Stewart State Forest in December

One of the classic caveats to living and riding in the northeast is that winters are inconsistent and woefully unpredictable. But at least once a year, it seems (or at least as of late) we inevitably get one or two unseasonably nice days that have no business being in what are traditionally considered “winter” months.

In a winter thus far marked by fluctuating periods of mild snow, rain and warmer temps, December 27th was the latter. With a forecast in the 50s and no notable precipitation in the days prior, Sean and I rendezvoused at Stewart State Forest in New Windsor for a rare treat.

Not to suggest that we don’t ride Stewart all the time. We do. The Stewart riding season however, is generally cut short well before the white fluffy stuff hits the ground, on account of when the DEC shuts the place down to mountain bikers for hunting season.

Our ride was casual at best, with lots of time spent sessioning Stewart’s myriad of hidden treats (like this rock roller). While hardly steep by most standards, it’s still a 20-30ft roller littered with a loose shale run-out. Brake too late and it’s not hard to end up in the weeds.

Sean Seary rock roller stewart state forest

Sean Seary Stewart State Forest Doubletrack

Truly, a bluebird day. Nice to see some color in absence of the usual winter grays. Also nice to go for a ride without wearing 4 inches of insulation. For the fatbike-less, these opportunities for winter riding are few and far between.