September 23, Whistler - Dark Crystal trail

We wanted a short ride today, as yesterday was a big day with over 6700 feet of climbing.

Blackcomb just legalized Dark Crystal, a user-built trail, the day before, on Friday, 9/22/17.  The builders claimed they were trying to build a mellower trail where you don't have to be on the brakes continually and to have more flowy sections.  It sounded like something Francine could handle.  So, we made our way up the road on Blackcomb mountain, to the base of the Crystal Chairlift.  We had never biked that high up the mountain.

Base of the Crystal Express Chairlift

 We had lots of company on climb up the hill.  We took the trails Out of the Dust and Microclimate Access to bypass parts of the road climb.

The descent on Dark Crystal was a little sporty, and a bit above Francine's ability level, and she did a fair amount of walking.  Kevin was able to ride most everything.  The roots were a little more slippery than yesterday, and definitely had some steeper sections than yesterday.
First rock slab on Dark Crystal

Kevin - much steeper than it looks

How nice to have a flat section

One of the many, many, times Francine chose to walk

When Dark Crystal ended, and dropped out on the Blackcomb access road, we split up.  Kevin went down a trail towards the bottom, and Francine took an easier way, that eventually followed Kevin's route down to the Blackcomb base area.  Francine broke two spokes, probably yesterday on the descent, and we headed off to Whistler to get some nipples so Kevin could fix her wheel and get it back in true.

Kevin was quite happy that Francine insisted on such a technical trail.

2700 feet and 11 miles.

September 22, Whistler - Into the Mystic and LOTS (Lord of The Squirrels)

Gorgeous up high in the alpine

Whew, what a day.  After being woken up by the room below us last night at 2:30 with music and partying voices, and calling the front desk twice to visit their room to get them to quiet down, we slept in till 8am.  That got us out the door a little late to head to Whistler.  Traffic was a breeze, compared to yesterday.  Parked at Function Junction and started the serious grunt up the Rainbow Sproat-Flank Trail (Westside) to a serious climb on Don't Look Up to Into the Mystic.  Into the Mystic is a new climbing trail that starts at 3255 feet and climbs to 5,377 feet in 5 miles.  We started in Function Junction, at elevation of 1947 feet.  We basically grunted and hike-a-biked up to the start of Into the Mystic.  I would expect to see some new climbing trails being built, that will take some of the punch out of the climb to the start of Into the Mystic.

Into the Mystic is a georgeous climb up Sproatt Mountain.  It is machine built, and sometimes on an old road, but it will take no time for the vegetation to grow and seriously narrow the trail.  The dirt was perfect.  I can't imagine how dry it was before the rain.  The scenery was great and it was an amazing climb with many steep punches.

At the top of Into the Mystic, we still had to climb on On The Rocks Trail, which climbs to 5883 feet, before  a fun descent down to Lord of the Squirrels trail (LOTS).  On The Rocks Trail only climbed 500 feet, but after all the climbing we had done, it sure took a toll on the legs.

At the intersection of (LOTS) and Happy Hour, we were kind of toast, and skipped the out and back on Happy Hour Trail up to the tower.  We were told there were about 25 bikers at the tower/lookout.  I guess going to the top of Happy Hour Trail would be riding the complete route, which it looks like we didn't do.

Lord of the Squirrels (LOTS) was definitely a Blue trail, by Whistler standards, maybe a dark Blue.  Thank goodness for the rain.  I can't imagine how beat up, dusty and harder the trail would have been during this dry summer.  The whole loop only officially opened on August 4, 2017 of this year, and the paper said 4,000 bikers rode it in the first 6 weeks of opening.  It is definitely a bucket list ride when you come to Whistler.  Kevin pretty much rode everything, as it is a Blue trail, by Whistler standards.  Francine had many sections to walk, but rode tons more sections that last year, when we hike-a-biked up LOTS, and then rode back down.  Last year, it was raw, new, soft, loose and did we say new?

We were pretty worked when we finished LOTS and popped out on a flat spot, like an old dirt road.  Here we went left, and continued right, down on Into The Mystic to the Rainbow-Sproatt Flank Trail. We continued down, passing Pura Vida (black trail) on the left to a new trail that must be bypassing a steep section of the Rainbrow-Sproatt Flank Trail.  When we hit Industrial Waste Trail (blue) intersection, Kevin went left to take that to Danimal Middle to Lower Sproatt to Piece of Cake to Lower Sproatt to Westside Power Lines to Alta Lake Road to Millar Creek to Function Junction and the car, where Francine was waiting for only about 5-10 minutes.  Turns out his route was all downhill, and a better way than the painful waste of elevation Francine took retracing our steps down the Rainbow-Sproatt Flank Trail ( Westside) to Function Junction.  Now we know, and it looks like Kevin's route is common on Trailforks.

