Experimental music, photography, and adventures

Bunker Hill

Wednesday, November 5th, 2008

Another mountain climbed by bicycle. I decided to tackle Bunker Hill, which is adjacent to Larksville Mountain, which I rode previously. Bunker Hill goes a bit higher than Larksville Mountain; I’m not sure why one is called a “mountain” and the other a “hill,” but that’s how it is. I’m still getting used to the crazy amounts of climbing short rides can have. This ride had over 1900 feet of climbing in under 15 miles. Here is the route I took.

I took North Street up the side of the mountain, which becomes Bunker Hill Road. It more or less parallels the Back Mountain Trail, so there are a few different options for how to climb out of the valley in this area. I took a slightly different route to get to the base of the mountain and while it had a little lighter traffic, I’m not sure it was worth it.

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Riding toward the mountain

I started riding up the mountain and made a conscious decision to pace myself. I hoped this wouldn’t be as steep as Mountain/Huntsville Road, which I used to climb Larksville Mountain. I tried to pace myself on that climb, but it was so steep that the amount of effort it required just to keep moving made it impossible.

Bunker Hill Road takes a winding path up the side of the gap between the two mountains. At times there are houses on the side of the road, and at times it’s just the guardrail, and a dropoff. I got a great view of PA Route 309 as I climbed. It was a beautiful cool overcast day, and a bit hazy, with almost no traffic. A perfect day for riding. I nearly had the roads to myself.

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Winding climb

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Looking down on PA Highway 309

I found the climb up Bunker Hill longer than the Larksville climb, but not as steep. I was still glad to have the uber low gearing on the Long Haul Trucker, but I was able to make this climb without stopping. Still, it was probably 25-30 minutes of climbing to make the initial climb, spinning in a low gear. After a while I got another nice view. In the following photo you can see how high I was above the dirt road/trail that’s on the right above.

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Another nice view from the road

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Undulating road

I reached an intersection where I could stay on this road, which becomes Dug Road, or turn right to stay on Bunker Hill Road. I opted to stay on Bunker Hill, and I still had a bit of climbing to go at this point. But it was an easier grade and I picked up the pace considerably. I came upon Fire Cut Road and followed that over some rolling terrain until it ended at some gated private property. It felt great to finally get to coast, even if it was immediately followed by more climbing. I hit probably 30 mph on a descent and carried my momentum most of the way up the next ridge.

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Rolling terrain on Fire Cut Road — the road curves right and goes down, then back up in the distance.

It was flat briefly, but then went into a steep descent. It curved at the bottom and I really had to watch my speed. My brake pads were squealing a bit, I need to see about getting them adjusted. I may attempt it myself, but I’m not too good with such things.

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Steep descent, with distant mountains visible on the horizon

I stopped to snap a photo of a scene that reminded me a bit of one in Bloomington (see here), and noticed the Anthracite Rubber Company, where a worker was outside enjoying the view and a cup of coffee.

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View

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Anthracite Rubber Company

I had more steep descending ahead of me, but before long I was at Frances Slocum Lake, which I’ve ridden by before. I saw a man fishing with his dog on the other side of the lake, but otherwise nobody else.

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Frances Slocum Lake

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Looking back at Bunker Hill, where I just came down

I rode on Carverton Road a bit, which is a little busy but has bike lanes. A quick and easy ride with only a little bit of climbing put me on Dug Road, where I’d climb for a while longer before riding back down to the valley.

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Dug Road

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View from Dug Road

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Panoramic view (worth viewing large)

I was pretty tired of climbing by this point, but I had 250-300 more feet to go. Fortunately it wasn’t too steep, I just kept grinding away and eventually reached the top.

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Finally cresting the mountain

The descent back to the valley was amazing. There were lots of twists and turns and at times the road went right on the edge of the mountain. I was glad the guardrail was there, but even so it was a little nerve-wracking. I kept my speed in check and had a blast.

This was an awesome ride, and I think this is a good way to make the climb. It’s nice to have options. Next time I’m hoping I can piece something together with Bunker Hill and Larksville Mountain in the same ride. I’m hoping that once I’ve made the climb out of the valley where we live, even if there are lots of ups and downs, they’ll be smaller ones. I have yet to test that theory, however.

5 Responses to “Bunker Hill”

  1. furiousball Says:

    WOW look at those colors! my back is on the mend and I should be riding this weekend (if my schedule permits)

  2. Tim Says:

    well, all of these short climbs will put some serious strength on the legs. So far these rides have gone west (right?). What’s to the east?

  3. Apertome Says:

    These rides have been to the north. To go south, or east, would take me into the city of Wilkes-Barre. On the opposite side of Wilkes-Barre are more mountains, but since I’d have to ride through the city to get there, I haven’t tried that yet. Then again, it’s flat there so it would make for some easier riding in that sense.

  4. John Says:

    Nice rides again. I have had to forgo riding to rake leaves every day of the past couple of weekends. Two more ought to do it. I no sooner clean the year and make a dump run, and it seems like I never touched it.

  5. americanson Says:

    Awesome pictures! I love to ride any time of year but the fall is just so colorful and make a ride so enjoyable.

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