Thursday, September 15, 2011

Impressions from the Maah-Daah-Hey

Want to ride 100+ miles of singletrack? Want to spend four days riding point to point cross-country trails with no backtracking? Want someone cool to haul your stuff from campsite to campsite? Want to bed down in a tent and fall asleep with the howling of coyotes for a lullaby?  Then go here:

This is the Maah-Daah-Hey trail, a 100+ mile singletrack trail that bisects the Little Missouri National Grasslands between two segments of Theodore Roosevelt National Park in the Badlands of North Dakota.

The route runs over high-desert grasslands, along exposed sandstone ridgelines, and through deep riparian canyons. And despite my impression of North Dakota as really flat, this trail isn't; in four days we climbed 10,000 vertical feet, continually climbing and descending from 1700 feet at canyon floor to 2500 feet atop the ridges. Much of the landscape is pure wilderness.

Due to some mechanical snafus, I rode alone for two of the four days. Aside from the ten minutes when I caught and passed two other guys who shared our shuttle ride, I didn't see another soul the entire time. Imagine that: riding world-class singletrack for four hours in utter solitude. While I missed riding with Blank, I had a lot of time to figure out some stuff.

Blank finished the fourth day strong. Here we are at the end of the trail, with the trusty gear trailer as a backdrop.

We take a week-long mountain bike trip most every Summer, usually to Crested Butte, Lake Tahoe, Downieville, or other world-class dirt destinations. The Maah-Daah-Hey belongs on that list. It's stark, isolated, and demanding.

Maah-Daah-Hey Trail Association

Dakota Cyclery 

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