Does a Bear Poo in the Woods?
Sure. But why not use the smooth, warm pavement of the Gitchi-Gami State Trail every now and again?
Being a bike fanatic, I drove 50 miles to ride 2.5 miles of the newly completed section between Silver Bay and Beaver Bay and yes, the drive was worth it! This particular section offers options for anyone with a mountain or cyclocross bike. While mostly downhill, the newest section has gorgeous scenery (Lake Superior on one side; jagged rock outcroppings and woods on the other). It also presents some educational information about the area and its mining heritage. Most of the property is owned by North Shore Mining and is marked as such, so riders need to be respectful and stay on the trail.
I was greeted twice by gorgeous healthy looking deer which stood just 10 feet from me and grazed on the lush vegetation just off the trail. Neither seemed too bothered by my presence but I maintained my distance.
The paved trail ends at West Road, where you take a right onto the dirt road and proceed downhill to Highway 61–slowly, because you adjoin the highway, not a separate bike trail, and traffic moves swiftly. This is where the very picturesque Beaver Creek runs under the highway. It is also a great opportunity to grab a meal in Beaver Bay at Lemon Wolf Café. If you’re returning to Silver Bay via the same route, keep in mind it’s mostly uphill, but at a reasonable grade.
This area of the North Shore has many well established ATV/Snowmobile trails that are suitable for a mountain bike, or even a cyclocross bike. When I finished the Gitchi-Gami section, I explored a bit by heading north on the ATV/Snowmobile trail that heads into the wilderness above Silver Bay. Wow! A gal could ride for hours while surrounded by spectacular scenery.
I didn’t notice bear scat on the ATV/Snowmobile trail, which leads me back to my opening question. And the answer is yes, the smooth warm pavement offers an excellent spot for a bear to do his business. Seeing scat on the Gitchi-Gami trail is a gentle reminder that I am a visitor in these wild places and to see sign of their presence is always thrilling and interesting. Indications are the blueberry crop is robust this year.