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Saturday, August 24, 2013 – Mountain Biking
This was our second time riding the Crystal Mountain Trail #1163, to the top of the Crystal Mountain ski resort.
The first time we rode there was July 31, 2010. That was one of those picture-perfect days! The views of Mt Rainier are not to be missed!
Despite having a summer strung together with days and days of clear skies, the weather on this particular Saturday was not so cooperative. It was raining when we left the house. At the trailhead it was dry, but cloudy. We saw initial glimmers of blue sky as we climbed the forest, but by the time we arrived at the top, the fog was thick! And, Brrrr!!– it was not warm! Our fingers got cold on the descent.
We drive here via Enumclaw, WA and Hwy 410 (Chinook Pass Hwy), which follows the White River. Turn off Hwy 410 at Rd #7190 (Crystal Mountain Blvd) and find the trailhead for Crystal Mountain Trail #1163 adjacent to Sand Flat Horse Camp. It is located about 2 miles short of the the ski resort itself.
This trip is a relatively short, “out-and-back” ride for us. We turn around at the top of the Mt Rainier Gondola/Summit House. Note that Trail #1163 does continue down from that highpoint (6872 ft) to intersect with other trails.
In a nutshell, this trail simply goes up and up and up for about 3000 ft. Consider this climb “interval training” because you won’t stay in your Zone 2. The tread is basically smooth, with some sections of jagged rocks (not too many) and some sandy patches. It’s quite rideable throughout. The descent is screamin’ fast!
CLIMBING THE FOREST–> Switchbacks through trees and open slide paths of huckleberry bushes.
CLIMBING CRYSTAL MOUNTAIN RIDGE–> At times, the trail hugs a steep sidehill. It’s not too “airy,” but you do need to focus in couple places. The trail up the ridge also traverses a wide wildflower meadow.
From the ridge, the BIG view is Mt Rainier. The White River is quite impressive as well.
ENTERING THE CRYSTAL MOUNTAIN SKI AREA–> Singletrack trail is replaced by a rocky road on the final uphill traverse to the top of the Mt Rainier Gondola and Summit House.
THE TOP–> Views of fog!
Here is a link to the Crystal Mountain Summer Map. Note that this map calls the north section of the Crystal Mountain Trail #1163, “Northway Trail.”
TRIP STATS: (Using the Bike Tracks App for iPhone)
- Total Distance = 11.6 miles
- Total Vertical = 5991 ft (climb 3053 ft, descend 2938 ft)
- Elevation = 6849 ft highest, 3818 ft lowest
- Time = 3 hrs, 39 min (start 11:10 AM, finish 2:46 PM)
FOOD CONSUMED ON TRAIL:
- Water + 1 SaltStick
- We didn’t even eat one huckleberry although the bushes were packed!
Saturday, July 27, 2013 – Mountain Biking
We actually planned to ride here last year, but the trails were temporarily closed on the day we picked (due to forest fires in the area.) We rode Alder Ridge trail instead. (Check out the trip report here. It includes images of the fires and a map showing where Minnow Ridge/Chikamin Tie is.)
This time we were good to go. Our friend joined us and even purchased the après ride beverages!
Minnow Ridge Trail #1524 and Chikamin Tie Trail #1561 are located near Lake Wenatchee, WA.
To get here, turn off Highway 2 onto Highway 207, then take the Chiwawa River Road. After passing the trailhead for Alder Ridge, turn onto road #6210.
In less than half mile, the trailhead for Chikamin Tie is on the right. (Road #6210 continues for several miles. Minnow Ridge trail basically parallels the road. Eventually, we crossed the road’s end to access the upper segment of the Chikamin Tie trail.)
The trailhead for Minnow Ridge Trail #1524 is also the trailhead for Chikamin Creek Trail #1534. We did not take that trail, but we talked to 2 motorcyclists who did. They said it has plenty of exposure (no, thanks!), as it contours a steep side hill– but it does offer a loop option for those interested.
