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Little Mountain Park Trails, Mt Vernon – Mountain Biking – October 21, 2012

If you drive on 1-5 near Mt Vernon, Washington, you might pass the “little mountain” on the east side of the highway, without even knowing what delightful trails are up there.

Our first visit to Little Mountain was in September 2009.  At the time, we were still new to mountain biking.  We went to LM just once, to participate in a work party for trail building along the Sidewinder trail.  It was one of those perfect late summer days, when Mt Baker was especially magnificent.  I included some pictures from that day in this set of photos.

Click this link to check out the– still ongoing!– work of Jim “JT” Taylor and the Mount Vernon Trail Builders.  They’ve been busting their butts for years to create such a great community asset.  (Thank you!)  I admit that I feel a little bit guilty that we only helped out the one time.  We’re still on the e-mail notification list, 3 years later.

Today we finally went back.  Our ride took just 2 hours to go up and down all of the “Multi Use” trails.  If you live in Mt Vernon, these trails are an ideal location for your after-work workout.  Who needs those cardio machines at the gym?  For bikes, the singletrack trail surface is generally smooth to somewhat rocky and not too rooty…Very nice!  Today the trail offered an additional, “slickish” layer of multi-colored fall leaves.

We parked at the lot between N. Pamela Street and the Silver Arrow Bowmen Archery Range.  I felt extremely unsettled there, as I empathized with the animals who fall victim to the arrow.  I couldn’t help but think of a certain image that I have in my computer– of a deer shot with an arrow.  The arrow entered at the center of her nose and exited at the back of her right jawbone.  I shudder as I imagine the suffering endured by that animal.  She is not alone.

And– as this vegan’s luck would have it, right from our parked car, I could also see the green building for Andal’s Custom Meats.  Those are the folks who were hired to slaughter Barbara’s Cows.  Ugh.  (Breathe, Elisa.)

Let’s get back on a happy note!  At the end of the ride, we stopped in for wine tasting at Carpenter Creek Winery.  It’s located right across from where we parked.  I recommend the 2011 Signature Series Riesling and the 2009 Viognier.

Now for the pictures.  Try to find…

  • Camano Island, Whidbey Island, Fidalgo Island and the San Juan Islands
  • the Skagit River and Skagit Valley
  • the (distant) Olympic Mountains
  • the City of Mt Vernon
  • Mt Baker
  • Blanchard and Galbraith Mountains

[Click on an image to enlarge and view in a photo gallery]

North Chuckanut Mountain Trails – Mountain Biking – October 6, 2012

Saturday was a perfect, autumn day for mountain biking in the Chuckanut Mountains.  On a clear day like this, we were treated with unobstructed views of Mt Baker from the Cedar Lake viewpoint.  This trail system is located just south of the Fairhaven neighborhood of Bellingham, WA.  The Chuckanut mountains are tucked between Chuckanut Bay to the west, and I-5 to the east.  They reach a high point of about 1850 ft.

Our route: (~12 miles round trip, 4 1/2 hours)

  • NORTH CHUCKANUT TRAILHEAD to INTERURBAN TRAIL to LOWER SALAL TRAIL.  This section is fun, both up and down.  The path is mostly smooth gravel, smooth dirt, and a short section of doubletrack.
  • LOWER SALAL TRAIL and SALAL TRAIL to HEMLOCK TRAIL.  These trails vary from “rideable rooty/rocky” to highly technical, “get off your bike and push.”  NOT for beginners.  Be careful if descending this trail.  (We saved it for another time.)  I’m just imagining what all the roots would be like when wet…
  • HEMLOCK TRAIL to PINE LAKE.  A relentless climb, with some places where you lose and gain elevation.  Get your workout on!
  • PINE LAKE to CEDAR LAKE and the CEDAR LAKE VIEWPOINT.  We enjoyed watching the dragonflies buzzing over Cedar Lake.  Around the lake, you will be off your bike more than on.  The view of Mt Baker and the Sisters on a clear day is worth the climb to the viewpoint.  Be careful that you don’t fall off the ledge!
  • HEMLOCK TRAIL to RAPTOR RIDGE VIEWPOINT.  This section is way steep and rocky…Try to enjoy the push!  The rocky viewpoint is another no-fall zone.  There are no views of Mt Baker from here.  Not recommended for small children or clumsy/intoxicated adults!
  • RAPTOR RIDGE VIEWPOINT to a new, unmarked trail, down to NORTH LOST LAKE TRAIL.  The new, unmarked trail was definitely the highlight of the day 🙂 .  This was totally worth the effort to get there…a blast of a descent.  Will repeat!!
  • NORTH LOST LAKE TRAIL to INTERURBAN TRAIL and NORTH CHUCKANUT TRAILHEAD.  The North Lost Lake trail is a long, fast descent on a seemingly never-ending doubletrack.  The final section of singletrack (mentioned above) gets you back to the car with a smile on your face.

After the ride, we ate veggie fajitas/veggie burritos for dinner at Dos Padres, in Fairhaven.  That was the first restaurant we went out to eat together…21 years ago!  (We met each other at Western Washington University (WWU).)  The sunset in Bellingham was worth one last picture.

[Click on an image to enlarge and view in a photo gallery]

"There are those who are appalled because I am so vocal about injustice, yet I am equally appalled by their silence." Lujene Clark

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