Bike 4 - Part 1 - 12X26 - CycleBlaze

September 1, 2021

Bike 4 - Part 1

Bike 4 is a 101 mile trail comprised of four distinct trail segments, Great River, LaCrosse River, Elroy-Sparta and 400.  Today's ride focused on the Great River and LaCrosse River riding from Marshland to Sparta.

Today marked 2 milestones...crossing 500 miles and the first time during this trip I have been able to finish a day by riding directly to our accommodations.

Laura shuttled me to the Trempealeau National Wildlife Refuge.  A beautiful area with a true sense of remoteness.  For a good part of its 25 miles it is close to the banks of the Mississippi River and associated marshland.  There are many repurposed railroad bridges used to span the Trempealeau River and marshlands.

Start of the trail in the National Refuge.
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Dappled sunshine.
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Only a small part of the extensive marshland.
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One of the many bridges in this section.
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The 22 mile LaCrosse River Trail offers a different experience with a focus on farmland and tracts of surviving prairie making this section more open and sunny.   Like the Great River, the entire 47 miles were packed gravel and limestone which provided an excellent riding surface for my hybrid's wider tires.  As I approached Sparta the sides of the trail were covered with wildflowers.

Prairie with forested limestone bluffs in the distance.
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Wildflowers abound.
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Tomorrow will be a different wrinkle.  We've arranged for a shuttle to take us 17 miles down trail to Wilton and Laura and I will bike back to Sparta, enjoying the open section of the Elroy-Sparta Trail.  Two sections of the 32 mile trail are closed due to a 2018 flood that took out a bridge.  Our "wrinkle" will allow us to pass through two tunnels measuring approximately 1 mile.  Tomorrow will be an exciting day.

Today's ride: 49 miles (79 km)
Total: 665 miles (1,070 km)

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