Today, some friends and I were planning a ride from Charlton, in Saratoga County, north to Middle Grove and return, about a 30-miler. There was an optional 9-mile add-on, the climb to Lake Desolation and back. Since I had enticed my friend Ted to join us on this ride by stressing the "optional-ness" of that add-on, I doubted we'd be doing that climb. If we had, the center peak in the profile below would be much higher and steeper. Lake Desolation is just off the top center of the map.
Once we reached Middle Grove and its Stewarts Shop, we had a slight change of plan. Some of the group would indeed be doing the full climb to Lake Desolation. Ted and I decided to start up the climb, and then watch for a road on the map that seemed to parallel NY-29 headed west, which, if it worked out, would give us a better way back to Charlton. As it turned out, the road changed to a seasonal dirt road after a little over a mile, all uphill, so we turned around and headed back toward Charlton by a slightly different route. In the end, we'd covered a little over 37 miles, with about 2,000 feet of total lumpy climbing, and were finished by noon before the heat and possible storms later on.