No one will protect what they don't care about, and no one will care about what they never experienced
~Sir David Attenborough
Switchbacks across the logging road leading to South Hill. Some of the most recently logged land on the system which about ten years ago meant the trail was choked with berry brambles, Those have started to be overtaken by the fast growing birch in recent years on the front line of succession. First round of bridges and causeways built with the help of VYCC. The tons of surepack used for trail hardening were hand delivered by a Death Race circa 2012. Old bridges were refurbished in 2016 with help from Americorps.
Named for the farmer who recently owned this side of the forest and to this day uses it for deer hunting. Crosses many small ravines and a couple of larger ones which lends the trail its natural swoopiness. It’s some rugged terrain to build in, but fortunately there were many preexisting logging roads to help connect the dots in a three mile circuit that has become an essential ride. Bear, deer, porcupine and grouse are a common sight especially early and late in the season.
Shale dominated soils make this the best draining trail with the exception of a wet area towards the top. Machine built bench cut and fast straightaways with bermy transitions, and, of course, a stone wall, and a few strands of barbed wire well off trail, leftover from farming days of yore. This trail’s always a rider favorite and for good reason, and as a bonus, it’s one of the easiest trails to maintain as well.
I’m not sure how or why this trail got its name. But after riding it a few times you’ll notice that the name is strangely apt. Nevertheless, local riders have invented their own variations of the name, Zebeedeebee for one, which somehow seems even more apropos.
Scratched out of the ground of the dense spruce forest on a single trail day by the Pittsfield Bike Club proving that some of the best trails emerge almost spontaneously. Brief, challenging, dark, atmospheric and often mentioned as amongst the GMT classics.
This trail predated the actual stone stairs by some years. It referred to the somewhat steep portal onto South Hill back before Fuster’s Bridge was swept away and rendered a pretzel by the Tropical Storm Irene swollen Tweed River. It remains so for the soul riders who don’t blink at fording the river in its normally placid, but frigid, state.
Portions of this trail show up on maps as a part of a cross country ski trail network that predated the GMT and, starting from an old barn in Stockbridge spanned throughout South Hill. Neighbors also tell me stories of summer bridle rides from Riverside Farm when, under former ownership, it was a horse ranch. This proves that the forest was used as a trail system long before it evolved to its current status.
This trail was named in honor of Chet Warman, an amazing Pittsfield cyclist and human being who died in an accident on a cross country cycling trip. This is a rollicky, incredibly fun trail that does his memory justice.
Throughout the duration of this trail the bedrock is so close to the surface that only a thin, dark organic based soil covers it, and over the years this dirt is eroding to expose more and more of the ledge. Where it doesn’t, a few infamous mudpits have formed which makes this trail a challenge to get open in the early part of the season, especially problematic since it is a vital link to Shrek’s, a rite of passage at the GMT.
This is a trail not a notice as I naively thought the first time I saw the sign. But I always thought it would be fun to arrange one in Amee Barn just for the fun of it one day. I’d like to see that place shaking again!
This is how it all began, with this quarter mile connector trail to the forest roads to service a very raw and rugged six hour mountainbike race affectionately known as the 666. The momentum only built from there.
2nd Generation Trails
Many people comment about the great layout of this trail and how surprisingly fun it is to pedal uphill on it and for that we have Jason Hayden to thank who coordinated the GMT originally. It always intrigued me how the uphill direction can be flowier and more fun than going downhill, but don’t get me wrong, either direction is oh so nice.
In an earlier era on the Amee Farm we kept one of the ducks, Roland, as a pet. He had a birth defect, a permanent crick in his neck, that caused him to weave as he waddled, a little sad and very adorable. He died as this trail was being finished and his unmarked grave is next to one of the initial berms.
This is one of those trails, a semicircle of forest roads with a singletrack connector across the ravine in actuality, that existed from the start and just needed to be trimmed, raked, signed and opened. It serves as either an early exit from Fusters or a way to ride what’s normally the last stretch of Fusters counterclockwise and be able to bail before what would be a grinding (but by no means unrideable) uphill. It’s a little known, but really fun, riding option.
Inspired by a tropical cascade at Iguazu Falls in Argentina named Garganta del Diablo. There the water roars ineffably into a seemingly infinite abyss. If that doesn’t alert you to the kind of experience you’re in for when you ride this trail, I don’t know what will!
When this trail was laid out it had no practical reason for being other than there was interesting looking terrain in the Labyrinth forest that looked like a riot to ride. So I got some tools in there after I built Devil’s Throat and connected the dots.
Named after a late, ornery, ungelded Scottish Highlander on the Amee Farm, and my favorite of the new generation of trails. Just to let you know where my biases lie, I was reared on the rugged, steep, glacial till clogged terrain of northeast PA, and therefore smooth, machine built terrain soon renders me catatonic. No risk of that here!
About the name: Its not a description of the cavernous spruce forest you duck in and out of, though that would’ve certainly fit in retrospect. Its in homage to the bizarro world feel, as if you landed in the plot of a David Lynch film, of the ever perplexing Pittsfield vortex. Considering the status of much of the rest of the world, it’s not a bad place to be!
La Gran Aventura
Could’ve just as easily called this one “Moose Alley.” If you ride it enough, you’ll see why.
Started out as an idea of a simple connector trail between The Overlook and Bubba and morphed into a full fledged trail of its own. You might be surprised how often this kind of thing happens.
The old way to start Fuster’s was simply to bomb down the fall line on the washed out skidder road, which I must admit is its own kind of fun, but probably best relegated to the past.
Though it's one of the most recent builds, I scouted the terrain years ago, and the way the gnarly rock slabs and chutes aligned I could tell this was a trail simply awaiting a little excavation. Access is off of Devil's Throat for good reason.
This was meant to be an extension of La Gran, but soon took on a life of it's own. The first three quarter mile section will be open spring '19, but we're not done yet.