The last few years have been tough for getting any time to do fun things like fish or ride my bike/s. Thankfully with our son's health improving, this year has seen more of both already than the last few combined! Phew!
On a spin earlier this week in a local state forest, I was really impressed with the great work the regional mountain bike organization (NEMBA) has done to keep improving the trail network. They have added new signage to augment things like map boxes that have been there forever, and they have rerouted or adjusted old trails to improve how they ride and impact the forest, while they also have built a bunch of new trails (with the MA Department of Conservation and Recreation who oversees the forests management) that allow more of your riding to be done on single track vs dirt roads or quad trails.
One of the best parts of this work is that it's creating a great network of trails that hikers, bird watchers, wildlife watchers, hunters, trail runners, snow shoe enthusiasts and xc skiers, dog walkers and of course, mountain bikers can enjoy.
That all said, there are some great trails that have been there for 15+ years at least. They have been well worn in from both cyclists, hikers, and horseback riders as well. Now though, most of the traffic on these trails is from bikes and the feet of hikers, runners and the occasional moose. The trail below I really enjoy. You climb for quite a way's to reach the top of the trail, then it's a flowing twisting down hill for an equal distance. At the bottom the topography levels a bit and gently rolls through an extensive hemlock forest with several small streams (that have wooden bridges over them) you can cross during your ride/hike/run.
The stream below is one of those little wonders. Looking at it, you can imagine it drying up come July (but it wont), and you can imagine the only things living in it's 1-2 foot wide space to be bugs, and herps... But you know what, if you stop, and wait on the bridge, and watch. Just slow down for a moment. Eventually, one of it's fancily painted wild char (brook trout) will slip out from an undercut bank or from another aquatic hiding spot...
They are small, maybe 2-4" long at the largest... at least the largest I have seen. And they inhabit several little streams like this through out the state forest.
I've never fished in any of these little streams. Living in a stream this small seems to be a hard enough life for those little fish. Instead, I just enjoy the fleeting glances I'm rewarded with for sweating through the woods, and, I enjoy the excuse this fish give me to take a quiet rest near a stream in the forest.