6714 elevation gain in 17 miles.

Rest stop climbing Into the Mystic

Black Tusk

Kevin - On the Rocks Trail

Blackcomb in the distance across the valley

Francine - descending on Lord of the Squirrels (LOTS)

Kevin - descending Lord of the Squirrels (LOTS)

September 21, Squamish - Alice Lake

Today we had the worst traffic we've every had, in Vancouver, driving to Squamish.  There was an accident at the Port Mann bridge (before North Vancouver), leaving only one lane.   At the last exit before the bridge, we decided to get off and have lunch.  Not sure that was a good idea.  After having bento boxes at Hiro Sushi (on Hastings Street), we found it almost impossible to get back on the highway.  Since traffic was not moving, literally, we continued on Hastings to downtown Vancouver to take the Capilano bridge.  Evidently, there was some police incident here, and traffic there was not moving either.  We left our house at 8am, and got into Squamish at 3pm.  Whew.  At least we got early check-in to our room at the Executive Suites in Squamish.

We were planning on doing a route we have done before, including a new trail, Leave of Absense.  Rode our bikes from the unit to Coho Park Trial to Trestle Trail to Jack's trail.  Up 50 Shades of Green and up 50 Shades of Green Part 2, to Of Mice and Men, to its intersection with Leave of Absence.

  After a short climb, we descended on a new trail, Leave of Absence.  Trail conditions were superb with all the rain the last few days.  They did an amazing job on Leave of Absence.  Of course, Kevin could ride all the Blue sections.  Francine walked a couple of times.  Then we made our way to Roller Coaster, which was super fun today.  The last time in Squamish, Roller Coaster was all dry, dusty, and blown out.  The berms were all soft, and not as fun as today.  Plus it was hot that day, and we were more tired.

Francine on Leave of Absence

After Roller Coaster put us out on Perth Drive, we crossed and continued on Lumberjacks to a left on Lumberjacks Connector to Glenn's Carwash to Access Connector to descend on Seven Up.  Seven Up put us on the Coho Park trail, and we made our way back out of the woods and to the unit.  12 miles, 2200 feet elevation.

September 17, Sage Hills - Wenatchee

Had a nice night at The Comfort Suites.  The hotel is relatively new and modern, with  a great breakfast.  We wanted to ride some new trail up by Mission Ridge, but it was 38 degrees up there, so we opted for Sage Hills, just up the hill from Walmart.  We wanted to ride a  couple new trails, Balsamroot, that was built last year, which starts at the bottom of Horselake Road, and Glacier View, Trail which is higher up.  We grunted up Balsamroot thru high weeds that were slightly annoying.

Francine taking a break on Balsamroot Trail

Climbing Balsamroot trail

More Balsamroot Trail
Then we hit Maiden Lane trail up to The Gut.  Up Little Moab to The Foothills Trail to its intersection with Homestead Trail.

We climbed up Homestad to Apricot Crisp and Upper Apricot Crisp.  Made our way up to Clouds, which has 3 steep uphills and three downhills, where we finally end up bushwacking to the the intersection of Lightning Trail.  Normally, we complete the loop by descending Lightning back into the Sage Hills system, but we wanted to check out the new Glacier Trail, so we continued on our loop going left on Lightning back to Apricot Crisp, where we then retraced our tracks to the start of Glacier View Trail.  The weeds and grass on Apricot Crisp were super high.  At times, you could barely tell there was a trail.

High weeds retracing our path on Apricot Crisp Trail

Apricot Crisp Trail
Glacier View was a fun descent.  It put us on the road that descends to the farmhouse, which is kind of a waste of elevation.  We took the road back to the upper Horsehead Parking Lot to take Foothills trail over to the bottom of Homestead trail and retraced our steps to the car.  Fun day.  21 miles and over 4000 feet of elevation.

