Henry Shepley, summer 2020
The general route is to start in Montpelier, head north and camp at Elmore State Park, and circle back to Montpelier via the Worcester foothills. There is so much to explore outside of Vermont’s capital, and our crew of three (me, Warren, and Kathryn) met up at the park & ride outside of the city and set off.
Together, we had each done parts of the route on our own. This allowed us to cruise most sections, which was nice as Vermont was experiencing its first rain in a long dry spell and we biked through several showers. We started our trip out by snaking our way up County Road in Montpelier and riding dirt where we could, including Robinson Hill Road in Calais (pictured).
From Maple Corners in Calais we jumped on Worcester Road and took a hard right north on an old logging road through tick town, which eventually dropped us back onto County Road moments before the real highlight of the day: Town Highway 17. TH17 is a thoroughfare of sorts for off-road vehicles--lots of mud, ledges, and cobbled rock winding through the forest. We were already sweaty and soaked from the humidity, and then it started pouring as TH17 turned into W Woodbury Road and we descended down Brown Hill. Make sure your brakes are good and your legs are ready to climb back out toward Elmore!
Thankfully no one was banking on buying dinner at the Elmore Store as it closes at 3pm these days. We were only slightly bummed about not having beer at our rainy camp that evening. Camping was reasonable at about $30/night for a lean to, which was worth it as the weather made up its mind above us.
The next morning we had lots of coffee and ate the world’s healthiest breakfast at the store on our way south--pepperoni hunks, cookies, cashews, and sugar water. This was Kathryn and my’s first time going through Eagle’s Ledge Road toward Worcester and were pretty stoked to get into it. Warren had done it the previous year under a time constraint of having to be at his landlord’s son’s child’s birthday party in Richmond (needless to say he was late, as this road gets messy). There was lots of scrambling and stream fording amidst scattered smooth patches of old road--it was a very cool section but we were glad to have it behind us after about 10 miles.
Arriving in Worcester we had some heavy rain and excellent breakfast sandwiches at the general store. We meandered our way up Minister Brook and multiple Bearswamp Roads to catch some class 4 for the commute down First Terrace Road and back to the cars. We were all soaked, our drive trains were scratchy, and our brakes were full of gravel, but it was a perfect overnight blast that samples all of Vermont’s ‘road’ surfaces.