Vermont's Bayley-Hazen Military Rd.

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Pantah, Oct 31, 2005.

  1. Pantah

    Pantah PJ Fan from Boston

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    This is more of a teaser for those who live close enough to make its run. I attempted it yesterday, but didn't do a proper job and had to bail after only 2/3rds of it. It got late and I had to make the 220 mile slab run home.

    Bayley-Hazen is an infiltration route commissioned in 1776 to support Benedict Arnold's assault on Quebec. As we know, the assault didn't go that well, but the road was worked on till abandoned in 1779. In the end, both sides used it and those who lived along it suffered. Go to this link for a history and detailed maps of the Bayley-Hazen Road:
    http://www.nvda.net/transportation/pdf/BayleyHazenIntro.pdf#search='bayleyhazen'

    The road runs about 90 miles northwest across Vermont from Wells River on the Connecticut River. Almost all of it is some level of graded dirt. Three short sections are missing on the maps, but they provide a detour. Also some of the road is renamed in the berg it serves. But the Bayley-Hazen is mostly there to explore.

    This part of Vermont is known as the Northeast Kingdom. It is very rural...150 years ago rural. Locals speak a strong dialect, similar to 'Downeast' to my ears. When lost, two local farmers told me to keeupp along till the 'hot top'. I had to think a moment wtf hot top was...

    In fact, there isn't much 'hot top' in these parts. Little bergs may have a couple in and out, with the rest maintained dirt. Power poles and tire tracks are pretty much the major signs of technology on the landscape.

    Next season I will try for a proper job of the tour. I wanted to do this attempt for weeks, but the weather has been terrible. This weekend was looking to be my last decent shot at it...and then it snowed all day Saturday! I went anyway, but didn't expect to finish. The starting point was 180 miles away, and it was going to be mud. The mud turned out not a problem as it was firm, but snow and daylight closed in as I got further north.

    The start here in Wells River. The actual beginning was just past that green roofed house lower right. Naturally, the road began on the bank of a stream.
    <IMG class=imgBorder onmouseover="this.className='imgBorderOn'" title="pantah > Bayley Hazen Military Road photo" onmouseout="this.className='imgBorder'" height=450 alt="pantah > Bayley Hazen Military Road photo" hspace=0 src="http://pantah.smugmug.com/photos/42234998-M.jpg" width=600 border=0>

    This rusted sign marked its start and that leafed path in front of it was the road. But it dead-ended in a few feet. You had to ride a half block to pick up another to join with the Hazen a quarter mile west.
    <IMG class=imgBorder onmouseover="this.className='imgBorderOn'" title="pantah > Bayley Hazen Military Road photo" onmouseout="this.className='imgBorder'" height=450 alt="pantah > Bayley Hazen Military Road photo" hspace=0 src="http://pantah.smugmug.com/photos/42235004-M.jpg" width=600 border=0>

    It looked like this:
    <IMG class=imgBorder onmouseover="this.className='imgBorderOn'" title="pantah > Bayley Hazen Military Road photo" onmouseout="this.className='imgBorder'" height=450 alt="pantah > Bayley Hazen Military Road photo" hspace=0 src="http://pantah.smugmug.com/photos/42235017-M.jpg" width=600 border=0>

    The road led to a typical berg crossroad with a farm as its principal marker and a hot top running thru:
    <IMG class=imgBorder onmouseover="this.className='imgBorderOn'" title="pantah > Bayley Hazen Military Road photo" onmouseout="this.className='imgBorder'" height=450 alt="pantah > Bayley Hazen Military Road photo" hspace=0 src="http://pantah.smugmug.com/photos/42235032-M.jpg" width=600 border=0>

    The country is all small farms, with little pastures along the road:
    <IMG class=imgBorder onmouseover="this.className='imgBorderOn'" title="pantah > Bayley Hazen Military Road photo" onmouseout="this.className='imgBorder'" height=450 alt="pantah > Bayley Hazen Military Road photo" hspace=0 src="http://pantah.smugmug.com/photos/42235039-M.jpg" width=600 border=0>

    And then you'd come upon a little schoolhouse. There were lots of them, and very often they were the principal building in a berg.
    <IMG class=imgBorder onmouseover="this.className='imgBorderOn'" title="pantah > Bayley Hazen Military Road photo" onmouseout="this.className='imgBorder'" height=450 alt="pantah > Bayley Hazen Military Road photo" hspace=0 src="http://pantah.smugmug.com/photos/42243244-M.jpg" width=600 border=0>

    And then you'd come upon a crossroads, and hope to pick the right track. My GPS helped there, because it named the road I was on.
    <IMG class=imgBorder onmouseover="this.className='imgBorderOn'" title="pantah > Bayley Hazen Military Road photo" onmouseout="this.className='imgBorder'" height=450 alt="pantah > Bayley Hazen Military Road photo" hspace=0 src="http://pantah.smugmug.com/photos/42243265-M.jpg" width=600 border=0>