Our trip was an “out and back.” Let’s begin!
Minnow Ridge Trail #1524 starts at 2600 ft. After 3.5 miles and 900 ft net elevation gain of rolling ups and downs, you come to the intersection with Minnow Creek Trail #1539.
From the intersection, the last 2.3 miles of Minnow Ridge Trail continues up and down to meet up with Chikamin Creek. (The upper end of the Chikamin Creek Trail #1534 is located here.)
This marks the start of Chikamin Tie Trail #1561. No more ups and down. The trail climbs steadily another 900 ft in 2 miles while it parallels the creek.
After being in shady forest all morning, we popped into the open sun to cross Road #6210 on our final climb above Chikamin Ridge.
Here’s where we talked to the 2 motorcyclists. One ended up being a WA State Representative from the 12th District, Cary Condotta (R – East Wenatchee). I took his picture as he started up the upper Chikamin Tie trail.
From here, I started feeling really strong.
It wasn’t because of sleep, because I slept like crap the night before. Maybe it was my “power breakfast” of a green smoothie (with avocado), non-dairy milk latte, and a spoon of peanut butter.
What I started thinking about, though, was an Endurance Planet podcast I heard this week (the episode with Dr. Jason Karp, co-author of Running For Women). In the podcast, I learned that a woman’s athletic performance can be best during the follicular phase of the menstrual cycle- in particular, when estrogen levels reach their peak.
I should be near that peak. Estrogen power!? Could it be? I was leaving the boys behind!
Before crossing a couple granite boulder fields, the trail surface became a bit rutted by motorcycle tires. It wasn’t really that bad, though (for me). It does require good core strength and bike handling to keep the front tire tracking straight.
The granite did require walking the bikes. That was the only real section of “hike-a-bike” during the whole trip.
Above Chikamin Ridge, the upper Chikamin Tie Trail ended after 4.1 miles at a 3-way intersection (6200 ft).
We were hoping for a spectacular view once we climbed above Chikamin Ridge, but we didn’t get it at the intersection. We’d basically arrived at our turnaround point, but now we were on a quest for views.
We continued onto Pond Camp Tie Trail #1409.2 toward a highpoint on the map at 6500 ft. (After that, the trail would drop down to Pond Meadow.)
Here are the views we got. Okay, but anticlimactic…
The best was yet to come. The ride back to the car!
While screaming down the trail on the descent, I unofficially named both segments of the Minnow Ridge Trail “Superfun Forest.” The forest floor is basically smooth, with not too many of those switchbacks with the pesky waffle-pattern cement blocks (for the motorcycles.)
This trip is definitely one to repeat. I’d also like to explore a little further, toward Mad Lake/Meadow. This will require getting an earlier start.
The beer at the car really hit the spot. Good times!
TRIP STATS: (Using the Bike Tracks App for iPhone)
- Total Distance = 24.9 miles
- Total Vertical = 9349 ft (climb 4627 ft, descend 4722 ft)
- Elevation = 6462 ft highest, 2536 ft lowest
- Time = 8 hrs, 7 min (start 9:45 AM, finish 5:45 PM)
FOOD CONSUMED ON TRAIL:
Friday July 5, 2013
For this mountain bike trip, we started from Wenatchee, WA and drove south on Hwy 97 (Blewett Hwy) for about 45 minutes. We turned onto Iron Creek Road #9714, located south of Swauk Pass and the old Blewett Pass Road #9715. The trailhead for Iron Cr/Bear Cr Trail #1351 is at the end of Iron Creek Road.
Our final destination for the day was the 6000 ft pass between Earl Peak and Navaho Peak, where you are treated to views of the Stuart Range.