September 16, Freund Canyon, Leavenworth

After a lazy morning, we made our way to Leavenworth to ride Freund Canyon.  We wanted to check out the New Uphill Trail out of the Ski Hill.  Considering that the trail was brand new this year, and there hadn't been much rain over the summer, the new trail was in excellent condition.  We didn't realize that the New Uphill Trail didn't go to the top of Freund Canyon/Rosy Boa.  It climbed briskly for 2 miles, and contoured over to intersect with Rosy Boa trail.  We opted to skip Rosy Boa, which is more technical than Freund, with concerns about dust and loose trail conditions.

Francine on Freund Canyon Trail

More Freund Canyon Trail

We continued just past Rosy Boa to Freund Canyon.  Freund was in great shape.  They reworked it last season after the trail had been used for logging.  We descended, and then made a right turn onto For The Boys Trail, which took us to the car.  Short but sweet day.  Then we had lunch at The Sleeping Lady, before heading to Wenatchee to stay the night.  6 miles 2,700 feet.

August 11, Tiger - New trail Inside Passage and Legend

Francine on Inside Passage, Tiger Mt. Washington
 More new trails.  What a great time to be a mountain biker in the Issaquah area.   The new Inside Passage trail opened last week at Tiger, so we went to check it out.  Awesome, it is a great new trail.  Nice flow that is not too tech or too bermy, just right.   Makes for some great loop options.   We started with an old loop, out the road, then back to lot on Iverson, then up Missing Link to its intersection with the new Inside Passage, to Joyride, Nothwest, Easy Tiger to Legend and back up Easy Tiger.  This was our first time on Legend and that was a lot of fun as well.   Hand built single diamond downhill with an easy climb back up to Northwest Timber.  

Francine and Scott take a break on new bridge
 for Inside Passage trail

August 4, New Bike Trail - Olallie

The bike club, Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance has been super busy the last few year building trails.  We rode Raging River, a new system last month.  Now they have opened the first 6 miles on the Olallie network out of Rattlesnake Lake in North Bend.  We are super excited to have these big options so close to home.  Even though it was Friday, which meant with dealing with eastbound I-90 traffic after our ride, we left the Pass for North Bend.

Kev at the first viewpoint
Francine with Mt Washington in background

Rest - road turned to trail.  They did a nice job
They did an amazing job on this trail.  Even the road-to-trail section rides real nice.  It won't be long before that turns  more trail like.  We rode past the Mount Washington trail intersection, out to the sign for the Change Creek/Mt Washington sign and the camp for the trail builders.  We turned around here, at about 9.6 miles from the car (including the 2 miles from car and John Wayne Trail).  The descent on the road-to-trail section is a little steep for sustainability, but was super fun.  Then we hit the 4 miles of machine-built trail, which was great.  It was actually fantastic.

We are so excited for the extension of this trail system, which is supposed to go as far as Hansen Ridge (near exit 47).  You do feel like you are out there riding in the woods, even if I-90 is just below you on the left, and you can hear it.  I'm just appreciative of the opportunity to have some longer ride options so close to home.

The 4 miles of new descent trail were super flowy and awesome to descend on.  After we hit the John Wayne trail, we rode about a mile towards the car, and turned off, to the right into the Boxley Creek trails, and took single track back towards the car.  Super fun day.  Trailforks says 4800 of elevation.  Kevin's phone died on the ride, and it showed 4200 feet of elevation, and we were still kept climbing after that.  20 mile day.

August 2, Waterskiing with Rick

Rick wanted to get out on the boat.  We met him in the morning.  The water on Lake Washington was real nice.  It was supposed to be in the high 90's today, but we think the smoke from the BC Fires put a haze on the sun, keeping the temps down a few degrees.




July 30, Tiger Mountain

Greg had the day off, and hadn't been to Tiger yet.  We climbed Master Link to Quick Link to the top.  This is the first time Francine has made it to the very top, without walking and without a rest where East Summit trail crosses the road.  Greg put on a smaller front chain ring than he had in Hood River, and said that helped a lot on the steep climbs we have here in Washington.  He still doesn't have the easy gearing that we have.  Kevin has an easier gear that Francine.  What up?

Kevin, Francine and Greg at the top
Greg on Preston R R trail

After catching our breath at the top, we descended East Tiger Summit trail to cross the road.  At the next intersection with OTG (Off the Grid), we went left to descend on Preston Railroad Grade trail.  We hadn't been on that for a couple of years.  We took that to Bail Out-PBR to the road.  Climbed the road to the top of Fully Rigid.  Descended Fully Rigid to Joy Ride to Northwest Timber Trail.  Greg has only been mountain biking two years, and pretty much rode everything on Fully Rigid, except The Notch.  He says that lots of his road-biking friends were converting to mountain biking last year.  Since then a few of them have reconsidered, saying that mountain biking is too dangerous.  We are glad he is still finding it fun.

