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Wolf Pond Rd. – Adirondack State Park
Wolf Pond Rd, near the northern edge of the Adirondack State Park, runs generally east-west between Mountain View, NY and Standish, NY. Back in 2010, a little over a month after I got the GS, I made a 2k mile loop of the Northeast to “break her in.” One of my goals was to take a few roads I wouldn’t dare try on the big ol’ Indian. Wolf Pond Rd was the first of those roads. I spent the night up in Malone, NY, then got an early start on County Roads 25 and 27 down toward Owls Head, NY. From there, it was a quick little trip down Mt. View Ave to Mountain View and the start of Wolf Pond.
This was my first experience on dirt in over 20 years, and to say I was a little nervous would be an understatement. I was, after all, on a loaded, brand new bike that cost more than my car! The result was that I took it slow and steady, taking my time and trying to get a feel for how the GS handled “off road.” The first few miles were wonderful… the road was well maintained and I had no issues at all, even without knobbies. Soon though, things changed.
It seems as though this section of Adirondack State Park is open to ATV traffic, and their trails began criss-crossing Wolf Pond frequently. I was navigating using a compass a map of the park – GPS hadn’t worked its way into my life yet – and at some point I am fairly certain my nav-fu failed me and I unintentionally turned off on one of these ATV tracks. The track deteriorated quickly, narrowing to little more than 4 or 5 feet wide and turning from nice, hard-packed dirt to rocks the size of my head on the straight sections and 4” deep sand (chewed up by sliding ATVs, judging by the ruts) in the turns. While these trails are probably awesome on an ATV, more than once I thought I might have bitten off more than I could chew.
I never came close to dropping the bike, but there were a few scary moments, particularly in the sandy curves where I’m sure I left long, sweeping rooster-tail inspired ruts for the ATVs to play in. Even though it might have been a bit misguided, my biggest fear wasn’t actually the road condition. I was more concerned about meeting an ATV coming in the opposite direction! Since I took off from Malone so early, though, I hoped my odds were pretty good that most of the ATVers were still snug in their beds.
Thick forests press in on all sides along Wolf Pond (and/or whatever roads and tracks I ended up on) with only the occasional clearing. There weren’t many places to stop for a rest without parking the bike in the middle of road, so I didn’t stop at all. I just kept motoring along, weaving around the noggin-sized rocks and powering through the sandy corners. Probably not the greatest technique, and certainly not the best form, but it worked and I had an absolute ball on a road that would have swallowed my Indian whole (and then puked it back out for good measure).
Eventually I stumbled out of the woods and into what appeared to be someone’s front yard. Oops. Not quite where I wanted to be, but I was in Standish and after wandering around for a few minutes I figured out where I needed to go. My first foray into the dirt was a little more difficult than I had hoped it would be, but I learned a lot about the bike in those 15 or so miles. More importantly, I learned that I still had (have!) a lot to learn about riding off pavement!