TRIP SEGMENTS: (This trip is an “out & back”)
- Iron Creek portion of Iron Cr/Bear Cr Trail #1351, to the junction with Teanaway Ridge Trail #1364 (1.8 miles)
- Bear Creek portion of Iron Cr/Bear Cr Trail, to Stafford Creek Road #9713 (3.5 miles)
- Stafford Creek Rd to Stafford Creek Trail #1359 (about 1 mile)
- Stafford Creek Trail to the junction with Standup Creek Trail #1369 (4.8 miles)
- Continue on Stafford Cr Trail to the pass (1.2 miles)
- Reverse order back to the car (~12.3 miles)
SEGMENT 1 – Iron Creek portion of Iron Cr/Bear Cr Trail
From the trailhead, at 8:00 AM, we were surprised to notice that it was only about 33 degrees Fahrenheit. But, I was able to start out in just my short-sleeved shirt because it warmed up fast.
The 1.8 mile Iron Creek portion of the Iron Cr/Bear Cr Trail is an easy climb on smooth ground. It starts at 3800 ft and ends at 4400 ft. For the most part, the trail hugs a somewhat steep sidehill. In one place you definitely don’t want to fall off the side. The trail is wide, so you’d have to really screw up big to get into trouble.
SEGMENT 2 - Bear Creek portion of Iron Cr/Bear Cr Trail, to Stafford Creek Rd
From the 4400 ft saddle, the Bear Creek portion of Iron Cr/Bear Cr Trail is all downhill. The first half mile is pretty steep, but rideable. I counted about 9 little creek crossings as we screamed the rest of the way down to the Stafford Creek Rd, at 3200 ft. This was 1200 ft of grinnin’ good fun!
SEGMENT 3 - Stafford Creek Rd to Stafford Creek Trail #1359 (about 1 mile)
This is a short section of road connecting the 2 trailheads. It’s a descent of about 100 ft in a little under a mile.
SEGMENT 4 – Stafford Creek Trail to the junction with Standup Creek Trail #1369
The Stafford Creek Trail starts at 3100 ft. The trail surface is quite varied as it parallels Stafford Creek. First, it’s nice and smooth. Later…it’s not so nice and rocky. It’s a real mixed bag of riding and pushing. In general, the higher up, the rockier it gets. This section of trail is 4.8 miles long and ends at 5000 ft near a wide meadow/camp.
SEGMENT 5 – Continue on Stafford Cr Trail to the pass
Another 1000 ft is gained in 1.2 miles to culminate at a 6000 ft pass. We were glad to get a break from pushing and get back to pedaling! The desolate Serpentinite landscape seemed out of place, and the surface was hard and gritty.
The views at the top were worth the effort to get there. Mt Stuart (9415 ft) is the 7th highest peak in WA.
SEGMENT 6 - Reverse order back to the car
Fortunately, we were able to ride down much of the rocky terrain that we had to push our bikes up. Yay!
On very loose rock, you can’t go too slow or else every rock will try to throw you. There’s a very fine ‘sweet spot.’ It’s actually kind of fun…in a weird, slightly out-of-control way!
Of course, the real fun began once we got below the upper rockier slopes and back onto the smooth trail. This is what it’s all about!
Eric got a flat tire partway down the Stafford Creek Trail. While he fixed the flat, I had the opportunity to watch a butterfly go from one Tiger Lily to the next.
Once we descended Stafford Creek Trail, we had a pleasant climb back up to Teanaway Ridge. Before getting to the top, we had to get off our bikes one more time, to walk the ~1/2 mile extra steep section that I mentioned earlier. A shot of caffeine helped get me through the last push with extra energy to spare!
Here’s the Iron Creek Valley. Almost back to the car…
Would I repeat this trip?
TRIP STATS: (Using the Bike Tracks App for iPhone)
- Total Distance = 24.1 miles
- Total Vertical = 10,543 ft (climb 5321 ft, descend 5223 ft)
- Elevation = 6003 ft highest, 2938 ft lowest
- Time = 9 hr, 22 min (start 8:00 AM, finish 5:20 PM)
- Eric had to change his flat rear tire at 2:45 PM during the descent.
