At the beginning of May, we checked out the state of the D&R Canal towpath from New Brunwick to Princeton. For Memorial Day, we pushed further south.
The good part is that so much work has been done in the nine months since the devastating storms of Henri and Ida. Much, much improved from late September and even over the winter, especially between Alexander and Washington Roads and then around Quaker Road, where the road had caved in and the drop to the trail was a mess.
Yes, there is still work to do. We also were biking a few days after a heavy rain, so we hit muddy spots and even puddles However, they were generally easy to ride around.
Hopefully by the time you read this, this downed tree south of Alexander Road is gone. And all the poison ivy on it too. Quite the squeeze! (Update: a friend tells me it was gone by Tuesday afternoon.)
After another 1/8 of a mile, we hit a deep rut across the entire path. Is this a fresh washout caused by a spring storm or a remnant from last fall?
There were certainly other short stretches between the downed tree and Quaker Road that still need some help. But the approach to Quaker Road? Wow! When we walked this stretch in January, it was all large rocks that I wouldn’t subject my road bike to. Now it is yards and yards of crushed gray stone and an gentle ascent to Quaker Road (which given how the road curves right there could use a pair of rapid-flashing pedestrian-activated lights).
The bad ruts are gone south of Quaker Road, but I’d say the path still needs some work. I recall more gray stonedust prior to the storm. Now it’s mixed with sand. Thankfully, not as sandy as back in late September.
We peeled off at the connection to the Lawrence Hopewell Trail. Such a joy of a trail. We hit a detour early on, and the section through the Lawrenceville School is still closed. But Mercer County has now paved the 1.5 miles between the Pole Farm in Mercer Meadows and the Hunt House — no more dealing with soft sand! Love it! The next section, more than a mile to Rosedale Lake, is a mix of paved and not paved through the woods and then around a lake — another winner! I appreciated it even more after Rosedale Lake, where the trail has shifted to fairly new bridges connected by kinda rough unpaved terrain. But a big update on the LHT is for another day. (Here’s my 2019 report of riding the entire 22-mile loop.)