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  1. #1
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    Blue Marsh Conditions

    I know we have a thread going re. Blue Marsh & French Creek conditions, but I thought we'd kick one off just covering Blue Marsh conditions. It's usually wetter than French Creek anyway.

    "73cuda" indicated the trails at BM were in better-than-expected shape last Saturday 3/14, which is good news. "bankofdad" was there the same day and didn't mention mud. Both mentioned horse damage.

    So has anybody ridden BM lately? Any trail reports? I used to live in the area, now I'm an hour south, so any reports on conditions would be greatly appreciated!

    Mike
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    i dont know but im trying to get up there on saturday afternoon to ride it up.
    cas im diggin a ditch where madness gives a bit.

  3. #3
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    Based on those reports, Im considering hitting it up on Sunday depending on how much rain we get tomorrow

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    Sunday

    Yeah, Sunday was kinda the day I was looking at too... depends.
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  5. #5
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    Looks like the rains are by- locals, whats the call? Will Sunday be ok? Im thinking about starting at Stilling Basin at 9:30 with a crew from the LV.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dankilling
    Looks like the rains are by- locals, whats the call? Will Sunday be ok? Im thinking about starting at Stilling Basin at 9:30 with a crew from the LV.
    Hey Dan. You must be rsdmag from the other forum. Blue Marsh is tough to predict this time of year. Nights are going sub-freezing, limiting evaporation, and holding the water in the soil. On the other hand, this past Tues. and Wed. were fine. So it all comes down to how much rain fell today, and how much evap. occurs tomorrow and Sat. I'm thinking it should be fine, but like I said, it can be a toss-up this time of year.

  7. #7
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    is anyone going up tomorrow?
    cas im diggin a ditch where madness gives a bit.

  8. #8
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    Antietam Lake,Mt Penn area has been mint for weeks,these mtn's have good drainage and dry out quick.have many new trails completed in the last several months.this is a very technical riding area,there is some flow but mostly All mtn tech.

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    Hey Dane,

    I noticed some new "posted" signs on the singletrack between Angora Rd. and the main yellow-blazed trail to the flying circles. I've been enjoying that section recently, but now it's posted. What's up with that? Is that really private land there?

    Tom

  10. #10
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    If anyone rode BM today, please post it up. Im trying to make the call this afternoon if possible. Thanks!

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    Tom,it's disputable at this time as to if it's private property at that trail head.there is a small section of private property to the left of the trail head,and we had butted heads with the owner years ago.were looking into it and hope to get it resolved soon.for now please stay of it for now,but you can go up to the next trail head and access the rest of it from there,thats all rideable

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by readingracing
    Tom,it's disputable at this time as to if it's private property at that trail head.there is a small section of private property to the left of the trail head,and we had butted heads with the owner years ago.were looking into it and hope to get it resolved soon.for now please stay of it for now,but you can go up to the next trail head and access the rest of it from there,thats all rideable
    Dane, no prob. We just take the next left and hook back up with the trail. Although I can see where others have removed the trail-blocks and ridden through. There's enough other great trails to avoid this one and wait and see how it all sorts out.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by dankilling
    If anyone rode BM today, please post it up. Im trying to make the call this afternoon if possible. Thanks!
    Dan, I'd be tempted to ride Blue Marsh tomorrow, but with all the more promising options, I'll be leaving that alone until a few more dry days. Based on French Creek this morning, I'm thinking Blue Marsh will be soggy, although it's hard to know for sure without being there.

    Best of luck if you decide to go. Mt. Penn is a much better option if you're heading down this way.

    Tom

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    Tom- decided on French Creek instead- thanks for the heads up!

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    Blue Marsh is Better Than you think

    Just got back from BM. Can only speak for the west side of the lake,but I thought it was almost perfect ,maybe just a little drier and it would be perfect.Sure there was a muddy spot here and there...so what, there almost always is, except during August.
    Anybody know how the "ski slope hill" is ?--- you know starting at Church rd and going counterclockwise around the lake.Tried that 2 weeks ago and it was too muddy.That area is usually one of the last to dry out,

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by dankilling
    Tom- decided on French Creek instead- thanks for the heads up!
    Dan, F.C. will be great tomorrow. It was nice this morning. A few soggy spots after the thaw, but I've seen it much, much worse. Tomorrow should be even better. Have a great time!

