Low 50's, minimal wind, most cloudy with a bit of sun at times, also some fog as I was approaching Quabbin. Seemed a good idea to do a chunk of miles because December weather is not normally like this.
Started from the vicinity of Whole Foods in Hadley, where I needed to go afterwards, headed over for what turned out to be a successful winter assault on Quabbin Hill, then returned around the south side of the Holyoke range, bringing back some O' memories in the process.
O' memories #1 -- Quabbin. Made the map in the fall of 1978. First event was days 1 and 3 of the 1979 Team Trials in May, then one A meet (New England Champs) in 1981 and two Billygoats (1980 and 1987
). A few local meets in the 80s, and then at some point we lost access. Dumb, but I didn't realize it at the time, should have just made events there to benefit the Friends of the Quabbin and they would have been our friends too instead of enemies.
One renegade event there in 2010, part of CSU Superstars weekend (remember Ross and the ax-throwing contest?), a mass start and a different course for everyone, designed so that if everyone ran the way they normally did, everyone would also finish at the same time.
The tower on top is certainly easier to reach on a bike than Mt. Grace was last weekend. There's a nice big parking lot nearby (where Phil parked for his assault on the summit earlier this year). For the first day of the A meet the start was right below the tower, nice view, very friendly. The finish was on the other side of the parking lot, also a nice view but perhaps significantly less friendly due to the severely uphill nature of the finish chute.
O memories #2 -- Departed the Quabbin tower, after a while found myself going west along Bachelor Street in Granby, the southern border of the Mt. Norwottuck map. Platt made this map. Took him about 6 months, January to June of 1987 I think, staying with us. It took him six months not because he was been extraordinarily precise but because he didn't care to go out on days that weren't sunny and pleasant. Needless to say, not much mapping got done that winter. Also needless to say, strange noises kept emanating from his room. He claimed it was music. We were pretty sure he was sacrificing live animals.
First use was for an A meet (and USOF convention) in 1988. I passed by where finish had been, then a little further on where the start had been. There were Billygoats there in 1989 and 1990, really fine orienteering -- this was getting to the end of the era where folks were so happy just to have a color map to run on that they didn't realize that one way to show how good you were was to point out how bad the map was -- and also the requisite foolishness. And then various events over the years, including Jeff Shapiro's Billygoat in 2005, aka the Death March, and Phil Bricker's Blue Hills Traverse several years ago, one of the two best traverses ever (neither, not coincidentally, being held at the Blue Hills).
My favorite of these was probably the 1990 Billygoat. Links to the map, results, story, and other foolishness are here
O memories #3 -- Circled around the west end of the range, decided to go to the east end of Chmura Road, a spot often used to access the western half of the Earl's Trails map
That map is much more recent. I made it in the fall of 2011. It was used for days 1 and 2 of the Western Mass 5-Day the following May, and then the Billygoat in 2013. Ah, the 5-Day, back in the days when Alex and Ali were here in the valley and life was very fine. And we raised something over 7K to send the ski-O team off to Kazakhstan.
There is a section of the ET map, north central, almost all dark green because there were some serious enough briers that I didn't want to wander around in there looking for bits of nice woods, nor did I want any future course setter to be foolish enough to put a control in there. There was one quite nice trail that connected the end of Chmura Road with Bay Road (actually, via part of my friend Dave's driveway). So I thought I'd use that to bike over to Bay Road.
There had been no apparent maintenance on the trail in the last 5 years, so a mix of mud and sand and erosion gullies was on offer. All of that was fine. Also a blowdown blocking the trail, that was fine too. Just that in getting around it, I got about three different sticks stuck in my wheels, but only noticed two of them. So when I went to ride off it didn't take but about 10 yards before my chain had descended into prison, between the frame and the small chain ring (despite my what I thought was successful effort to make that impossible).
Whatever, five or ten minutes later I was on my way again. And a few miles later back at my car, wondering if I should have gone for 50 miles but deciding that 44 was sufficient progress for today toward 5,280. :-)