Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Northwest Passage

I haven't been riding a whole lot in the past couple of weeks, so yesterday I thought I would get out for a long ride. I've been getting a bit bored with my usual routes, so I thought I would be adventurous, and plan a route that would involve some forest roads and trails. I decided to revisit the same forest roads Trish and I went on a few weeks ago. I really don't like to double back when I ride, so I thought I would try to get all the way from Munger Shaw road to Three Lakes road. This link would have been in the northwest corner of my planned route and doesn't show on any maps so I thought I would be clever and call it the Northwest Passage.
Using satellite maps, I looked at the trails and roads going through the area to plot my route. I loaded the route into my GPSr and off I went.

All the Pretty Horses
I had to ride 20 miles just to get to the gravel section. I left the house at 7 a.m. so these guys were pretty much the only other souls who were out and about besides me and a few fishermen.
The first few miles of gravel were wide and smooth. I saw about a half dozen deer and an equal number of rabbits. The road then got narrower and I came upon my first obstacle.

Man Down
I had to do the limbo to get under this tree.

Rocky Road
The 2 inch wide tires I have on the trucker handled this terrain much better than the 38 mm ones on my Scott. I didn't break any spokes either, unlike last time.

Getting Narrow
The further I went, the narrower it got. The low branches were a good reason to ride in the drops.

I took my chances and rode through this. It ended up being deep enough so that my shoes went in the water as I pedaled.

End of the Line
A little bit further down the trail I ran into this little lake/river. I was much deeper then the first, and water was flowing down the trail for as far as I could see. I could have carried the bike and waded through, but I wasn't feeling that adventurous, so I turned around to find another way. I remembered from the satellite map that a side trail I passed further back looped around and met up with this trail again, hopefully somewhere after the water.

Just before rounding a curve on the second trail I heard the sound of running water. Luckily this water flowed underneath through a culvert.

Great Blue
Sometimes taking a different path can lead to good things. This great blue heron circled around me as I stopped to enjoy the scenery.

Wolf Track
Further up the trail I came across a muddy area filled with wolf and deer tracks. Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, no wolves were to be seen.

End of the Line II
Finally, after 2 miles on this second trail, I came to the end of the line. This water was deep enough that I could hear green frogs calling along the side of the trail (they don't like it shallow). There was no way around, so I knew that today wouldn't be the day to find the passage. I'm pretty sure if we hadn't received 2+ inches of rain this week it would have been dry enough to make it through. I'll be trying again after we get a little dry spell.

Switch the map below to satellite and zoom in to see where I was headed.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Cache Maintenance

This morning Trish, Loki, and I took advantage of a break in the rain to go out and check on a geocache that I've had disabled for a few months.  The cache is located along the North Shore State Trail north of Duluth. To get to it, we had to go about a mile and a half down a logging road. It is a beautiful area to hike, although there are sections that have been cut recently. The sun was doing its best to make an appearance, and there was enough of a wind to help keep the bugs at bay.

Through the Ferns
The first two thirds of the route were nice and wide, but the last third turned into an atv trail covered mostly in big, wet ferns. Which of course leads to.........

Looking Like a Lab
A very wet dog.

Muk(lu)king About
Trish brakes for..........


Sasquatch Junior
We may have also discovered a young sasquatch living in the area.

It took us about 45 minutes to make it to the cache site, where we found the container to be in good shape, ready to be found again.

A Well Deserved Treat
Loki's reward for making it home without any ticks. (I hope)

Friday, June 17, 2011

Where We'll Be

Loll Cabrio
When it's not raining and we're not out on our bikes, this is where we'll be.
Bring on the weekend!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Guerilla Marketing Duluth, who'da thunk it?

I passed behind this bike downtown after leaving work today. Because there was mud on top of the saddle, I knew the bike wasn't ridden there and something else was up. Looks like a northern Wisconsin casino wants us to know that they have more for people to do than just gamble.

I have a sudden urge to go back down there with a bucket of soapy water. Hmmmm...........

Sunday, June 5, 2011


Trish and I decided to take advantage of today's absolutely perfect weather and do a little bit of forest road riding. She took her Mukluk and I took my Scott hybrid. I would have taken my LHT, but the chain has been skipping whenever I ride on dirt. It may be time for a new cassette.

I was totally outmatched in the tire department.

The first road we took was wide, straight, and smooth. Very nice, but not quite what we were looking to do today. We were hoping to find something a little more suited for a fat tire bike.
So, after 5 1/2 miles we decided to turn around and go up a different road that forked off from where we parked.

The nice thing about doubling back is that you get to see the same beautiful scenery twice.

This is more like it. The road was just wide enough for a car, but was rocky enough that you wouldn't want to drive on it. We rode this for about 2 1/2 miles until it narrowed into double track, which we rode for another 3/4 mile. We were hoping it would loop around to another road, but it didn't seem to want to go in the right direction, so we decided to double back again and call it a day.

UsKabWanKa River

We ended the morning with about 17 miles and only passed one other person. The scenery was wonderful, but unfortunately we didn't see much in the way of wildlife except for some birds and a stray rabbit. We did see plenty of canine scat (probably wolf) along the first road we were on. That may help explain the lack of wildlife, along with the fact that this is a heavily hunted area.
The Mukluk performed very well, and except for a little trouble in some sand, I was able to hold my own. With any luck we'll be more evenly matched next time.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

The Best I've Got

Great Blue Herons
I got out for a fast (by my standards) 21 mile ride this morning and seeing these great blue herons was about the most interesting thing to happen. I ride this same route quite a bit, so unless I see something out of the ordinary, I'm never sure what's worthy of a post, or even a picture.
Oh, and in case anyone is wondering, my "fast" average speed was 15.4 mph. Thank you big ring!