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Using the Minnesota Valley NWR Bike Trail to Reach Geocaches

 
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Mario and Princess Peach
Geocacher


Joined: 22 May 2005

Posts: 98
Location: South Minneapolis

PostPosted: Mon Jun 13, 2005 6:55 am    Post subject: Using the Minnesota Valley NWR Bike Trail to Reach Geocaches Reply with quote

This is just some information I wish I would have had yesterday, so I'm sharing it here. There is a much easy way to reach these caches, but if you like to take your bike off-road, the following is useful information.

I was out with my wife and 13 yr old son.




I was trying to reach a group of caches on the southwest side of Long Medow Lake by riding this trail that starts on the northeast side of the lake, running along the Minnesota River.




The Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge trail starts near the Mall of America at 3815 E 80th St. in Bloomington, across from the Airport Hilton Hotel. The ride starts with a very steep downhill into the refuge. It's the kind of drop that you start dreading having to climb before you even reach the bottom.

The first couple of miles is blissful. The trail is mostly crushed rock - nearly perfect. Very few people were there, and it was a perfect day to be out. At this point, I ran into a fellow with a flat tire, and let him use my bike pump. So, beware - flat tires can happen here.

After a couple of miles, the trail turns fairly technical with lots of sand traps. On each side of most sand traps are copious amounts of poison ivy. I felt like I was in a video game. If the sand made me fall, I was going to land in poison ivy.

The trail runs near the Minnesota River for a bit, and part of it is only a few inches wide, with the other side being a cliff that falls about 20 feet into the river.

About 3/4ths the way from the turning point in the trail (where it turns back north), the trail enters a tall grassy area, where the grass is up to your chest when you're biking. You can hardly see the few inches of bare trail here. This goes on for what's equivalent to a few blocks of travel. You emerge from this into a sandy wooded area where you will want to stop for a drink- at least we did.

When we stopped, we realized that the tall grass traverse left us literally covered in ticks. I counted about 6 on each leg of my pants. Later, I would count about 20 that I removed from myself. They were under my shirt, in my pant pockets, crawling up my socks and many in my shoes. I had sprayed with deet, and none of them attached before I got them all off. They were the larger ticks that are easy to see and feel.

This is my wife before we reached the tick infestation area. She was already ready for this bike ride to be done with.


When we reached a creek near the bottom of the trail, we had to maneuver our bikes across fallen logs to cross the creek. We nearly turned back at this point. We were already freaked out by the large number of ticks and mosquitoes that seemed to have a taste for deet.

After crossing the logs, we rode for a short distance, only to find another more treacherous log crossing to go further. That log crossing was the last straw for my biking party. We decided to turn back.

On the return, we could have crossed over the bridge at Old Cedar Ave and made it over to the caches, but my crew was spent and nearly out of water. We'll save these for another day.

Next time, we'll enter from Parker's Picnic Grounds in southeastern Bloomington or Russell Sorenson River Landing. That would be a piece of cake.

Nonetheless, if I would have been alone, I would have made the second log crossing and would have enjoyed the technical challenge of this trail - ticks and all.

edit by SB, due to the misleading subject for this topic I have modified it. Please note that geocaching and geocaches are not permitted in the Minnesota Valley NWR.
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JT
Past MnGCA President


Joined: 31 Jul 2003

Posts: 395
Location: Bloomington, MN

PostPosted: Mon Jun 13, 2005 7:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sounds like a fun weekend day trip! I will have to load up the bike one of these weekends.

-JT
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Kitch
Past MnGCA Board


Joined: 18 May 2003

Posts: 1286
Location: SSP,MN

PostPosted: Mon Jun 13, 2005 7:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
When we stopped, we realized that the tall grass traverse left us literally covered in ticks. I counted about 6 on each leg of my pants. Later, I would count about 20 that I removed from myself. They were under my shirt, in my pant pockets, crawling up my socks and many in my shoes. I had sprayed with deet, and none of them attached before I got them all off. They were the larger ticks that are easy to see and feel.


You need to go caching with "silent bob" all those ticks would be on him instead of you......

heck SB is soo bad he blames me for finding one on him in a cafe.

(sorry offtopic)

ummm- ya sounds like a good time...
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Mario and Princess Peach
Geocacher


Joined: 22 May 2005

Posts: 98
Location: South Minneapolis

PostPosted: Mon Jun 13, 2005 8:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

hehe - he's getting quite the reputation as tick magnet.
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bobhiker
Past MnGCA Chair


Joined: 16 Dec 2002

Posts: 61
Location: Chanhassen MN

PostPosted: Mon Aug 15, 2005 8:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have not been on this part of the trail, but west of here between the old Bloomington Ferry Bridge and 35W, the trail is great for mountain biking. At one point you have to put yourself and your bike on a raft and pull yourself across a creek. It is a great ride. I have not checked for a while, but there are probably a few caches along the way. Laughing
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Marsha and Silent Bob
Past MnGCA President


Joined: 02 Sep 2003

Posts: 6261

PostPosted: Mon Aug 15, 2005 8:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

bobhiker wrote:
At one point you have to put yourself and your bike on a raft and pull yourself across a creek. It is a great ride. I have not checked for a while, but there are probably a few caches along the way. Laughing

There's a cache only a couple hundred feet away from the raft: http://www.geocaching.com/seek/cache_details.aspx?guid=7faef7c3-ad07-4ffd-813d-b258eb5d3a88
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