Next weekend is the MDH trail race and I have a number of friends doing the event. I had the good fortune of riding and touring the trail recently. I took two day and rode much of it. I didn’t have enough time to do a full out and back or a coordinated drop off at the North end, so I parked at the middle at Magpie Campground and did a big loop south on day 1 followed by a big loop north on day 2. All in all, an incredible experience.
This is my fourth time riding the MDH in about 6 years. I love it out in the Badlands. In fact, I think it is my favorite place on earth (so far!). It is such an amazing landscape with incredible terrain, history and challenge. This time I rode my Surly Krampus all decked out with Porcelain Rocket bags. I also had a specific photo journey planned so I carried a lot of equipment on day one. This included 2 Fuji X cameras along with a tri pod. I had some evening long exposure photography in mind. In the end, my photo journey did not go as planned. The forest fires in Saskatchewan filled the air with heavy smoke. On day two when I rode past my car again I dropped all my pro equipment and just rode with a light weight point and shoot.
The MDH for me is an incredibly beautiful and challenging terrain. There is little momentum so it takes quite a bit of horsepower. It’s steeped in history and has the look and feel of the old wild west. One of my favorite things I found this year (you can see below) were the band of shells pushed up from the floor of an ancient lake. There are lots of ticks right now (I had about 10 of them) and the horseflies are fierce. I even ran over a snake this year. I think it was a rattler but I did not go back to check! And while the trail is challenging, it is so energizing for me and that is why I try to make an annual pilgrimage.
I can’t wait to see and hear the stories from my friends that are going to ride it and see it for the first time. I bet each of them comes back with a story or two of great adventure and self discovery. Good luck my friends. Here are a few pics to enjoy and inspire you.