Monday, June 28, 2010
Late Sunday Bushwackin
Several years ago, I set off on an exploration that almost had me thinking I'd be spending the night in the woods. I was looking for a trail that connected 2 drainages over a 10400' ridge. Well, I looked and looked and never found, but ended up hiking over the ridge and down anyway. It was a not so great experience at the time but in the long run ended up being a real character builder.
10 years have passed and after several exploratory missions, I've finally found the trail from the drainage opposite of the one I originally explored. The beauty of it? The one map I have that shows the trail is an official USFS publication. More beauty? Once you locate the trail, it's blazed with blue dots and arrow the entire way. What could be sweeter? It could be cleaned of deadfall for one thing :)
Lee and Dirtydoug and I set off late on a Sunday to poke this thing thru the entire way. We wanted to see just what it would take to make it a little more rideable.
First thing out of the gate and what do we see? Monster Truck. Rawrrrr!
The initial climb is rocky, really rocky. This is one of the most rideable sections but it gets a lot steaper and rockier.
Towards the top of the initial climb, the trail gets really, really faint.
And then it gets really faint.
But you eventually poke around enough to find the blazes and it's well marked from there. Eerily well marked. This strange set of marking shined on us like a beacon.
There were some scary steep rock sections (that I didn't have time to snap pics of - we were riding). Then there were some glimpses of absolute brilliant singletrack.
We had one small handsaw so we stopped periodically to clean up the trail. A few sections weren't saw-able so we made rideovers.
Then it was on to more steep, tech, and overgrown descending.
And even some more. Most parts of this trail were suprisingly rideable.
The rest of the trail was a traverse with a little climbing. A lot of thicker deadfall and some really really really rocky spots ensued. Even rocky for me. We may need to pop a few rocks to make it a little more rideable. And bigger saws. Success though found us, as we finally made it to the jeep road in the other drainage on the other side of the ridge.
It was down and out on the road from there. Great descending in big mountains.
Followed by great views.
All in all the ride was approximately 17 miles and just shy of 3000' of climbing. The figures really belie the magnitude of the ride. With our route finding and trail mods, we were out for about 4 hours. I think we can make this into a 2.5-3 hour loop if we get to work. See you out there!