Sunday, August 22, 2010

Clayton 2B

Despite all the fine weather we've had lately, I've hardly touched any bike--motorized or not--for the past few months. Just been too busy this year. Today I had to break the spell. So, mist notwithstanding, I headed out for a little cruise on the KLR as a reward for cutting brush and firewood all morning. But, where to go?

Clouds seemed threatening up towards Pakenham, so naturally that's the way I headed. My bike led me, Ouija board-like, towards White Lake and before I knew it my knobbies were turning onto the California Road. Might as well go along for the ride by this point, so there I was, bouncing along this lovely favourite trail with fresh woods air in my face. It was almost a let-down ending up in the Tatlock core, battling traffic and waiting for lights to change. But got through rush-hour OK and figured a peek at the marble quarry was in order. Much expanded excavation since the last time I was there. It's a pretty nifty place to check out.

Procrastinating my way back to Almonte, I thought I should finally check out the 2B concession just off the Tatlock Rd. before Gemmill's General Store. It's alway's intrigued me, but being so close to it I've always figured "next time". Much to my surprise, it didn't end in a private laneway like so many other dead-end concessions in the area. On the contrary, there's a delicious old road sneaking off into the woods. I couldn't resist. I road about 2-3 more kms before my nagging sense of better judgement won the debate and I turned around to head home before dark.

The track seems reasonably well travelled, although I saw no new tire tracks which suggests it actually goes somewhere useful and may even be a through-route. A look at Google Maps suggests many possibilities. There's a maze of lakes and swamps in that area, and the satellite imagery hints tantalizingly at many possible tracks through the wilderness. This is a route where you'll want to bring a GPS and a repair kit for sure.

I'll be checking out this one again at my earliest opportunity. It looks like there's about 8-15km of track to follow before you come out on a dead-end side road off a 90 degree corner on the Bellamy Mills Rd. There were many well-travelled side tracks to explore as well. I suspect they head to hunting or logging areas. It's rideable with dual-sport tires, but I would advise knobbies if it's wet. There are some good ruts, rocks and gravel that you'll need to wiggle around, and the trail undulates with puddles in the dips. It's about half a grade rougher than the California Road, and no worse than any of the off-road trails around the K&P, like the E series.

Hunting season is coming fast, so if you want to explore in Lanark County, you basically have until the end of September and then you'll want to paint your bike orange, wear a safety vest, and stay off the trails.

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