  17. #17
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    Thanks

    73cuda, thanks for posting. I'm def.ly gonna ride BM tomorrow (Sunday). Bringing a friend who is new to MTBing (and clipless pedals) so we'll stick to the flatter stuff probably on the south side and see how it goes. I'll try to post conditions after ride.
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    Antietam/ Mt. Penn was awesome this morning at seven and 27 degrees to start. Even at the end of our ride at 10:30 and close to 40 degrees it was still awesome up there. And I am stoked to be riding on my new (to me) Scott Ransom. It does very well up there. Since me and my friends didnt know the layout of crazy eights too well we did a little exploration and I did alot of techy climbing today. Its so awesome up there. There was some horse damage on the trails, even on some of the tighter singletrack I was suprised It must have been very muddy when they went through there because they are deep. Anyone who has never been up there and loves technical has to go ride there. Just go with someone who knows the trails or plan on doing alot of exploration.

  19. #19
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    We left from the VC at about 11 AM on Sunday and headed over to State Hill Boat Ramp and a little beyond before turning back... that was enough for my newbie friend. The trails were wetter than I had hoped in spots; I don't think the sub-freezing overnight temps helped. None of the mud was deep, and there was plenty of dry in between the wet to make for a fun outing. By early afternoon the trails were noticeably drier as temps pushed near 60F. So things are looking up at BM, and it was nice to get back on the trails there (last time for me was 3 inches of snow and ice).
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  20. #20
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    The last 2 days have been a bit greasy on the Blue Marsh trails. I didn't encounter anything unrideable, but you'll get a lot of mud splatter in your face. I rode around lunchtime, so maybe the morning thaw hadn't dried out yet.

    Rain is coming tomorrow. That'll take quite a while to dry out.

  21. #21
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    I'd imagine BM is a little slippery right now, but if anybody gets over there before Friday AM, please post what the conditions are like. A friend is gonna be in town and would love that kind of ride but if it's too crappy I don't want to torture him. Much.
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    I'm hoping to be there for a quickie tomorrow. I think it will be fine until the next rain, which is supposed to be Friday and/or Saturday. If it doesn't rain, it should be great all weekend.

  23. #23
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    Another Fast Fun Ride

    Quote Originally Posted by mtmiller
    I'd imagine BM is a little slippery right now, but if anybody gets over there before Friday AM, please post what the conditions are like. A friend is gonna be in town and would love that kind of ride but if it's too crappy I don't want to torture him. Much.
    Per your request.....just got back ...conditions are excellent for April,dare I say a little dry and loose at spots,but overall , it was hardpacked and fast.I don't think a little rain tomorrow would hurt BM at all.

  24. #24
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    Cool, cool - thanks so much. That's good news. What section did you ride?
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    Kinda hard to describe here,but I'll give it a shot.We start at the State Hill boat launch and go clockwise around the lake,After descending down past the Catalpa(sp?) trees (if you know where they are)you climb back up the fire road and hook back onto the trail,headed back to the boat launch.Then we go over to the dam spillway to do what we call the rollercoaster,which is the part of the trail that runs along the Tulpehocken creek...then back to the boat launch and we're done. It's a nice 15 mile quickie after work ride.

  26. #26
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    Thanks again - got a pretty good idea of where you were... certainly the general area. Owe ya one.
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  27. #27
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    Friday..

    I rode there Friday late afternoon, and conditions were PERFECT - dry even.

    I think the rain we got on Saturday should make it even better, since we had some good wind and some nicer weather Saturday afternoon and today.

    -matt

  28. #28
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    My Sat. ride got rained out, so I did some kayaking on Blue Marsh after the rain stopped Sat. afternoon. Saw some REALLY MUDDY MTB'ers in the parking lot.

  29. #29
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    Just an update on BM - rode the 22/23 mile smaller loop on 4/18 Saturday AM. Started at the VC thinking I might do a quickie out&back but it was such a perfect day I just kept riding. Did it counter clockwise for a change of pace... amazing how a mtb ride seems totally different by simply turning around.

    I was surprised how well it had dried up after the soaking rains a couple days prior. Just a few of the usual mud puddles to dodge, no sustained muddy sections. The horse damage was pretty extensive around miles 12-13-14. Felt like I was riding a cobblestone road that was missing every other cobblestone. Also surprised at how few MTBers I saw.

    I'm gonna sound like an XC wuss (OK I am), but I was glad to see a new side trail developing around the mess of roots at the bottom of the short steep climb near the west side of Sterner's Hill Rd. ~mile 8.5; that jumbled root mess used to be fun, then it became challenging, and lately it was a real WTF. I was heading down that section so I didn't really get the full appreciation for the go-around but I'm sure it'll come in handy when heading the other direction!

