I spent a few days with some buddies at a cabin near Lutsen over the weekend. We hiked the state park trails at Temperance and Cascade but I brought my 29′er in case any of the COGGS mountain bike trails around Duluth opened up/dried out in time for my drive back home to Northfield. Alas, no such luck. The trails were all too soft yet because of the late-season heavy snowfall and cold temps.
I was going to head back home to ride the metro-area MORC trails but torrential rains there closed all the trails that had just opened up a week ago. So I sent a text to CLMTB Crew president Aaron Hautala in hopes that Cuyuna Lakes would be open. YES! They had heavy rain overnight but the trails dried out quickly and were tacky fast.
I got there by 3:30 on Saturday and promptly ran into fellow Northfielders Todd Orjala, Ken Drivdahl, and Steve Schmidt. After riding all the trails in the Mahnomen Unit (see inset B on the DNR map), I pooped out by dark and was planning to make the drive home but got rescued by CLMTB Crew member John Schaubach who offered me dinner at his cabin and a place to pitch my sleeping bag for the night. YES!
John and I went for an early Sunday morning ride in the Yawkey Unit. He showed me how the CLMTB Crew had painstakingly spread a layer of Cuyuna’s red dirt/gravel mix on top of many sections of the trails that were primarily clay. John said that they refer to this mixture as ‘Cuyuna Gold’ because of its ability to harden the surface of a trail while still providing good traction. It’s amazing the amount of work that’s gone into doing this and what a difference it makes, especially after it’s rained. Props to Cuyuna Dirt Boss Nick Statz, Yawkey Unit Dirt Boss Dave Taylor, and their team of CLMTB Crew volunteers for working with the DNR to make this happen.
The rain ended our ride at 9 am so we promptly headed to the Heartland Kitchen & Café in Crosby for their stunning Sunday buffet. I’d blogged photos of proprietor Maureen Christopher before but this was the first time I’d met her sweetie, Jim Christopher, who was the beauty on duty for the buffet. After two hours of gorging ourselves, John and I staggered out and I departed for home, sated and grateful for yet another Cuyuna weekend.