Scouting the Dunsinane Triangle

Scouting for the Fundy Adventure Rally is one of the bonuses of organizing such an event. In order to come up with a fresh set of routes, I need to be sure to spend a good few many weekends in the trails, exploring this and that and making notes in my ragged copy of Backroad Mapbooks New Brunswick. The resulting scribbles are then worked into various routes of various difficulties and by the end of the summer I (hopefully) have a rally route.

The scouting is the real fun part and although I’ve spent the best part of the last three summers checking out most of the Mapbook trails, there is one area that I had yet to find a way through – The Dunsinane Triangle (my name for it)!

This Triangle is smack bang in the middle of last year’s route and originally scouted back in 2013 and found to be a maze of dead ends and gated trails just to get into it. When we finally did, we were battered by an endless succession of mud holes and then couldn’t find a way out, just as the sun began to set.

Obviously my lifeless body is not part of the Dunsinane Triangle and we did find a way out, but it got a big “There may be dragons” note on my scouting map and I didn’t even bother exploring it again … until this year.

Once again our plans were scuppered when the new trail we were exploring petered out and an alternate entry point had a big “Private Road” sign at its entrance. That was it for my scouting partner Brad and I, the Dunsinane Triangle had won again.

Live a little and bag some points!
The Dunsinane Triangle proved to be a tough go when we first tried to beat a way through back in 2013.

Then enter stage left Charles Landry who kindly offered to come scouting with me. It quickly became apparent that Charles had three things going for him (that I know of anyway):

  1. A beat up KLR650 (I can relate to that)
  2. A good knowledge of maps and mapping (handy when scouting)
  3. A camp right on the edge of the Dunsinane Triangle (and some knowledge of riding in it)

He even sent me a GPS track of a previous route through the Dunsinane Triangle which left me chomping at the bit to try it, until I realized that it exited via the Private Road we’d found the weekend before. Passable if you happen to be riding in a small group and can claim ignorance, but not for a rally with a 100 or so riders.

But it did add one element that I’d been missing, his track and my 2013 ‘failed’ track did meet up, meaning that if we joined the two together, we had a way through. In theory.

Video – Charles gets a beating from a rocky river crossing we found earlier in the day.

The proof is in the pudding, as they say, and the pudding got made, baked and consumed last weekend, but the Dunsinane Triangle doesn’t give up its plums easily. Just before entering my GPS battery died. No worries, I brought spares – they didn’t work. No worries, Charles has spares too. They didn’t work. But Team FAR scouting was prepared as Charles had a smartphone with a downloaded trails map that showed us the way we wanted to go. Garmin be dammed, onwards we go!

Team FAR scouting 1, Dunsinane Triangle 1.

It was all déjà vu … all over again!

We entered cautiously from the western edge, the trail taking us through a reassuringly charming covered bridge, the welcoming wide gravel road making an A grade for easy rally riding. But this was the welcome mat that covered the man-trap and quickly the trail split up into a bit of maze of alternate routes.

Around this time, it had dawned on me that there may be a story here so I decided to stop and take a photo. Then my camera battery died. This time my spare did work but I was starting to feel a little like I was going somewhere where perhaps I was not supposed to go.

Team FAR scouting 2, Dunsinane Triangle 1.5 (the half point for giving me the willies).

The next deterrent was a bridge out, which at least had a bypass and no deep water to cross but it was also the beginning of (cue dramatic music) THE MUD HOLES! Not your ordinary mud holes mind you, where you can weave around the side. No, these were the full width of the trail mud holes that demand the rider to go right through them … and down into them, because some of them were deeeeep.

Video – ‘Arris thinks this may be the mud hole that takes him and then immediately scorns Charles for his overly dramatic attempt just before (and he wonders why it’s so hard to get scouting partners).

The beauty is that they didn’t last for too long. Just long enough to be an adventure but not a slog, in other words a very possible new C route for the rally. The trail then joined up with Charles’ original route and we headed out on what appeared to be a fast, easy trail. But rider beware, the Dunsinane Triangle does not let you out so easily.

Hidden below the thin grass were ruts and holes big enough to catch your front wheel and throw an unsuspecting rider into the weeds. The temptation to blast through had to be overcome, the rider had to retain their wits, the Dunsinane Triangle may have been tamed, but it still demanded respect.

Team FAR scouting 3, Dunsinane Triangle 2.5.

By the time the sun was setting we were out and on our way to our respective abodes.

So did the Dunsinane Triangle make it onto the 2015 Fundy Adventure Rally? You’ll have to wait until September, but you might want to bring a life jacket. Bwahahahahahaaaaaaaaa ….*

*That’s an evil laugh, best bellowed low and with some echo.

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