    On a personal note, my 29er rigid worked out well on its first longer Marsh ride. Thought I might feel rattled or have achy wrists but none of that happened. Carbon fork and bar help noticeably. Shorter chainstays made for easy front wheel lofts even when energy level started dropping. Didn't miss the full-squish ride one bit... here anyway.

    BTW, it was also trail work day at BM and I want to again thank all the groups that were out working. Lotsa Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, and other good souls. Thank you!
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  30. #30
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    Thinking of coming up from Philly to ride Blue Marsh next week. I've never ridden up there before. After checking out the trail reviews, they're a bit dated so I thought I'd ask what the preferred route/starting place is? What trails are open to bikes? Is there a good map available anywhere online?

    Thanks.
    Stew

  31. #31
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    Depends on how far you wanna ride and what your water consumption needs are.

    I got tired of swearing at the map provided at the lake so I doctored up their map and added some detail. You can find a copy at my blog: http://thecrackedhelmet.blogspot.com/search/label/Maps. The map is a bitmap file so you might wanna shrink it to fit on one piece of paper prior to printing. MS Word or Picture Manager will do that for ya.

    I will go thru all 3L of water in my Camelbak when doing the 23 mile loop. I am 200+ pounds and 6'3" and like to stay plenty hydrated. Adding the extra 7 miles around the ski area for the big 30 mile loop means I'll throw a water bottle on the bike in addition to the 3L.

    Water is only available at the VC and supposedly at the Dry Brooks Boat Ramp. There may also be a soda/gatorade machine at one of the boat ramps. Bottom line - assume your only water is at the VC. You may be able to carry less water (like 2L) if you plan on stopping at the VC.

    Don't forget to bring some fuel. First time I did the 30 miler I bonked madly and was darn near weaving back and forth as I coasted down the final hill. OOooph.

    There are two popular starting spots - the Stilling Basin and Visitor Center area and the Church Rd. parking lot. Church Rd. is a nice starting point because you can hit the VC for water part way into your ride.

    If 23 miles sounds like too much to bite off you can use a combo of farm lanes, dirt roads, and back roads to shave off some miles. You can make a nice 21 or 19 mile ride out of it... or less. Just look at the map between mile markers 3 and 10 and you'll get some ideas.
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  32. #32
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    May 9th

    I have a small group going on Saturday the ninth. If anyone is interested, you are certainly welcome to jump on board! We will start at Church Road.

    Let me know!

    How are the trails now that we had some warm temps and a little less rain?

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    Oh, I forgot... you mentioned something about which trails are open to bikes. The only trails you can't ride are those that are designated as nature trails. Well, certainly Squirrel Run Nature Trail is off limits to bikes and I think the rest are as well.

    On my map, the only nature trail shown is Squirrel Run Nature Trail. The trailhead for Squirrel Run is clearly marked and has a "No Bikes" sign. There are other nature trails near Dry Brooks Day Use Area which are smaller. No loss by not being able to ride the nature trails. Everything else is fair game.
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  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by trekmike
    How are the trails now that we had some warm temps and a little less rain?
    I was at BM on Sunday for a nice family ride. We rode down the newly opened connector trail that links the lake trail to the Union Canal Towpath trail along the Tulpehocken River. Afterward, while my favorite wife and favorite daughter got our picnic lunch set up at the Stilling Basin, my favorite son and I rode out to about mile 2 and back. Actually I wanted to scout out the trail that runs from the Water Rd. lot toward the Stilling Basin (it is short and sweet!).

    Anyway, the trails were in primo shape. It's been just awesome there the last couple weeks...
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  35. #35
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    down at the dry brooks dock thing there is a building maybe a bathroom??. behind the building there is a trail. does anyone know anything about this trail?

  36. #36
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    Trail behind bathroom

    Quote Originally Posted by TimTimo
    down at the dry brooks dock thing there is a building maybe a bathroom??. behind the building there is a trail. does anyone know anything about this trail?
    I'm not aware of a trail behind Dry Brooks bathroom... if there is one it's probably a lakeside path used by anglers.

    You might be talking about the State Hill Boat Ramp? There is a trail behind the bathroom there... it links up to the main lake trail pretty quickly. If you follow it and get to a Y, stick to the higher trail. The lower trail had a bunch of annoying trees down.
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  37. #37
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    They are awful, I haven't been there but I can pretty much guarentee they are pretty awful right now.