- Green Trails Mount Stuart, WA – No. 209
- Green Trails Liberty, WA – No. 210
June 29-30, 2013
This weekend, we loaded up our “old school” bikes and headed for the beaches of Ocean Shores, WA to visit Eric’s parents. Lucky us- they have a home just minutes from the ocean.
Eric’s dad turned the big 8-0 on Saturday. Happy Birthday, Darrel!
Once we arrived, we were eager to get down to the sand.
Eric got busy pulling various toys out of Darrel’s storage shed…
Meanwhile, I walked the beach…
Notice the mother-in-law theme here:
- Eric rode a Bianchi bike that came from his mother-in-law (my mom).
- Darrel rides an old Raleigh Colt that belonged to his mother-in-law (Eric’s grandma).
We stopped along the way to enjoy the views.
(Not every summer day at Ocean Shores is quite this perfect! It can be quite cold and foggy.)
I didn’t ride my mother-in-law’s bike. I rode the blue Schwinn beach cruiser that we found several years ago at a thrift store for $14.99.
My back was in perfect comfort, but the seat felt so bulky that it was like I had a big diaper between my legs. HA!
Finally– no vegan blog post would be complete without some vegan food. I worked up an appetite!
Here’s the GF (Gluten Free) Power Plate that I had from the Veggie Grill on the way home.
Sunday June 16, 2013 – Port Gamble Trails
Today we drove to Edmonds, parked the car, and rode our mountain bikes to the Edmonds ferry terminal. For each passenger + bicycle the cost was $8.70 to ride the ferry over to Kingston. Cyclists are special…they get to load first!
Why were we smiling? Because the purpose of our trip was to do some exploring on the Kitsap Peninsula. Eric wanted to check out the Port Gamble Trails.
To get to the trail system, we rode ~8.5 miles on roads (mostly uphill):
- Kingston ferry terminal to NE West Kingston Rd
- NE West Kingston Rd to Miller Bay Rd NE
- Miller Bay Rd NE to NE Gunderson Rd
- NE Gunderson Rd, across Bond Rd NE (Hwy 307) to Stottlemeyer Rd NE
- The south entrance to the Port Gamble Trails is located on Stottlemeyer Rd, past Gracey Trail Ln NE
Initially, the trails were smooth, somewhat sandy, and exposed to the sun. It reminded us a little of mountain biking in Bend, OR.
Soon after, we were enveloped by lush forest. The canopy became quite thick, and the riding surface was a little more rooty. We gradually made our way north, grinning all the way.
After riding ~7 miles of fantastic XC trails, we exited the system where Kitsap Ave NE joins Hwy 104. We then rode another ~6.5 miles along Hwy 104 to get back to the Kingston ferry terminal.
When I spotted this sign for CB’s Nuts, I insisted that we stop in for a taste.
Total mileage on the bike = 21.9 miles (~15 miles road, ~7 miles trails)
Total vertical = 3444 ft (1701 ft climbing, 1743 ft downhill)
Trip duration = 3 hours, 55 minutes (starting at ~10:45 AM and ending at ~2:45 PM)
The above figures were obtained from my Bike Tracks App. I started it when we got off the ferry at Kingston and stopped it when we completed our clockwise loop back at the Kingston ferry terminal.
I’m including our trip data because this is a trip definitely worth repeating!
One reason that we decided to take this adventure on this particular day was to visit my uncle Jeff at the Edmonds Art Festival. He is a comedic artist. Check out his work: Art That Makes You Laugh, by Jeff Leedy.
No active day would be complete without a satisfying, quick meal. I’d like to make a plug for Baja Fresh, a vegan-friendly fast food restaurant.
We order the “bare” veggie burrito (i.e. no tortilla and served over romaine lettuce instead), without cheese, without sour cream, and with extra guacamole. Each order comes with a small basket of chips. From the condiment bar, we select fresh cilantro, lime, and various hot sauces.
That’s a wrap to our fun day Sunday!