November 16, 2017 Day 1, Summit West and Alpental


Got notice that Silas and Crispin were up at the pass for a ski.  They couldn't get up the Alpental road so they hit Summit West for a few laps.  I hooked up for two laps and Francine came out for a quick work break lap.  After lunch, headed over to Alpental and poked about half way up Lower International.  Snow pretty thick.  Fairly good coverage for skiing.


Silas and Crispin at the top of
PCT quad

Crispin and Geeb head for Lower International



Oct. 22, Sage Hills, Wenatchee

Small dot is Francine?

Want a trail system entirely to yourself?   I think this is the third time we have ridden Sage Hills on a Seahawk Sunday.    We spent the weekend in Chelan with Kevin's parents.   We worked on fine tuning our bridge game as the rain never let up all day Saturday.   Luckily by the time we reached Sage Hills at 3:00 on Sunday, the trails had tacked up nicely.   Always a concern here in the fall, in that one rider riding in too soft conditions can leave a bike tire rut that lasts the season.  Francine had a great ride while Kevin caught the Seahawks dominating the Giants on the car radio.

Francine above the trailhead

Francine on last part of trail

Larry and Pat finish up our morning walk
in Chelan

View from our room.

Oct. 9, Red Mt. trail

What to do with a broken hand?   Take a hike?

Oct. 3, Goat Peak Trail

Goat Peak trail wins again
I had a great ride yesterday cruising around Snoqualmie Pass.  Today, I was itching for something more interesting.  I really wanted to head to Cle Elum, but Vic was having truck issues, and Scott was recovering from his broken collar bone.  I decided to go try Goat Peak.  It's a super narrow trail that sees very little use as it's hard to find the trailhead and, well, it's pretty gnarly.  Lots of tight techy switchbacks.   I have a hard time finding anyone that would want to even bother riding this trail, so seemed not smart, but intereseting to do on my own.  Trail started out in great shape, got narrower, and I made it through the rocky trench, then got to the rock pictured above.  It doesn't look like much in the picture but would have required full commitment to attack, and a slip would have the bike sliding down the rock.  I opted to be safe and started my gingerly slow trip back down the trail.   Unfortunately, I got hung up on one of the downhill switchbacks and fell off the trail, smashing into some small trees.  Luckily the saplings kept my bike from tumbling down the hillside.   A damage assessment showed minor damage to bikes rear turn signal and damage to my left hand.   I took a breather and started to assess how to get my bike back on the trail.   Fortunately I was able to push it uphill about a foot then using dead trees and loose rocks managed to build a ledge under the bike that actually allowed me to ride the machine back up onto the trail.  With a swelling left hand and blood oozing from it's backside soaking into my fox gloves, I got the heck out of there. 

Pretty small crack, but hand definitely affected

Teanaway with Bob

Great ride in the Teanaway.  Due to all the fire closures, trails were in great shape.  A little rain before our ride didn't hurt.

September 24, Pemberton - Nimby Climb to Max/Back Pains

We are keeping with the theme of riding new trails on this trip.  So, we decided to head to Pemberton and ride a bunch of new to us trails.  Rode over the railroad crossing bridge, that didn't seem legal due to the signed warnings, and rode TeePee Trail to start our climb on Happy Trail to a right onto Giv'r to a left to continue climbing on Shama.  Shama levels out at the Waco Connector, where we went right and made our way to the intersection of the Nimby Climb.  We climbed Nimby for a little over 2 miles to the intersection of Max Pains (blue) .  What a wonderful climb.  Definitely less steep than Into the Mystic.  It was narrow, a little rocky, but nothing too rocky.  It had rideable switchbacks and many smooth sections to rest on and even descend.  We enjoyed the climb more than the descent.  Nimby did ascend a little higher from this point, but we descended on Max Pains (blue) to continue descending on Back Pains (blue).  

Here, we went right on Waco Connector to Lower Happy Trail, where Kevin descended Hawaii (black) and Francine continued on to descend on Happy Trail, the trail we climbed up.  Turns out Francine was informed by one of the climbers on Happy Trail, that she was going the wrong direction.  No where on the signs, at either the top or bottom of Happy Trail, was this indicated, but it must be thought that way in the area.

Just under 9 miles.  Nice rest day at 3,080 feet elevation gain.

14,700 total elevation over the little trip.  We woke up to rain on Monday, and after our daily hot tub, we packed up and headed home.  Great trip.

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.