I’d like to make a small disclaimer before my post ‘Mountain Biking at the Reforestation camp’. I’m not an avid mountain biker, having rode trails a handful of times in my life. This particular blog is not an opinion of an expert. You may ask ‘why are you writing it then’? The answer is to enlighten someone, like myself, who is not looking for trails that are ultra challenging. Mostly, like always, to give a glimpse of what is there to encourage others to visit.
Anyhow, as you know, if you’re reading this in Wisconsin, this spring has been unseasonably chilly. So, when the temps registered in the 70’s I took advantage and enjoyed some outdoor recreation. As you may have guessed from the disclaimer, Mountain Biking was my ambition.
As I’ve mentioned, I’m not huge into the sport. My bike isn’t a top of the line Trek, just an eight year old $100 dollar Walmart special. I admit, when I see some of those ‘state of the art’ bikes on the trails I feel pretty inferior. But hey, I’m riding for the experience and not for social clout. A Kia can get you to the grocery store just as well as a Mercedes, and you’ll see the same things on the way there. Besides, I’m not intending to be a competitive rider, I just want to get in the woods and blow off some steam.
I visit the Reforestation camp quite often in the winter, enjoying their wonderfully groomed cross-country ski-trails. During my journeys over the snowy terrain, I noticed markings for mountain bike trails. Naturally, I was intrigued. But it’s been years, and I do mean years, since I’ve first seen those markings.
If you’re like me, you may think something like mountain biking would be cool. Yet, I work for a living and don’t want to break my arm (or worse) doing it. So, I guess you could say I was a bit intimidated. This is my recount of my experience at the Reforestation camp.
I’m driving rather cautiously on the rural roads of Suamico, Wisconsin, heading towards the reforestation camp. I pull into the parking lot and am immediately excited. Last week, I drove into an empty parking lot and discovered that the mountain bike trails were closed. Today, I see a handful of cars with empty bike racks near the trail head. That must mean the trails are open.
I decide to take advantage of the lodge before I start my journey. I use the restroom and change into shorts and a T-shirt. I’m all set and make the rather long walk back to the trail head. When I reach it, I pay my $5 trail fee, which anybody over the age of 16 is required to pay. (I can also purchase an annual one here or online for $30). I also check out the trail map.
There are three double track and three single track loops. Some of the loops can only be reached by taking other trails so mileage varies. I do know that the Willow Trail, the main trail, is a 2.2 mile double track loop- so I’ll start with that. I should note that the single tracks, from what I see of them later, look like absolutely beautiful rides, the longest being 6.3 miles from the point it branches from the willow.
As I enter, there is a sign warning that black bear are in the area. I think I can outrun them on a bike. Seriously, if I don’t do anything stupid they shouldn’t really pose a problem. I pedal over gravel, grass, sand and dirt. At times, the trail is covered with matted gray leaves of last year. The trees tower overhead, as the green of spring invigorates my soul. My bike easily cruises over the rougher terrain that pops up intermittently. Portions of the trail are partially blocked due to erosion control.
On the Willow Trail, there is one slightly challenging downhill, the terrain being quite rough and coupled with a patch of sand. There are two up hills that were also fairly challenging. I must mention, I am forty-five. So, even if I keep myself in decent shape, younger people might have an easier time at these climbs.
I branch off from the willow and take another trail. Somehow, I end up at the cross country ski trailhead. Apparently, I didn’t navigate well. I turn back and find the willow Trail again. I do the loop one more time.
All in all, I probably bike about four miles. It was a good first run, however, I’ll definitely pedal longer during this summer. I decide that I’ll purchase the annual pass. I definitely see myself doing this more than six times this summer.
If you’re someone that likes getting outdoors and doesn’t mind a little risk, I seriously suggest this. I absolutely had a blast. Not to mention, it’s great exercise. The reforestation camp isn’t the only place with mountain bike trails in the area. Baird’s creek, within the city limits of Green Bay, also provides great trails.