Friday, January 27, 2017
Winter Biking to Partridge Falls
For a while there the weather was NOT conducive to winter biking. It was just too warm! I know that probably sounds crazy... too warm to bike? Well, in the winter, it can be. When the temperature gets above freezing for too long you just need to stay off the trails because they turn to mush and are too soft to ride on. Thankfully, over the past few days the temperatures have been getting back down to below freezing overnight. Since the snow had gotten so compacted, the colder temperatures have now solidified it into an awesome surface for biking! We rode up to Partridge Falls in Grand Portage a couple of days ago and just had a blast. We were able to cruise quite easily across the hard snow. It was one of the best winter bike rides we've had!
When you combine warm weather with certain areas of the trail that are already soft because of springs coming up from under the ground, you end up with areas that can be difficult to cross. Jessica's foot sank down into the mud about 10 inches when trying to cross a spot where there is a spring that trickles all year long. In a normal winter, this spot might be wet but it probably wouldn't be as soft as it was the other day. It hasn't been cold enough for long enough yet for this spot to re-freeze completely.
Of course, a bike adventure is always better when there is a cool destination and Partridge Falls makes for a pretty sweet destination! Again, at the waterfall you can see the results of the warm weather we've been having. Usually in January this waterfall is a solid wall of ice, with the only running water occurring beneath the ice. This year, however, the waterfall was almost completely open. You can see evidence of how well it had been frozen by the thick chunk of ice still remaining on the left. However, our January thaw took care of the majority of that ice.
Since we were riding down into a river valley, that meant the ride out is quite a bit of climbing. Thankfully, that climbing is mostly pretty gradual. The slower pace of pedaling a fat bike uphill on snow means that you have more time to enjoy the scenery. And the scenery is beautiful along this route, as you can see by the giant pine trees we rode past. Fat bike rides are always fun, but even more so when you have the perfect snow to ride on!