What Not To Do

Today I had plans to ride at Nockamixon, my only worries being that the trails might be closed because of recent rains (though it hadn’t rained in four days so things were probably OK), and if it were open, that it would be so crowded I wouldn’t be able to park at Tower Road. I got a late start, and the Tower Road parking lotwas pretty crowded but there were still a few spots open. So far so good: I got a spot and the trails were open.

There was a weird vibe there though, something I pick up on sometimes at certain New Jersey trailheads: a sort of laconic cockiness in the conversations, everyone pretending to be the alpha male or something, and trying to sound superior without allowing the effort to show. Hard to describe, but I know it when I see it or hear it, and it always indicatesthe presence of assholes. Uh oh, maybe Sunday isn’t my day to hit Nox.

I didn’t know anyone there at first, but then Jen S rode up just as I finished getting ready. She was parked right next to me, and we got to talking. She said she’d come out with the intention of doing several laps but had stopped after one — the place was really muddy.  Now I was in a quandary: Nox is fragile and the ground gets really soft when wet, but I was already there after a 40 minute drive, and I really wanted to ride…

I rode anyway — I figured it couldn’t be all that bad and still be open, but I was seriously mistaken. I got about a mile in on the first loop and hit a long section of inches-deep, churned up mush with standing water on top, and saw moving water, like maybe from a seep, flowing over the ground in another area, and decided that being out was a bad idea. I bailed not long after, taking a grassy doubletrack that led back to Tower Road.

It was a bit disconcerting to think that so many people were riding there in these conditions, but of the people I came across on the trail, I was the only one who seemed bothered by the mud, at least in terms of trail damage, and I was the only one who didn’t continue.