Another great weekend in the Pacific Northwest. We headed out to Walker Valley ORV Park in Mt. Vernon, WA for some woods riding on the 2 strokes. At was a great time for all and we ended the night with some great friends around the campfire. Sunday was brunch, a short ride and oil changes in the smokers so we are ready for the projected sun next weekend.
Since we didn’t have a winter this year early mt. riding came sooner than normal. We took the 2-stroke out and explored all the trails we could get to out Mt. Loop Highway. Up green mountain road, down all the side shoots and across the closed bridge. We found everything from sun to hail but any day on the bike is a good day for me.
We also attended the Tanks and Helmets show at Nuemos in Seattle, great art and cool bikes. The burnout was great this year. Stay tuned, more posts and riding to come.
While the northeast has been getting slammed we have had an extremely warm and dry winter, I guess you could say its payback for the Super Bowl. Saturday I headed out early to catch the 8am ferry out of Edmonds to do some riding on the Olympic Peninsula. Trails were fast and empty for the most part, despite the nice day, most people hiking/biking close to town. It was a short day due to some time constraints but it was fun. Sunday Ashley and I slept in way to late with Ham, he is quite the Sunday snoozer. Coffee and Breakfast were made and the afternoon was spent scrubbing the mud from previous weeks off the noble steeds. Next weekend looks wet for now but, Ham is crossing his toes for sun since we are headed to his Frenchie Frolic with his smush face crew at Magnuson Park.
With a sunny day in early March and the bikes out of commission for a few days we set off to check out Goat Lake. Located about 31mi east of Granite Falls out Mt. Loop highway, nestled between Foggy peak and Sloan peak. Approach is fairly level with a slight gain as the wide trail winds into the valley before forking giving you an option on what trail you want to take. We took the upper approach headed in and the lower river walk on the way back. There wasn’t much hiker traffic but more than I expected due to how far out it is. As you approach the lake the trail meets up with Elliot Creek, the outlet to the lake, for some pretty waterfalls.
The lake is very picturesque, as are most of the alpine lake in the region, partially frozen it was very calm. The mass of logs near the outlet makes a great picnic spot to take a load off before you start your decent.
Make sure to keep a lookout for the fork in the trail as it is easy to miss on the way down, I would suggest taking the opposite fork on the way back to get more bang for your buck. While not the hardest hike in the area its very doable with spring unconditioned legs. 1400′ feet in total ascent and 10.5mi in length. Put it out your spring list.
A sunny day in February is hard to come by so we decided to do a little dirt riding. We departed out of the Issaquah Egg and Us and headed east on I90 to Ellensburg to catch section 2 of the Washington Backcountry route. This section holds the nasty rocky section know as Bethel Ridge, what better combination is there than nasty, rocky, hilly, baby head size rocks and huge adventure machines. There isn’t one. We gassed up and headed towards the hills to tame the beast. We were one short of the adventure foursome this weekend due to some domestic duties (family wedding) that Tamara was tending to, she was missed but she probably didn’t miss Ol’ girl Bethel.
All seemed easy breeze for a while, easy rolling hills and great views. After a while of standing and not paying attention to the GPS I noticed we missed a turn and were not on the right road, rookie. We took the opportunity to take a break and get down on some steak strips, dried mangos and valdosta pecans before doing some recalculating. We found a connector road that met up with the trail and pressed on, only to find out its freaking elk migration season and a large locked gate. Whomp Whomp. This gave us the opportunity to head back and ride what we missed on the little “adventure cut”.
Soon after turning back we found what we were looking for on Ol’ lady Bethel, the riding changed drastically from rolling hills to ruts and rocks galore. There were some spills and some big bikes taking small “naps” but we made it out and back to the highway without too much damage, bumps or bruises.
We decided to catch section 3 from Ellensburg to Cashmere to avoid pavement to Leavenworth. All was good till we ran into reality of winter in February in the Pacific Northwest, snow blocking the road and 31°. After frantically donning the heated gear we blasted over Blewett Pass north to find some beer and brats in little Bavaria.
Now for what turned out to be the roughest/stupidest part of the day, tempting fate on two wheels crossing a mountain pass at night in the winter. 45mi of clenching later the temp was rising and we were in the home stretch, a warm shower felt pretty good. 376mi, 14hrs, a few doritos locos, quesoritos, 3 brats and a ton of mud later it was a good pretty good day or riding.