Navigating the Norwottuck to Northampton
If one accesses sundry reviews of this particular bike path, one would leave wondering whether to bother or not, given the dire warnings of deep declivities and rampant roots, not to mention horrific frost heaves that threaten both life and limb.
But that is not the case at all. No such fate will greet you.
Perhaps if one deigns to travel on such a path on a ‘road’ bike, well then, what do you expect? But if you are smart, you’ll be riding on a mountain bike or a hybrid, both most suitable for your journey.
My lovely bride, Julie, accompanied me on this pleasant excursion, and we found no faults whatsoever with this trail! Sure, there are a few frost heaves here and there, and a smattering of bumps from tree roots, but on the whole it was a thoroughly enjoyable 10 mile ride. The offending ‘bumps’ are clearly marked, outlined in bright yellow to help you escape an unexpected jolt or two. The trail is even ok for rollerblades.
Starting in Belchertown, we meandered towards Northampton, passing swamps and wetlands, fields and farms, and lovely woodlands. Mating frog calls and shrill birdsong were frequent auditory experiences, and our day was warm, with rampant ragged clouds casting patches of shadows along dormant meadows.
The path, for the most part, was flat, with only slight grades as you approach Amherst College. Towards the end of your journey, there are a few road crossings, but they prove to be quick, with nary a wait.
Upon reaching Northampton, it is best to cross the old trestle bridge, and pause briefly before making your return. Any further cycling will prove disappointing, as the path takes you through town, with bustling streets and a lack of scenery.
So all in all a most pleasing journey, and one that is easily navigable for all age groups. With spring and all its glory still in its budding stages, now in the coolness of an April or May day is the time to go. Beautiful vistas await your presence. Now what are you waiting for? Pack up your bike and go!
Copyright, Paul Grignon, 2012, All rights Reserved.