Cycling, hiking, camping, etc — now back in southern Indiana. Words and photos.

More Brown County mountain biking

Wednesday, March 25th, 2009

Here are a couple of other mountain bike rides I did with Dave at Brown County State Park while in Indiana.

The old trails


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We rode the old trails. The first thing I noticed when we started riding was just how smooooooooth these trails are. I knew it before, but compared to the trails here in Pennsylvania, the Indiana trails felt even smoother. I was hoping the hills would be easy after riding in the mountains, but that proved not to be the case.

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Smooth trail

The North Tower Loop was fun, as always. The Aynes climb was harder than I thought it would be, but I guess it’s early in the season. I don’t feel bad about being sluggish. All the trails were in excellent condition, with only a few muddy spots and downed trees.

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At the top of the Aynes climb

The Hesitation Point trail just keeps getting better. The climb was not as grueling as I feared it would be, and they keep honing the technical features. It’s far more ridable than it used to be, and this restores some of the great flow to the trail. I love it.

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View from Hesitation Point

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Cyclists getting on the trail at HP

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Buds

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The trail goes by a pond

It was a great day to be out on the bike.

The new trails

The next day, we had planned what we thought would be a shorter ride. I woke up feeling crummy in the morning and we put off our ride until later. I felt well enough later in the day to ride, so we headed back to Brown County. We were riding the new trails, which I have only ridden a few times. I always think I prefer the older trails, but I had a blast on the new ones — they’re growing on me.


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We started on the intermediate trail, which has a few technical parts. We had to walk a few times, but we were able to ride most of it.

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Walnut Trail

The Walnut Trail is fairly short and soon we were on the Limekiln Trail. This is a “beginner” trail, but it is an absolute roller coaster ride for stronger riders. There are plenty of opportunities to catch some air, and the trail is smooth and non-technical, so you can really fly. We saw a couple of families out riding, and the kids were all doing an awesome job.

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Cabin

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My bicycle

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Limekiln trail

We had reached the end of the trail system, so we turned around. The Limekiln Trail was just as much fun on the way back. Once we returned to the Walnut Trail, though, we decided to check out the new Schooner Trace expert trail. This trail is not yet finished or officially opened, but Dave knew where to find the trail. We had heard wild stories about this trail, and expected to have to walk a large portion of it. But we really wanted to check it out.

I have to say, the trail lived up to our expectations in terms of difficulty, but parts of it were more ridable than I had anticipated — which also means it was more fun than I anticipated.

However, it was indeed very difficult. It’s an extremely narrow trail that often follows the edge of a cliff, with soem tight switchbacks and frequent technical features — mostly, various rock gardens and other rock work. The trail is so narrow that there’s no room for error. One time, I was off from the center of the trail by about two inches and my wheel started sliding down the hill. Yikes!

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Taken from the apex of a switchback

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Rocks

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Narrow, exposed trail, with consequences

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More technical stuff

The trail skirted the edge of a gorge for a while, and we worked our way down. There was no blistering descent, the trail just went through a lot of ups and downs and we eventually reached the bottom. I was glad, because it’d be far too easy to go off the trail if you picked up too much speed (and it’d be impossible to climb in the other direction).

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Reaching the valley

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There was a small stream and this overturned bridge, I’m assuming it’s not finished yet

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More narrow trail

We had a lot of climbing to do to get back out of the valley, but it didn’t seem too bad, considering. It was a gradual climb, for the most part.

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Looking back on some of the switchbacks

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More narrow trail

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Back at the road
It was another fantastic ride. I was really glad we checked out the Schooner Trace trail, as it was a lot more enjoyable than I had expected, and it’s a real work of art. It covers some extremely beautiful land, and I can’t wait to ride it again once it’s completed. I was also able to ride some tricky parts I wasn’t sure I’d make, and that’s always a good feeling.

One Response to “More Brown County mountain biking”

  1. Dave Says:

    Thanks for the description and pictures from this weekend of riding. What a way to kickstart the trail riding season! Can’t wait until you’re able to come ride again – by then we’ll have the new pine loop open to add to our mileage and variety. Great to ride with you on the hometown trails!

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