Some say it’s the best stretch of singletrack between Appalachia and the Rockies. IMBA considers it an Epic.
Berryman Trail. 24 miles long. Mark Twain National Forest. 16 miles west of Potosi, MO on state route 8.
Feet, of human and horse nature, and knobby tires are welcomed to traverse the rocky path through the northern Ozarks. I arrived mid-morning local time, greeted by breezes through the pines at the parking area.
The day was to top out around 70 degrees F. No one was in the parking lot, and I had a pleasured smile on my face at the thought of riding in remoteness and possibly not seeing another human.
Clothed, and ready to saddle up.
Pedaling a nice spin through leaf covered trail, not knowing where the rocks and roots were, I knew it was going to be a mentally challenging ride. “Sure, dualie cush will suck up some of the bumps but not all of them,” was in my head. My arms became suspension as well.
The first 8-10 miles clipped off easy enough. A few shaky eroded drops and a box turtle shell of stone or three kept me from turning loose, but I was cruising at a rate to be at Brazil Creek campground, 14.5 mile marker, in about 1.5 hours.
Black arrows set on lime green background showed the way to go. I climbed up a dirt road and came on to a forest road that rolled through pines across the ridgeline. Nothing online talked of a forest road.
2 or so miles later, I decided to turn back. “Berryman is 24 miles of singletrack,” is what I thought.
I found the turn-off of the new re-route, and got back on the original trail cut some 70 years ago.
Epic ride in the making.
I was pissed at the time loss. “Let it go. Gonna be around 28 miles now. Later getting back to Saint Louis. Pedal harder.”
The entire way to Brazil Creek campground was like riding a washed out creek bed strewn with small rocks covered in leaves. The trail was not in good shape, having scene little traffic of late.
9.5 miles to go. I unwrapped an energy bar, knowing I needed some calories, but also knowing that energy bars don’t sit well in my stomach while riding. Still, I chewed it up and swallowed.
“If I puke, I’ll lose hydration.”
Mexico is far away
Peaceful death to you
I decided to hike-a-bike a longer steady incline. I crested out and lo and behold, another biker. He was standing beside a Box Mart bike, school book bag in hand, checking the map in his shorts and t-shirt.
I was pushing my couple thousand dollar bike, and was geared out, complete with French-made sunglasses with the orange lenses in for this ride.
I turned the cranks and eventually arrived back at my car, near 4 hours and change later. Berryman, with all its fallen leaves and rocks, put a beating on me.
A few beers of note from the Gateway City and points “west”:
O’Fallons 5 Day IPA
Trailside Brewing Stout
Boulevard Unfiltered Wheat
If you’re ever in Saint Louis, you might check out The Hill neighborhood, perfect post-ride eating, if not too pricey, but you can regulate it.