Navigating the Central Lakes Trail for the first time

  Betty the Bike

Betty the Bike

(Editor’s Note: Guest blogger Kristin Goosen is a reporter for The Fergus Falls Daily Journal, one of our Live Wide Open partners, and editor of the Lifestyle section.)

"Go for a bike ride.”

“Why?”

“Because. Go. Now.”

And thus started my trek down the Central Lakes Trail. Betty the Bike and I crossed treacherous Pebble Lake Road, not really sure where we were going, and passed by a couple of other people on afternoon bike rides.

For whatever reason, I didn’t know the Highway 210 underpass existed, but I did feel pretty cool going underneath the road I spend my days driving on.

If you’re ever taking a short ride or walk down the Central Lakes Trail, I highly recommend taking your headphones out because the natural ambiance provides a sort of organic outdoor orchestra of music to listen to. With the smaller bodies of water creating gathering places for all kinds of critters, you can hear the bird songs or the rustling of grasses.

I’m easily distracted, and when I spotted a muskrat swimming around, I parked for a few minutes to observe. The little guy was too far away for my phone’s camera to get a good shot, but take my word for it, he was cute.

I have birdwatcher friends who would have loved to have been on the trail with me, identifying and writing down what they saw with their binoculars.

Pups and their humans were in abundance, much to my delight. Other bikers politely nodded.

I overheard a conversation from some tween bikers, as well. Apparently a young man named Camden has some explaining to do and in my limited and totally unsolicited opinion, his 12-year-old (ballpark guess) girlfriend should try out the single life. On the bright side, she was wearing a helmet, so at least she has safety covered and I’m assuming some sense so she’ll figure it out in good time.

When the open space on either side of you turns to luscious greenery, I couldn’t help but worry about mosquitoes. Luckily, I was cruising and not to be bothered by flying critters. A slight breeze brought in the smell of livestock, but all in all, it was really pleasant.

There’s a good mixture of slight uphill and downhill and some off-roady spots that look like they’d be enjoyable with the right preparation. With plenty of spots to sit and get a scenic view, it seems like a really user friendly trail for a wide variety of purposes.

The trail definitely lived up to the hype for me, if not exceeded it. It gets a solid four stars from me, a person whose opinion on trails should be taken with a grain of salt.

I would most definitely take this route again.

Scott Kiemle