    And then you bump into historic markers. There are a zillion of these in New Englad. Basically they mark a moment of contact between people and an event Yankees call the Rebellion:
    <IMG class=imgBorder onmouseover="this.className='imgBorderOn'" title="pantah > Bayley Hazen Military Road photo" onmouseout="this.className='imgBorder'" height=450 alt="pantah > Bayley Hazen Military Road photo" hspace=0 src="http://pantah.smugmug.com/photos/42244495-M.jpg" width=600 border=0>

    And the Bayley Hazen Road continues:
    <IMG class=imgBorder onmouseover="this.className='imgBorderOn'" title="pantah > Bayley Hazen Military Road photo" onmouseout="this.className='imgBorder'" height=450 alt="pantah > Bayley Hazen Military Road photo" hspace=0 src="http://pantah.smugmug.com/photos/42248508-M.jpg" width=600 border=0>

    We had no fall colors this year. The weather never put on that early hard freeze that gets it going, and then when it did. tailings from those darn hurricanes blew all the leaves off.

    More bergs and no hot top in this one at all!
    <IMG class=imgBorder onmouseover="this.className='imgBorderOn'" title="pantah > Bayley Hazen Military Road photo" onmouseout="this.className='imgBorder'" height=450 alt="pantah > Bayley Hazen Military Road photo" hspace=0 src="http://pantah.smugmug.com/photos/42243274-M.jpg" width=600 border=0>

    And more little farms too. This doesn't show it but folks were working those farms on a Sunday afternoon. They were doing their pigs, cows and such.
    <IMG class=imgBorder onmouseover="this.className='imgBorderOn'" title="pantah > Bayley Hazen Military Road photo" onmouseout="this.className='imgBorder'" height=450 alt="pantah > Bayley Hazen Military Road photo" hspace=0 src="http://pantah.smugmug.com/photos/42243255-M.jpg" width=600 border=0>

    Every now and then I got a good vista, but I wasn't good taking pics of them. I was working so hard at following the maps on the link, I was always stopping. That meant I didn't stop for many pics. Such a shame, because that area of the country is loaded with grand vista's. And the Hazen road pretty much sticks to the high ground.
    <IMG class=imgBorder onmouseover="this.className='imgBorderOn'" title="pantah > Bayley Hazen Military Road photo" onmouseout="this.className='imgBorder'" height=450 alt="pantah > Bayley Hazen Military Road photo" hspace=0 src="http://pantah.smugmug.com/photos/42248540-M.jpg" width=600 border=0>

    And then thru hill and dale:
    <IMG class=imgBorder onmouseover="this.className='imgBorderOn'" title="pantah > Bayley Hazen Military Road photo" onmouseout="this.className='imgBorder'" height=450 alt="pantah > Bayley Hazen Military Road photo" hspace=0 src="http://pantah.smugmug.com/photos/42248514-M.jpg" width=600 border=0>

    to another marker somewhere:
    <IMG class=imgBorder onmouseover="this.className='imgBorderOn'" title="pantah > Bayley Hazen Military Road photo" onmouseout="this.className='imgBorder'" height=450 alt="pantah > Bayley Hazen Military Road photo" hspace=0 src="http://pantah.smugmug.com/photos/42251710-M.jpg" width=600 border=0>

    Another farm along the way. Folks were out poking about in the sun. They were quick to toss me a wave as I putted by:
    <IMG class=imgBorder onmouseover="this.className='imgBorderOn'" title="pantah > Bayley Hazen Military Road photo" onmouseout="this.className='imgBorder'" height=450 alt="pantah > Bayley Hazen Military Road photo" hspace=0 src="http://pantah.smugmug.com/photos/42251722-M.jpg" width=600 border=0>

    And since these paths are often to and from their homes, they were quick to clear storm timber:
    <IMG class=imgBorder onmouseover="this.className='imgBorderOn'" title="pantah > Bayley Hazen Military Road photo" onmouseout="this.className='imgBorder'" height=450 alt="pantah > Bayley Hazen Military Road photo" hspace=0 src="http://pantah.smugmug.com/photos/42251728-M.jpg" width=600 border=0>

    And another little vista just before I bailed to the highway and headed the long slab home.
    <IMG class=imgBorder onmouseover="this.className='imgBorderOn'" title="pantah > Bayley Hazen Military Road photo" onmouseout="this.className='imgBorder'" height=450 alt="pantah > Bayley Hazen Military Road photo" hspace=0 src="http://pantah.smugmug.com/photos/42251737-M.jpg" width=600 border=0>

    I'll try the road again next year. Now that I've run most of it, I should be able to follow it easily with a simple roll chart to help out. I am hoping others on this board will try the route to do it justice. We need somebody like Sodbuster. Heck, I bet he could even find some arrowheads!

    -p
    #1
  2. NHGS

    NHGS Granite Scrambler

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    Nice report, Pantah. There's something really cool about traveling a route with some history that has been overlooked for a time. I'll have to put that one on my list! :thumb
    #2
  3. johnd04

    johnd04 Been here awhile

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    Nice work!! Great pics and information. Thanks for forging the way and I look forward to doing it myself in the near future.