  38. #38
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    Late April

    I had the pleasure; and I do mean pleasure of riding here in late April of this year. The conditions on this day were in the high 80’s and the system was totally dry from what I could see. Fast pace for the majority of the 24 miles. Lots of climbing and rewarding descents that provided more than enough recovery time for the next climb. I filled my CamelBak with water, but about 2 miles or so from completion I was totally empty. The key is to hydrate well before you get to the trail head. I was sipping often to keep from cramping even when I wasn’t thirsty.
    Hard Tail friendly, beautiful views of the lake and in a few sections you can give your technical skills a challenge… Ok a slight challenge If you get a couple of dry days before you plan to get up there, the system should be absolutely perfect!!
    Work Hard 2 Play Hard!!!

  39. #39
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    Drove out from nj yesterday. Put in 2 plus loops. One in each direction + a little more. Put in 72 miles. Trails were in great shape

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    Lemme guess... two 30 mile loops and then another 12 just for craps and giggles? Wow, that would kill me. Probably ~10,000 feet of climbing. One loop is enough for me... and hey thanks for the trail update... perhaps I'll get there this weekend!
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  41. #41
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    The extra 12 were because I made a wrong turn and looped back on ourselves 6 miles. It was at the beginning of the day and were where hell bent on doing 2 loops. It ended up being a bonus and both of us were glad we did the extra.

    I am looking to do a triple loop maybe 3rd or 4th week in June if anyone is interested in joining for all or part of the fun.

  42. #42
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    Crazy... but more power to ya!
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    Just wanted to note that 4 of us rode BM last Saturday 5/23. Conditions were great... no rain for many days prior made for a dry ride. Some of the steeper steeps were actually a bit loose... you know how that shale gets when it's dry and dusty. Also, all the green stuff is really growing strong this year. Single track thru farm fields is REAL skinny - was picking crops outta my rear derailleur. And the poison ivy is real friggin' happy too - think my son got some of that magic (ugh).

    All that said, the recent storms have probably nuked the trails good and they'll need several dry days to get 'em in decent shape again.
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    Tomorrow I am driving out to meet up with a friend to ride BM. We are starting at 7:30. We are definitely doing 2 laps with a strong possibility of doing a third. If anyone wants to join in for any or all of it come on out.

    We park at.... some boat launch at mile 19ish. Coming off of 78 and take road to end at stop sign. On the left is a tatoo place. Turn left, its the first parking lot/boat launch on the right. Its about 1--2 miles of riding before hitting the big climb. I think its the lot that is used for the race.

    Sorry not from the area and I just kind of wing it to get there.

  45. #45
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    Sheidy Road Boat Ramp?

    If it's a boat launch it must be the Sheidy Road Boat Ramp near Mile 20. Have fun - I'll be packing for vacation... taking my bike but it won't be as much fun as a BM ride.
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  46. #46
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    Blue Marsh was great today. I was only on the 183 side today but it was super fast and only one mud hole. The rest was great.

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    Quote Originally Posted by heythorp
    Tomorrow I am driving out to meet up with a friend to ride BM. We are starting at 7:30. We are definitely doing 2 laps with a strong possibility of doing a third. If anyone wants to join in for any or all of it come on out.

    We park at.... some boat launch at mile 19ish. Coming off of 78 and take road to end at stop sign. On the left is a tatoo place. Turn left, its the first parking lot/boat launch on the right. Its about 1--2 miles of riding before hitting the big climb. I think its the lot that is used for the race.

    Sorry not from the area and I just kind of wing it to get there.
    How did your laps go last week heythorpe?

  48. #48
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    Ride got canceled do to ............
    but we did it this past thursday. We ended up only doing 2 laps because of many many issues during the ride.

    First lap we had 2 flats and I got stung in the mouth 3 times by a wasp. Once back at the car we had to refuel and re supply and we just spent too much time there.

    First lap was 3:11 which was slow, we spent at least 15 minutes trying to get stans to seal up a tire and this is the lap a wasp flew into my mouth.

    We turned a 2:54 second lap which wasnt too bad as we stopped for 5 minutes at one point and I crashed which took up some time.

    By the time we got back to the car we were about 45 minutes above what we wanted to be and we were both beat up pretty good from prickers, bees, crash, and just overall pace.

    The trails were good but that place could use some rain to keep the dust down.

    I think by myself I could run 3 laps at 2:45 each. Seems like when ever I ride with other people issues are abound.

    We did both laps counter clockwise.

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