Ride Report: On the Middle Fork in the Middle of March

Lisa and I rode the Middle Fork Saturday in an effort to purge some early season non-riding weaknesses such as ... non-riding. Being that Ouachita is two weeks away or something it seemed wise to at least see if we could competently ride half of it by running the 'Middle Fork-xc loop' implemented by the Team Seagal troops.

Stats (mfxc loop version):
+31 miles total broken down as / 18.5 singletrack (part I) / 10 miles gravel (part II) / 2.5 miles singletrack (part III - you re-ride the first singletrack segment back to the trailhead)
+ 3,200 ft elevation more or less
+ guaranteed awesome trail or your money back
+ seems to be dry when you assume it would be wet like everything in metro STL
+ your feet will get wet at Barton Fen and thereafter

There is a longer full loop that takes you to the end of the Middle Fork section but I have yet to ride it. That loop would make the mileage top out at 38, the extra 7 evenly split between trail and gravel/road.

There's water running down the first major falls. Camping can be had just across the mini-gorge. It's an interesting geological oddity because the terrain near the creek drainage breaks away revealing the water cut rock and opens into an expansive, but relatively shallow valley.

Closeup of the falls in action. Later in the year it is just a trickle.

Burning sensation: The forestry service is currently burning 4,000 acres in the area and riding through this large patch on the Middle Fork is both alien and awesome at the same time. It's cool to easily see the singletrack flow ahead on the contours.

Another shot of the burned berms.

The Middle Fork section of the Ozark Trail is the newest segment to be built within the last eight years. Since its opening in 2005, the trail has grown close to the hearts of mountain bikers and hikers with terrific views, geological features, creeks and sustainable, lengthy climbs and descents. This trail allows contiguous access to North Trace/South Trace, Council Bluff and the Berryman Trail. You could destroy your bike and body before you rode everything offered at the corner of HWY 32 and DD.

Ride it and love it.

The Middle Fork section is to be renamed in honor of the Ozark Trail Association founder and volunteer, John Roth who passed away far too early, for his dedication to the Ozark Trail. Without his leadership and planning, the Middle Fork section would not have been possible. This section was completed in November of 2005 making the Ozark Trail the longest multi-use trail in Missouri. The Middle Fork section connects with the Trace Creek section just northeast of Highway 32 and runs south to the Karkaghne section at Highway J.

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