This is a collection of posts I’ve written about our adventures on the Narrow Gauge Pathway here in Maine. They are in no particular order.
First Bike Ride on the Narrow Gauge Pathway in Carrabassett Valley
We have already walked on this trail a few times, but yesterday was the first time we rode our bikes on the Narrow Gauge Pathway up near Sugarloaf Mountain. I’m happy to report that our ride was just as enjoyable as our walks have been. The trail is smooth, fairly long and it even has a few offshoots for the adventurous riders among us. Those offshoots are more for mountain biking and they range in levels of complexity. Some are easygoing and straightforward while others are much more technical for the advanced rider. Since we are merely casual riders, we stuck to the beginner trails. More on that below.
I was forced to drive the truck up to the trails yesterday. I didn’t want to do that because it gets something horrible like eight miles to the gallon as far as fuel efficiency goes. Surprisingly, I used less than a quarter tank of diesel for the whole trip. That wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. The reason I had to drive the truck was because I haven’t been able to find any decent bike racks for the car. The ones available online are very flimsy looking and I’m not in the mood to spend a lot of money for a rack made specifically for the model of car we own. Every time I do that, less than a year goes by and I get rid of whatever vehicle it was I just “customized.” I hate it when that happens. No matter. I’ll just drive the truck when we want to ride the bikes. We don’t do these things all that often anyway.
We arrived at the parking lot that sits approximately 1.3 miles east of the trail head near Sugarloaf. I know this distance because there are marker signs all over the place. After I unloaded the bikes, I had a few photos taken of me so I could remember the moment whenever I reread this post. This is the best photo by far.
By the way, since I already took so many pictures the last time we visited this area, I really didn’t take too many this time. Also, it’s sort of difficult to do that sort of thing while riding a bike.
Anyway, here’s a photo of my bike. I’ve had this thing since I was living in Binghamton, NY while going to college in 1996. I bought it when I first arrived, for something like $300 and it’s been everywhere I have since. It’s a perfectly good bicycle. So good, in fact, that I made a few upgrades to it. As you might be able to see in the photo, I added those additional handlebars that face towards the front tire. I also switched out the tiny, extremely painful little seat that comes with these types of bikes for a larger, more cushioned version. Finally, I pulled off the knobby tires and replaced them with some plump road tires. I probably ride on the road more than anything else and I never saw a need for too much tread.
Notice how it doesn’t have any shocks or anything like that. I don’t need them because I ride old school.
The weather was perfect yesterday. It wasn’t too hot at around 73 and not too cool during midday. Later on, I had to put a sweatshirt on, but that’s why they’re made. I’m sure you agree when I say that autumn weather is the best because you can still wear shorts, but it’s just cool enough to pull a hoodie over your head. No sweat. That’s what I like the best.
As we were riding towards Sugarloaf, I noticed a tower at the top of the mountain peeking through the trees. I decided to grab a photo of it.
As you can see, the leaves are somewhat changing. There’s still a lot of green out there, but fall is definitely here. As we were riding through the trails, we saw a lot of leaves falling from the trees. It was very nice.
This pathway is full of wooden bridges and beautiful twists and turns. Sometimes, it’s best to take a break for some photos.
Along the primary rail trail, as I mentioned above, are offshoot trails that offer a bit of variety for riders of all skill levels. One trail called “Grassy Loops” is for beginners. The nicest thing about this particular trail is that it’s very smooth and is more open than some of the others. It’s almost as if someone mowed the grass along its entire length.
While the ride along this path was very peaceful, and I know this is awful to think of, but I kept telling myself how I could really tear this sucker up if I was riding a motocross bike. It had the perfect soft and fluffy dirt to spit out from behind while slamming through some gears. Okay, enough of that. I was merely daydreaming.
Some of the most beautiful sections of the trail are those that hug the Carrabassett River. We made it down to one such area and decided that we had traveled far enough. Since it was our turn around spot, we rested for a while and grabbed a few more photos.
The edges were rocky and steep, but I still made my way down to the water for a photo. It’s just something I need to do every time I visit this area.
Since I didn’t want to duplicate other photos I already took too much, I decided to stop taking pictures at this spot.
After our ride, we stopped off at Longfellows in Kingfield for a nice lunch/dinner. After that, we made a quick visit to Wire Bridge in New Portland. This is just something that needs to be done every so often. It’s the perfect monument to photograph and it’s a pretty cool place to hang out as well. Since I don’t want to bore you with these photos because I already took so many, I’ll just post a few here.
Now that I look at the old photos compared to the new ones, I can see that the new ones look a lot better. That’s most likely due to the time of day these were taken. Closer to dusk is always better for photography. I’ll show you a few more.