July 25-28, Lake Chelan

Pat and Larry have their time in Lake Chelan Shores, as they have 7 weeks.  We are sneaking over there on Kevin's 4 day.  They have two weeks in a row this time.

Got there on Tuesday, about 12:30pm with an easy drive.  Had lunch at the unit, and plopped ourselves at the lake, in the shade, under our usual tree.

Wednesday, July 28, we went Mountain Biking up at Echo Ridge.  The trails up there are getting better and better.  They are letting the road bed that most of the trails are on turn to single track.  They used to drive and mow the entire path, which kept the road double track.  Tim's, the resort at the bottom of the road, is selling, and you can't park at the corner, where the pavement turns to dirt anymore.  So, we headed out about 1/2 mile on Cooper Gulch Road and parked at a small pullout.

There happened to also be a trail at the pullout, so we headed up that.  It dropped in behind Tim's Resort/Cabins and the ski area, and came out at the start of the climb, Switchback Alley.  Up we went, going right when we hit The Shoe, as we wanted to check out the new trail Divine Intervention.  It was built as a downhill, but it made a nice climb up to an old road turned single track.  Went left here, and coasted generally downhill to the lower parking lot.  Took Lot-to-Lot to the upper parking lot for a rest.  Next, we took Upsy-Daisy to descend on Zippity-Do-Dah.  Both these trails were fun and singletrack.  Zippity drops up off at Chaos Corner.  Here we went left on the road for 1/4 mile to an unmarked singletrack along the fence.  We think they will be building trails out in this section of the property.  The path went for about 1/2 mile before ending at Alley Oop.

Francine climbing The Shoe 

Climbing Divine Intervention

There used to be another trail that continued on, but it might have been on private property, as the owner moved his fenceline this year, and the start of the trail is now on his property.
Francine riding thru the burn from a couple years ago on Dust To Glory

Francine on Waterbar Heaven

Here we went right on Alley Oop back to Chaos Corner.  Rolled up and down on Windsinger (which is much easier than Nuthatch - a road) to Grand Junction.  Climbed Morning Glory to High Five Junction.  Went right down Far East to Dust to Glory out to the North Junction.  Here we took our final descent down Waterbar Heaven to finish at Tim's Resort. They have been working on Waterbar Heaven, and time, has also turned it into a funner singletrack descent.  Finished with the 1/2 mile slight uphill on Cooper Ridge Road to the car.  15 fun miles.

Thursday, we opted out of biking.  Went to town and the museum and hung out at the lake.  Did we say is was hot?  97 degrees today.  The wind finally picked up in the afternoon, and Kevin made it out on his windsurfer.  We had calm weather on Tuesday and Wednesday.  Did we say that the lake is warm also?  Not sure how warm it will get in August.  A little unnerving for the lake to be so warm.
Kev out front of Lake Chelan Shores

Friday, our last day.  We headed up to Echo Ridge again to bike.  This time we parked on the paved road, at Switchback Alley (3000 feet).  Climbed that using our same ascent as Tuesday, ending at the upper parking lot.  Our plan was to ride Outback and Mallory's trail to the top, at 4324 feet.  Headed out No-Where to Hide, a doubletrack, to Spaghetti Junction.  Went right on road 8010 shortly to a left onto Little Critter to T-Bone dropping us out at North Junction.  Instead of descending Waterbar Heaven, we climbed Outback on the new sweet climbing trail.  Went right on the Outback loop and climbed to the top on Mallory's trail.  Nice new climbing trail.

Francine - Outback trail counter clockwise

Kevin at top of  Mallory's Trail at top of Outback Mountain

Francine signing journal at top of Outback Mountain
Francine descending Mallory's Trail

View of Lake Chelan 

Descending the only rocky section of Mallory's Trail

After finishing the Outback loop and returning to North Junction, we climbed Lickety Split to Big Critter to climb Far East, so we could descend on Morning Glory.  Went right onto Upsy-Daisy descended Lot-toLot to Divine Intervention to The Shoe and final descent on Switchback Alley.  Fun day.  19 miles.  The Trailforks app said 5,000 feet of climbing today, but we don't believe it.