Saturday, April 30, 2011

Bike-Camping at Birch Lakes State Forest

- St. Joseph, MN to Birch Lake State Forest.
- 38mi

A good opportunity for an overnight ride and trip to Birch Lake came up suddenly. My mother would go visit her father in Sauk Center, and I could get a ride as far as St. Joseph, take the Lake Wobegon trail for a ways, and meet up in time to get a lift back home. It's a short ride, but the weather promises to be contrary to cycling and I only have two days I can be away.

By the time I was dropped off under the trail shelter at St. Joseph, the downpour had become a saturating mist, and the wind was picking up to quickly sweep that away. I bundled up in my heavy rainpants and coat mainly to take measure of how well they'd work. The pants where stiff and hot, but I bet they'll do great in a prolonged, cold rain. About forty-five minutes later, I could see an edge of teal-blue sky beyond the rainclouds.

As the clouds dispersed(More like torn up and thrown out of the way by the wind), the wind really started up. A sidewind, for the most part, but one strong enough that I'd be hanging off the side of my bike trying to keep it upright and didn't dare move too quickly. Still, it was sunny - almost warm, and at least it wasn't a true headwind.

By the time I reached the State Forest, I was riding directly into 35mph gusts, and it was a relief to put the open fields behind me. Forecast says wind all night, snow, freezing, and more wind tomorrow.

Raining in St. Joseph.

A bit of blue sky approaching Avon.

Lake Wobegon Trail near Avon.

Lake Schwinghamer shelter. The one I never seem to be able to get a decent picture of - always too early in the morning, too cloudy, or too dark!

Where is St. Rosa?

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