If you’d like to see a video of me driving across this bridge, you can do that in this post. Just scroll down a little to get to the actual video.
I have a huge surprise for you. Since it’s the end of the post, I suppose I should share a few photos from the end of our day. As we were driving home, we passed by a field with a fairly good number of red deer in it. When I noticed this, I quickly pulled over and we both began taking mad pictures. Here are two of the best that I was able to get. Check out this big boy. The first is a huge male walking away from me.
And this next one is the money shot. I got him looking right at me.
Now that’s what I’m talking about! How cool is that?
I hope you enjoyed this post. If you have any comments, please leave them down below. I always reply. Thanks for reading!
Walking On the Narrow Gauge Pathway Near Sugarloaf Mountain in Maine
Something fun needed to happen today. It’s been a while since I’ve been up and at ’em, so I was ready to get out there and make it happen. Last night’s temperatures dropped into the 40s and today’s didn’t make it out of the 60s. The sky was clear and I thought it was high time to get back up to the rail trail near Sugarloaf Mountain. We haven’t been to that area in quite a while and after looking at the local map this morning, I thought it would be a good idea do get packed and do some walking. Recently, we’ve been sticking to our nearby roads for exercise. If you’re a walker, you probably know how boring that can get. I’m always trying to find new places to go and new things to see. Especially when it comes to walking.
If you remember our last visit to the area, you’ll remember that we started our walk directly north of the small airport in Carrabassett Valley. That’s a really good place to park and leave from because there’s tons of room. Since we already did a bunch of walking around there last time, I figured we could head north about three miles and park at another dirt lot to see what that was like. Good thing we did, because this new spot was much better than the previous one. The trees are more mature and it’s greener all around. And the parking lot is very casual. I took a bunch of photos for you.
If that parking lot picture didn’t excite you, perhaps one of the sign that described the rules will.
The parking lot is on the opposite side of the Carrabassett River than the trail is on. Luckily, there was a really cool steel bridge built for us to use to get to the other side.
Before crossing the bridge, we followed a short path that led to a picnic table. Near the table was another path that led down to the river. While I was down there taking some random pictures, a few bicyclers crossed the bridge. One of them was kind enough to smile for me. Everyone was very friendly.
While I was down there, I grabbed a few more shots of the bridge. I found it interesting.
The best part about this particular trail is that it’s fairly narrow. I’ve been on a few different trails of this type and many of them were created from more traditionally sized train tracks. Since this was a narrow gauge, the trail is much more cozy. A full size truck can still fit on it, but not nearly as well as on one of the wider versions.
I don’t know what this is, but it was directly off the path. I’m guessing it’s some sort of train related building from years ago. The sign on it says it’s from 1900.
I wasn’t expecting this, but there really are some beautiful wetlands that surround parts of the trail. I took a few photos of them. Okay, I took a lot of photos, but narrowed them down to just a few.
While we were there, I saw three ducks and one fish jump out of the water. It was a large fish because it made a substantial splash. I’m guess three to four feet long. Okay, kidding, but it was big.
I even managed to take photos of some purple aster and another similar looking white flower.
This is the bridge that lead us through this section of wetlands. I was surprised at how many people were on the trail today. It wasn’t like this the last time we were in the area. Virtually everyone was on bicycles too, so we’ll have to fill the tires with air in ours and get riding.
Along the pathway were a few areas with picnic tables in them. I might just take advantage of this amenity next time and pack lunch. I don’t ordinarily do this sort of thing, but I’m getting older and more relaxed, so parking and eating for a few minutes won’t be so bad. I’m sure of it. Especially during this time of the year when there are hardly any bugs left.
The really cool part of the whole thing is that there are tons of mountain bike trails on both sides of the pathway. They are much more narrow and wind their ways through the woods. As a matter of fact, on our way back, after we turned around on the main trail, we walked in one of the bike trails. That’s pretty fun and leads down towards the Carrabassett River.
I don’t know if you can see the dirt trail here, but it’s shaped like an “S.” Each of these trails is named as well and the name is engraved into a piece of wood that’s hung from a nearby tree.
If you’re into mountain biking, you’d be in heaven around here.
Finally, we made it down to the river again and took a bunch of pictures. They became repetitive as I was looking through them, so I just closed my eyes and selected two to show here.
Since it’s the end of the season, the water was low. It sure was clear though.
As we made it back to the parking lot, I saw the perfect sign for the end of this post. Take a look.
The trail ends. If I had to guess, I’d say we walked about three miles today. Not bad. Next time, we’re going to take the bikes and cover the entire eight. That’s easy on bikes.
Thanks for reading!
PS – If you’re interested in seeing many more photos of this rail trail, you can check out another very special blog post. We went together, so things should look familiar.