    John
    #3
  4. Sod Buster

    Sod Buster prairie rider

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    Thanks! :thumb
    #4
  5. Pantah

    Pantah PJ Fan from Boston

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    Thanks for your kind remarks. Like I said, I hope more ADVriders try the road and post here. The Bayley-Hazen is an interesting oddity. I read it had a following of mountain bike tourers, but a farmer in Peacham told me that in 40 years he'd never seen a bicyclist on 'his' road... and I was his first motorcyclist!

    -p
    #5
  6. Slim Dave

    Slim Dave Long timer

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    That link has some interesting details: "Ticklenaked Pond"? And barely 5 miles from "Mosquitoville Road". I guess they were pretty tough back in the old days.
    #6
  7. McB

    McB Joe 40 ouncer

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    Dang, you make me homesick. I grew up in Richford, 15 miles west of Jay Peak; used to take summer drives with Dad up over Hazen's notch. Spent many a summer day around Montgomery and Montgomery Center. Some wonderful swimming holes hidden back in there.

    There's a fun book about more recent history. Think it's titled "Rumrunners and Revenuers", or maybe the other way around. Lots of stories from both sides (bad guys and LE types) about hootch smuggling down from Canada on those roads in the 30's.
    #7
  8. CroMag

    CroMag Gelande Sauté It

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    Nice report! Just when I think I've travelled most of the interesting roads around here, another good one makes itself known. Spirits from the past clammering for attention.
    #8
  9. McB

    McB Joe 40 ouncer

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    I had a DeLorme Atlas and Gazateer for Vermont that was great. All those back roads were there, even a bunch that are abandoned. I bought one for Kansas expecting the same, and have been disappointed in the lack of detail. Anyway, I recommend the VT one for finding those obscure rides through the woods.
    #9
  10. Nice_Rumble

    Nice_Rumble Long timer

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    Great ride report! However, the shots with snow looks more like spring mud season than fall.

    This picture has a major snowmobile trail intersection right near the covered bridge. I ride through there in the winter and the views are impressive. Mt Mansfield can be seen off to the west.
    [​IMG]

    Thanks for sharing.
    #10
  11. PackMule

    PackMule love what you do Super Moderator

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    Awesome! This one will be going on the list for next summer... :thumb
    #11
  12. Beez

    Beez Given to fly

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    Nice report. This is a ride I would like to do next year. :thumb
    #12
  13. McB

    McB Joe 40 ouncer

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    When I was in high school I mowed the grass one summer in the cemetery at the top of that Old Richford road (also know as South Richford road).

    Lots of great dirt roads, too, in all directions off the Montgomery/Jay roads.

    Of course, when I was 16, I was just as interested in going north to your province, because the hotel bars would serve you beer if you could see over the bar.
    #13
  14. smcnamara

    smcnamara needs more motorcycles.

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    I was wondering the same thing. Were the photos all taken during the same ride? If so, exactly when did you take it? My Mom's place is East across the border in N.H., and she hasn't mentioned any snowfall in the region yet, so I was surprised to see all that white (especially coupled with the other photos that look much more like fall.)

    Did you do include photos from the region that came from other rides to provide a fuller picture? Just curious.

    GREAT write up! Looks like I'll be planning a summertime visit to Mom's place and will make Bayley-Hazen a part of that trip. Thanks for the heads-up!
    #14
  15. reorx

    reorx Been here awhile

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    Yeah, its snowed. Some spots got well over a foot a little over a week ago.
    #15
  16. traveltoad

    traveltoad Aaron S

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    Fantastic!

    Next time I'm home (visiting Mom) I'll have to check it out!
    #16
  17. McB

    McB Joe 40 ouncer

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    I heard they were skiing at Killington.
    #17
  18. Pantah

    Pantah PJ Fan from Boston

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    Hello smcnamara - Thanks for your interest. It took the ride last Sunday. I left Boston at 8am and started the Hazen road about 11:00am. Vermont had snow during the previous week as part of the storm series that blew by. Apparently some places got a alot. It also snowed heavy wet stuff late Saturday (even in Boston) the day before I made the ride.

    The snow you see in the pics was pretty much along the ridgetops (which the road generally followed) and got heavier the more north I got. I never made Jay Peak, but I believe they had a foot or more on the ground. I expected Hazen Notch to be deep, so I didn't try to make it. -p
    #18
  19. Tslapper

    Tslapper #!

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    Great report! I'll try to do this road next summer or fall. I like the historical significance.


    Think I'm going on a little 5-600 miler tomorrow that should include Vermont. Any of you Vermont or New Hampshire folks think there's snow in the forecast?

    The weather looks pretty stable in Maine for tomorrow but I know how the clouds like to pile up over that way and just plain dump.
    #19
  20. scratchypants

    scratchypants Empty

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    Where are you from?

    This was taken on the way to Hazen's Notch summer 2004:

    [​IMG]
    #20