May 15, 2018
Finally rode Hard Labor. I'm kind of kicking myself that I didn't give it a try years ago. I rode 17 miles which was most of the system (minus a few spots on Red trail).
The parking lot for the MTB trails has no facilities, so make sure you bring enough water, don't need to change, or hit the bathroom.
I did come across two large snakes hanging out in the middle of the trail on different sections, so do watch out.
Hard labor had (4) MTB trails plus a connector. The Orange is a 1 mi warm-up, beginner trail. Not much to it. Purple is a two way connector. Relatively short and nothing of significance on it.
The Green trail isn't technical at all, but has many fun, flowy sections where you can keep an insane speed up. I probably rode it too fast as it was my first time at Hard Labor, but I had a blast. It also has a fairly easy quick creek cross section that is nice for cooling your legs with a quick splash.
Blue trail was easier still, but was really scenic. It follows a nice creek for a mile or two and there's a small waterfall and some other pretty sections. Blue isn't quite as good for keeping up a high rate of speed, but its still enjoyable.
Red trail is classified as the only 'intermediate' trail at HL, and it can be pretty sneaky challenging at times. There are at least (4) 'shortcuts' to knock mileage down if one is looking to bail. I ended up taking the last (2) since I ran out of water, had no idea of what was left, and didn't want to push it in 90-95 weather. In retrospect, I probably should have done the extra 0.75mi. There's constant up/down on Red trail and some of the hills are pretty steep. There's also lots of roots/rocks/gnar. Red trail is definitely a workout and has its challenges sprinkled in, but its not outrageous.
Hard Labor is an old school trail system. Its not machine cut, and there's lots of stuff to keep you bumping and bouncing. In spite of that, its pretty damn fun and seems to beg to be ridden fast. I'll be back.
Fort Yargo, Dauset