trails trip!
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