On Labor Day, I drove to Hadley with my bike, parking next to the Mass Central Rail Trail in the town center. I headed east on the trail into Amherst, then went north through the UMass campus, and headed up route 63 into the town of Leverett.

I rode all the way through Leverett on 63, which involves some mild up and down, and passed through corners of Sunderland and Montague, before turning east again and going back into Leverett. I rode across the northern part of the town, passing this stream on the way (click on any image to embiggen):

Stream flowing from upper left to lower right of photo, with flowers and weeds on the close bank, and woods on the opposite bank.
Stream flowing from lower left to upper middle of photo, with flowers and weeds on the close bank, and woods on the opposite bank.  A road surface can be seen on the right edge of the image.

I followed this road (North Leverett Road) all the way into the town of Shutesbury, where it reaches Lake Wyola. I’ve passed by that lake a number of times before. Here’s a view of the water, where it flows out of the lake:

 A lake in the distance, with tree-covered hill and blue sky with clouds beyond it.  In the foreground is a stream flowing out of the lake, toward the camera, with grass and trees on either side.

From here I headed south, which involves a long hill climb. I stopped to rest once, and then after a while made it to the top, which is the town center:

Town common with a US flag on pole, a wayfinding monument, and lists honoring the town's war veterans.

Climbing to the town center from the north is the opposite of what I did on one of my rides last September.

From there, I started going west, which took me downhill a bit, but then I turned south on a different road, and that took me much more downhill, into Pelham. I eventually went on a dirt portion of road, through a conservation area. That involved going a bit more downhill, and then climbing again. At the low point of the dirt section, I crossed this bridge over a pretty stream:

Dirt road heading off of bridge with guardrails.  Road is surrounded by trees.
Dirt road heading off of bridge with guardrails.  Road is surrounded by trees, which shade it almost completely.
Looking down at a stream flowing vigorously around large rocks.  There is greenery on both sides of the water, and a sign can be seen in the upper right saying "No trespassing, public water supply, Town of Amherst".

Once I climbed out of this area, I crossed a major road and was on pavement again. I kept going south (on Gulf Rd), and a bit uphill, but then was rewarded with a very long downhill run that took me into Belchertown. I finally crossed Route 9, and then turned to head southeast a ways. I passed by this small body of water – Arcadia Lake:

Close view of lake, with some greenery in the foreground.  Houses can be seen on the far edge of the water, with green hills beyond, and a cloudy sky.

Not long after passing this, the road climbed up a ways, and then deposited me on Route 9. I rode on that for a very short distance, and then made a couple of turns to end up going west on Bay Road. That goes downhill initially, then is level for a while (with one little rise and fall). While still in Belchertown, I turned off of Bay Rd. and went north to pick up the eastern end of the local section of the Mass Central Trail (known as the Norwottuck section). I took the trail northwest into Amherst, where I passed by the Lawrence Swamp:

Marsh area with lily pads covering much of the water, reeds and other greenery in the foreground, and trees beyond the water.

I continued along the trail through Amherst and back into Hadley, but just a little ways into Hadley the bike started to be sluggish about steering. I realized that the front tire had gone soft. It seemed like it might be a slow leak, so rather than put in a fresh tube I pumped in some air in the hopes of making it back to the car (which was only another 1.5 miles). However, the tire was quickly almost flat again, so clearly the leak was too big. I stopped and changed the tube, and unfortunately the place I stopped was full of mosquitos, so I got bit a bunch in the process. Once I had the new tube installed and inflated, and the wheel back on the bike, it was quick to get back to the car. Total distance for this ride was 50 miles.

Next: some real adventure in Ware.