Bikepacking laughs at the best laid plans. That’s just how it is. At least that’s how it’s been in the half dozen or so trips I’ve been on. Extreme heat, severe weather, closed restaurants, miles of mud, just so many bugs, full campgrounds, also wrong turns. This particular trip had four of the aforementioned inconveniences.
Lake Byllesby Regional Park is 23 miles from the Otso shop in Burnsville, or 40 miles if you plan a route that uses as many gravel roads as possible while remaining somewhat direct. The park itself is on a reservoir on the Cannon River, just east of the town of Cannon Falls. When I was a kid, my Cub Scout troop took yearly trips to the scout camp on the south side of the lake. This part of the state is known for brisk rivers and farm fields that yield to hardwood forests limestone bluffs. Our overnight trip would be my first time returning to the park in 25 years. I was excited.