A Weekend in the Northland
Last week we headed north to Duluth and Cuyuna for some guiding and riding. It was a lovely fall weekend with peak color changes for many birch, aspen and maples. Recent high winds and rain had blown quite a few leaves off the trees and onto the trails; but there was still plenty of color across the northshore and around the Cuyuna lakes to compliment the bright blue sky we’ve been missing this wet summer.
We began our weekend by introducing a client to the Lester Park and Hawk Ridge trails for a fun day of riding. Climbing along the leaf covered Lester River single track, we had many good views of the Lester River and it’s falls, which we had not noticed earlier in the year because they were masked by foliage. The trails were in good shape with only a few low spots that were muddy and the leaves were not too wet to slow us down. The short rocky climbs on Hawk Ridge gave way to overlooks of Lake Superior, where we stopped to enjoy the views of the lake and autumn colors, as hawks and eagles soared high above the ridge on the thermals. We met a few bikers and hikers on the trail; but most people were up on Skyline Ridge Road watching birds and leaf peeping.
After riding the out and back on the Hawk Ridge Connector and Morningside trails; rather than ride back down Hawk Ridge single track, our client and I opted to ride Skyline Ridge, while Tara rode the single track. We met back up with Tara at the end of Hawk Ridge descended down to the Amity East single track; which was covered with a bed of pine needles. Back at the parking lot everyone agreed to head to Canal Park brewing for some food and beers, to cap off a good day of riding.
After our day in Duluth we drove west to Cuyuna to scout out trails for an upcoming private lesson. We parked on the east end of Portsmouth Lake and rode across the highway to the Yawkey Trails. The trails were in great shape, leaf covered; but not too wet and showed no signs of the Oremageddon race which had occurred just two days before. We rode Haul Road to the Yawkey cluster and did a few loops Man Cage, Skip and Grizzly before heading across to Tugger and Bobsled. We then did three laps on Bobsled trail, which gave us some fun berm practice and a little climbing workout to get to the top. I then talked Tara into riding around Portsmouth Lake. The leaves were very colorful and the sun shone brightly off the lake and it felt warm for an autumn day. Driving home the car temperature gauge said it was 75 degrees; freakishly warm for northern Minnesota in the fall.
Fall is a great time to ride in Minnesota and we are trying our best to take advantage of getting out while the temps are still warm and the skies blue. Hopefully, we’ll see you out on the trails too, as there is still plenty of great riding weather to be had.
Cheers - Byron