My Aug. 23 blog post about the MN River Bottoms Trail included a mention of the big cottonwood tree that had recently fallen across 9 Mile Creek, providing a bridge across. Someone had created a walkway on a portion of it to make it easier to cross.
Yesterday, I noticed that the tangle of branches on the east side of the bank (left photo from Aug) has been cleared away, with a small ramp constructed (center photo) to make it easier to ride your bike up onto the log when riding across it east to west. And on the west side, the splintered trunk of the tree has been trimmed back (right photo), making it easier to negotiate the sharp turn when riding across west to east.
I rode across it both directions a couple of times and noticed that big chunks of bark on the west end of the log were starting to come loose. So I peeled off some of the bark (left photo), only to discover that there was considerable moisture and sap underneath, making it slippery as gorilla snot. I rubbed dirt on it, which helped a bit but not quite enough to prevent the wheel from slipping (center photo). I’m guessing it should be fine in a day or two, though.
A mountain biker named Brian Smith took a 17-second video of me crossing the log east to west:
I didn’t make it up the dirt bank on that run but did get up it the other two times.
However, it’s much trickier riding the log west to east because of the drop down the bank prior to making the right turn on top where there’s a crevice in the tree trunk that can grab your front wheel about the same time your rear wheel is hitting the beveled right edge of the trunk.
Brian also took some photos of me riding the log west to east. Here are three:
Fun stuff. Props to the volunteers who’ve whipped this log into shape for the rest of us.
Update Nov. 11: I used my smartphone camera to record this 19-second video of me riding back and forth across the tree yesterday. Unfortunately, I dabbed and didn’t have time for a redo.
Update Dec. 2: Here’s a POV video of Heath Weisbrod riding the log on a fat bike: