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  Flooded Katy Trail in Missouri © Dick Gabriel
Part of the Katy Trail in Missouri, under several feet of water after the Missouri River
flooded last summer
.


Frosted Mickelson Trail in South Dakota © Susan McGregor
Susan McGregor braved a lightly frosted, and bitterly cold, Mickelson Trail in October 2006.



Tell Us ...
Have you ever traveled on a rail-trail in another country? Tell us about your adventures abroad! Or if you haven't made it to a faraway trail destination yet, are there any international rides or hikes you have on your radar? Share your stories with Karl at karl@railstotrails.org.

With all e-mails and photos, please include where you currently live as well any caption info. All photos submitted to Rails-to-Trails Conservancy may be used in any and all organizational materials.
 
Extreme Weather? No Problem

In April, we asked you to tell us about the worst weather you've ever experienced while out on a rail-trail. Judging from the many responses we received, very little deters rail-trail lovers. Not biting cold, driving rain and lightning, tropical storms, flooding or even frogs on a trail can dampen determined plans to get outside on the trail.


Dick Gabriel — Marietta, Ga.
Last summer my wife and I rode the entire 225 miles of the Katy Trail State Park from St. Louis to Clinton, Mo.or at least that was our plan! But the remnants of two hurricanes altered our plans, due to the flooding of the Missouri River, causing many sections of the trail to be underwater. But it is a long way from Georgia to Missouri, plus we are "purists,"so we were not about the skip even one mile of the trail.

That resulted in a lot of extra days and money to pay for shuttles around flooded areas and to return to the missed sections after the water receded. We ended up riding about 300 miles, a result of having to ride some missed sections roundtrip. Other then the pouring rains on the first day, the weather for the rest of the trip was gorgeous.

It was a wonderful trip, and we are headed back next week to ride a few sections again!

Susan McGregor and Pete Naseth — Denver, Colo.
The worst weather on a rail-trail, eh? Well, there was the time it rained all day on the Mickelson Trail in June 2003, or when we found out what real rain is on the Great Allegheny Passage in May 2007, the oppressive heat and humidity on the Katy Trail State Park in June 2005, and the gale-force wind and heat on the Cowboy Trail in September of the same year. But far and away the worst weather we ever cycled in was in October 2006 when we cycled from Deadwood, S.D., on the Mickelson Trail, then cut over to the Cowboy Trail at Chadron, Neb., and followed that to Valentine. I've attached some photos just to give you an inkling of how cold it was (see above).  

It was around 20 degrees and snowing lightly when we left Deadwood on October 15, but the forecast was for only light snow, so we thought we could handle it. We did, but we were so cold by the time we got to the Moonshine Gulch Saloon in Rochford that we didn't want to leave. The next couple of days were better, but those were followed by more snow and cold starting in Chadron and lasting until Day 9, when we finally had good weather for our last day, heading into Valentine. On Day 8, we walked into the Sand Cafe in Merriman, Neb., where a throng of locals were breakfasting. One rancher who appeared to be in his 70s looked us over and exclaimed, "Are you CRAZY?!" Could be.
Still, a bad day on a rail-trail beats just about any other day

Bill and Charlotte Adams — Fort Wayne, Ind.
About four years ago my wife and I biked on the rail-trail that runs through a canyon beside Interstate 70 and a river in Colorado. This was in September. The ride began with temperatures in the 70s, but a storm came up on us and the temperature dropped into the 30s with high winds and rain that changed to snow. We both were dressed for warmer weather, and by the time we got back to our vehicle we were soaking wet and freezing. The wind gusts were so high I had to hold my handle bars pretty hard because I thought I might get blown into the river. I was walking my bike to the car when I passed a mailman who, upon seeing me, thought I was tired from the ride. By this time the wind had died down and the snow had stopped. I don't think he realized what we had just been through.

Matthew Newman — Braintree, Mass. 
A number of years ago, I rode the bike trail in Amherst, Mass., on a very rainy day. There are a few spots that are very low, and with all the rain the only place that was high and dry was the trail. In places it was occupied by huge frogs, so it turned out to be me and the frogs in the rain.

Ron Shultz — Marion, Ohio
Several years ago I was on the Richland B&O Trail in Ohio and the ranger came by in a golf cart and advised us that a heavy thunderstorm with lightning was coming. He advised to get off the trail ASAP. We were on our way back to the parking area when we got hit with high wind and rain. Got to the car just as the lightning was starting. We had never met a ranger on this trail before, so it's nice to know that there are some trails that have someone looking out for users.


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