It happens to the best of us... you show up to the office, look at the piles on your desk and simply don't know where to start. You try to dig into one project, but can't quite wrap your head around it. You attempt to switch gears and move on to another, only to find yourself in a similar jam. Then you say a few choice words to yourself as you work to get out of the funk, but at this point, nothing seems to work. It's time to step away, because you know in the long run the key to recharging the old battery is getting out from behind the desk and into the woods.
Scouting out the perfect fall bike ride
As fall begins to settle in on the Adirondacks, so does prime biking weather. The crispness in the air, the angle of the light, the smell of the leaves, it all makes for the perfect environment for a ride. After spending the previous day in the office struggling with every assignment in front of me, I knew it was time to take a morning off and take advantage of the awesome fall weather we had in store. So I got ahold of a friend and made plans to scout out the bike ride from Massawepie to Horseshoe Lake.
The trip from Massawepie to Horseshoe can be 11 to 15 miles one-way depending on where you start and end on either side. Since I knew I had to make it to the office by some point we chose to make it a one-way trip this time around, starting at Massawepie Lake (which I have now learned might be the backwards way of taking this trip - but we will get to that). We took off around 7 am, a little later than we normally start our outings, but the cooler mornings have a way of keeping you in bed just a little longer.
After driving out to Horseshoe Lake in the dense fog, we dropped off one vehicle and then continued out in the other direction towards Massawepie Boy Scouts Camp where we planned to start our trip. With the camp season now over, the grounds sat quiet in the morning mist - but you could feel the excitement that must have been running through the camp just a few short weeks ago. As we passed the cabins, sports fields, archery range and climbing wall it reminded me of a movie setting. Shortly after passing the main grounds for the camp we found the first of several parking areas. Since we were only able to ride one way, we wanted to make the most of it, and chose to park there.
Enjoying the Views Near Camp Massawepie
The start of our trip began on a section of the old logging road that is carved into a steep embankment that follows the shoreline of Massawepie Lake. Both sides are lined with tall dense pines, that leave you with a true perspective of just how tiny you are in relation to your surroundings.
We pedaled along in the brisk morning air, making note of the different hiking trails that shot off from both sides of the trails. These trails are all part of the Massawepie Easement and are open to the public from September 1 through June 14, when camp is not in session. We noticed one short trail down to the water and choose to check out the view.
After listening to the loons and watching a couple paddling in a guide boat in the distance, we returned to our bikes to continue along. Not long after that, the pine forest started to break away to more marshy areas as we got closer to the Birding Mecca of Massawepie Mire.
I noticed the turnoff towards the Mire as we reached what snowmobilers refer to as the "4 corners." We paused here for a few moments to shed a few layers since by now the combination of the warming air and recent hill climbs had started to catch up with us.
It was all uphill from here!
At the 4 corners we continued straight towards our destination at Horseshoe Lake. From here the hills really started to pick up, and trust me we were definitely gaining more altitude than we were losing. So this is where I was referring to us making a minor mistake from the start. If you are only going one way, consider starting at Horseshoe Lake and making Massawepie Lake your destination (unless, that is, you prefer climbing hills as opposed to cruising down them). If you have more time and want a longer ride, then I would recommend starting in Massawepie as we did - do most of the climbing first and then enjoy the cruise back.
But hills or no hills, we enjoyed the rest of our trip to Horseshoe Lake. From soaking up the sun as it scattered through the tree canopy to enjoying the smell and early colors of autumn, the trip was the perfect cure to my recent brain cramp. Add to it the spectacular views at both ends of this awesome ride and it really is a treat that could re-motivate anyone.
Back to reality...
Once we returned to our waiting vehicle at Horseshoe Lake, we swung back through Tupper Lake for a well deserved bite to eat before heading out to Massawepie to pick up the other set of wheels. Then after a quick shower, I returned to the piles on my desk ready to go with a fresh new perspective.
Need tips for finding your perfect ride? Check out this list of other area bike routes.
What's your ADK ride?