I had my first meal seasoned with foraged wild Ramps (Allium Tricoccum, sometimes called wild leeks or spring onions), so I know spring is firmly ensconced and winter is far distant in the seasonal rearview mirror. I typically find Ramps when I am riding trails or gravel. As readers may have guessed by my recent post about abandoned CC Camps, as I ride, my eyes are more often focused in the forest than on the gravel road or trail.
This time of year, before the trees leaf out, I am looking for ephemeral flowers or early edibles. Yesterday I was lucky to ride past a number of wet areas with Ramps aplenty. They tend to grow in damp, rich soil in Upland forests. I harvested a handful, stuffed them in my frame bag and kept riding.
The other thing finding Ramps signals is the snow has receded, the ground is drying out and mountain bike trails are opening. South of CAMBA Country most of the MTB trails have been open for a week or two. While our forest soils in Sawyer County are still a little too soft to open the trails, I am happy to report the CAMBA trails at Mt Ashwabay and the Cable Bike Park are open as of today.
The microclimate on the Bayfield Peninsula at sandy soil typically allows for us to open the CAMBA trails at Mt. Ashwabay before we can open the rest of the trails in Sawyer County. The conditions should be good to shred at Ashwabay this weekend, so point yourself north and take advantage of the great trails overlooking the South Shore of Lake Superior. For those who have not ridden there, the trails at Mt. Ashwabay are super flowy. The relatively easy climb to the top allows riders to take advantage of gravity and ride the many bermed turns and rollers on way down.
Those of us riding in Sawyer County can take our stoke over to the Cable Bike Park, but we stay off the rest of the trails in Sawyer County for a week to so. While I love our CAMBA trails, I honestly enjoy riding the endless gravel in CAMBA Country just as much. As I mentioned, I use the time to learn about the forest I am riding through, stopping whenever something catches my eye. I also do as much research as I can to look for good trout streams and lesser-known waterfalls.
For the last couple years, I have been riding recon to research a new 380-mile bikepacking route past a couple of dozen waterfalls that I intend to publish soon. I had one last waterfall yet to confirm. I had heard rumors of a nice waterfall on Spring Brook in Marengo, and with a tip from the great local photographer Paul Ostrum, I found it just east of Waboo Creek! If you hike west along Spring Brook from where it crosses Spring Brook Road, you will be treated to a series of beautiful small falls dropping off of moss-covered boulders.
Spring Brook is a feeder to the Brunsweiler River, and listed as a Class 1 trout stream. I have not fished it yet, but it is hard for me to imagine a prettier spot to tempt trout. While I didn’t have a rod with me, I was as happy to find this gem and lock down the last remaining waterfall on my new route as most fisherman would be to land a 24-inch Brookie.
For those of you who like to see trail/gravel conditions in real-time, Cowboy and I shared a short ride in the video above. If you like the Cowboy and Seeley Dave reports, please subscribe to our channel by viewing them on YouTube.
I hope you are able to get out and enjoy riding in CAMBA Country this early spring. Whether you prefer to rip the runs at Mt Ashwabay, cross-up on the jump line at the Cable Bike Park or find pedaling in verdant forests restorative, come enjoy our Endless Trails and Big Woods. And stay tuned to our Facebook page and this website for updates soon on when the rest of the CAMBA trails will open.