Date: July 1
July mileage: 16.3
Temperature upon departure: 58
Wow. Until today, if someone had asked me if there were any good mountain biking trails in Homer, I would have scrunched up my nose and told them sure - but if they had anything longer than a three-mile ride in mind, they'd have to wait until January.
When I heard rumors that my ice-biking Mecca - a vast network of snowmobile trails weaving through the muskeg around Caribou Lake - had a rideable summer trail, I was very skeptical. But today Geoff and I decided to drive out there and see for ourselves.
During the winter, the Caribou Lake Trail rolls over ridges on punchy, snow-covered double track and traverses the bogs on fast, smooth ice roads. To my pleasant surprise, in the summer it does pretty much the exact same thing - if you replace snow with rutted dirt and the ice roads with hundreds of rough-cut 2x4s.
Fast and fun - and so completely rideable that you can go all the way to the lake and back without so much as getting your feet wet (unless you're like me, and try to shortcut across a bog only to sink up to your rear derailleur in sludge.) The mosquitoes will keep you moving - but everything else about this trail is like that California Adventure Park at Disney Land - all of the pleasure; none of the effort (OK ... Maybe a little effort).
I'm not even sure who put a trail this sophisticated out at an absolute end-of-the-road, middle-of-nowhere destination. My best guess is local land owners, who use ATVs to transport supplies into their remote cabins. But I think local bike enthusiasts helped. Either way, it rocks. Now, when I meet a person that tells me they're coming down here to catch a halibut or fish for king salmon in a slough, or do whatever people come to Homer to do, I'm going to insist they bring a bicycle. "This trail is pretty much the best thing about Homer," I'll say. And, depending on the day, I might even mean it.