We decided to make our excursion to Millstone a day trip, which, as it turned out, was pretty ambitious. We drove the 45 minutes up to our friends' house, loaded our bikes into the big pickup, and drove 2 and a half hours to the trail center, pulling into the parking lot at around 12:30. The shopkeep seemed pretty cool, and directed us to "an easy sixteen mile loop that you can do in about 3 hours". The route was highlighted on the trail map, and marked with arrows the whole way around. We said it sounded good, geared up, and started riding. The initial climb was a little steeper than we expected, but we were rewarded with a pretty sweet view.
The fun part about this trail system is that there were several points like this - places to step off the trail, relax, and check out a sweet view. Then, it's right back to singletrack:
Lots of fun trails, and lots of up and down (more than we're used to at SMBA). There's some fun little spots to explore, including the Black Lagoon:
And the Green Lagoon:
The really "cool" parts are the areas on the trail map marked with a snowflake. In these areas, a breeze blows through old mine tailings that retain snow and cold from the winter (even in July!). Nice cool down on a hot day. We cruised around the southern part of the map on a really cool trail called "Fellowship Ring". Plenty more views:
After riding Boiler Maker (fun) and TNT (technical, some hike-a-bike, but doable if we worked hard at it), we had done about 8.5 miles of the 16 mile loop, and it had taken us 3 hours.
We decided to just ride a little more, doing Zig Zag (a fun downhill trail) and Froot Loop, then heading back to the trail center. First, though, we had to stop at Inspiration Point:
All in all, we did 10 miles in about 3 hours and 45 minutes. Not bad, but I don't feel like we even put a dent in the map. I really want to go back and ride the northeast corner of the map, and there's some newer trails (like Rollercoaster) that look totally sick. After riding, we drank some Maple Soda as a recovery drink:
To really get into this place, we need to spend a couple of days here - riding about 6 hours a day. Apparently, there's a Bed & Breakfast in town with rooms for $40 a night. Definitely have to put it on the calendar this fall. On the way home, we stopped at the Inn at Long Trail for food and Guinness. Here's a black lagoon I can really get into: