This winter has been dumb. The kind of dumb that if I ever have children and they ask me to tell them about the Winter of ’14, I’ll send them to their rooms without dinner. If my memory serves me correctly Boston-Area mountain bike trails were still rideable in early January. The first snow of this year was followed my many more snow storms rendering most mtb trails completely impassable. Thankfully the bone chilling cold of Winter 14′ has seemed to cease and we’re on to sunshine and slightly warmer temperatures. The snow has disappeared from city streets and has reincarnated itself in the form of mud in wooded ares.
Riding in the mud isn’t pleasant, but it’s not about your comfort. If you ride muddy trails your vilified in the mtb world; you’re a huge asshole. Riding in mud leaves nasty ruts in trails, leaving both unsightly scars in the earth for hikers and making the trails bumpy and nasty for fellow mountain bikers once it dries out. Riding in the mud also speeds up land erosion. Don’t do it.
I’ve been dying for some dirt action after spending the winter riding on the roads loosing feeling in my fingers and toes. I love living in Somerville because there are many trails I can ride my bike to. Unfortunately, just about everything in the immediate Greater Boston area is one giant mud bug. After searching frantically for rideable trails on internet forums I found that many had found Wompatuck State Park in Hingham rideable and it was nearly perfect.
According to google maps Wompatuck is a 45 minute drive from Somerville, possibly less or more depending on the general vicinity of Boston you live in. It does involve driving on I-93 which is notorious for traffic. Choose off-peak hours if you can. The drive mostly consists of highways and once you exit into Hingham it’s a different world. The main road features beautifully kept up New England homes with huge meticulously maintained lawns. It’s slightly dryer and just a tad warmer. As you start riding the trails it’s remarkable how much of a difference 30 miles can make.
The first time I rode Wompatuck I got lost. I rode for 3 hours and besides one hour of being endlessly stuck on the same loop; I rarely rode the same section of trail twice. As I was about to leave I approached a group of riders gearing up for a ride. “So, where do you guys ride around here?” “I could it explain it to you, but it’s not going to make sense, it’s sort of like choose your own adventure around here”.
The second time I rode Wompatuck I got lost. It really is a choose your own adventure game. The park is massive and the trials aren’t very well marked and there are no easily identifiable loops. There are sections of trails that pop out onto pavement roads the line that park. You find yourself out on the pavement searching for the next entrance. Sometimes you’re on boring fire roads, or wide trails with tons of rocks where you feel like your bashing your face in for miles. Occasionally you’ll find yourself on a beautiful section of flowy trail that never seems to end. Of course it eventually does and your back out into creepy empty camp sites.
I rode over 2 hours today and I never hit the same section of the trail twice. I found wonders and horrors. To ride Wompatuck you either need to ride with someone who knows their way around or be comfortable with dive bombing trail heads and seeing what you get. Unless you know what your doing, don’t expect a quick ride, but I’m if I’m driving 40 minutes to go ride my bike, I’m going to get a long ride in.