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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.

This is not the trail we took, but this trail shares a trailhead with Minnow Ridge Trail.

This is not the trail we took, but this trail shares a trailhead with Minnow Ridge Trail.

Our trip was an “out and back.”  Let’s begin!

SEGMENT 1

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.

Eric consults the map at the first intersection.

Eric consults the map at the first intersection.

SEGMENT 2

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.)

Stream crossing

Stream crossing

Chikamin Creek

Chikamin Creek

SEGMENT 3

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.

Stopping for a snack.  If you look closely, you can see evidence of recent fire.

Stopping for a snack. If you look closely, you can see evidence of recent fire.

SEGMENT 4

After being in shady forest all morning, we popped into the open sun to cross Road #6210 on our final climb above Chikamin Ridge.

Eric pops onto Road #6210, into the bright sun.

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.

We saw these 2 guys, plus one more small group of motorcyclists on the trail.

We saw these 2 guys, plus one more small group of motorcyclists on the trail.

Cary Condotta - IMG_2696

Cary Condotta

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.

First of 2 granite boulder   fields to cross.

First of 2 granite boulder fields to cross.

Our friend wanted to take some pictures here. We’re still on our way up, although Eric is posing for the “down.”

Onward and upward...

Onward and upward…

Part of Chikamin Ridge

Part of Chikamin Ridge

Crossing the 2nd granite boulder field, below Chikamin Ridge.

Crossing the 2nd granite boulder field, below Chikamin Ridge.

Surrounding hills.

Surrounding hills.

I'm pretty sure that's Clark Mountain with the snow on it.

I’m pretty sure that’s Clark Mountain with the snow on it.

Above Chikamin Ridge, the upper Chikamin Tie Trail ended after 4.1 miles at a 3-way intersection (6200 ft).

I asked Eric to take my picture with this sign, and this is what I got. Super close-up!

I asked Eric to take my picture with this sign, and this is what I got. Super close-up!

SEGMENT 5

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…

Left side of our "view" from the 6500 ft highpoint.

Left side of our “view” from the 6500 ft highpoint.

Middle section views from 6500 ft highpoint.

Middle section views from 6500 ft highpoint.

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!

Cheers!

Cheers!

————————————

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)

MAP USED:

FOOD CONSUMED ON TRAIL:

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