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Canyon Creek & Damfino Lakes – Mountain Biking – September 29, 2012

Canyon Ridge Trail (#689) was our intended mountain bike ride for the day.  Eric had been wanting to check it out because it’s the only trail in the Mt. Baker Ranger District open to mountain bikes.  This trail is just a “stone’s throw” from Canada, immediately north of Mt Baker, in Washington State.

On our Green Trails map (#13, Mt Baker), Canyon Ridge is a dotted line trail, which can be code for “bushwhack.”  As such, I started the day with an attitude of adventure, thinking that any “good” riding would be a “bonus.”

Little did we know that our adventure would start sooner rather than later.  Right at the highway, the Canyon Creek Road (#31) was CLOSED.  What?!

We found out from the ranger at the Glacier Public Service Center that the road had actually been closed for 2 years because of a partial road washout.  (That shows you how often we frequent the Mt Baker highway!)  When we got home, I found this page on the Forest Service website, showing the list of road conditions.

Instead of going elsewhere, we decided to ride up the road to see what was up there.  As I have done before, I called this a “Gratitude Saturday.”  To me, that means I’m open to how the day will unfold, instead of trying to make it live up to preconceived plans.  It also means that I feel particularly content and appreciative of the “little” things.  On this day, I loved just being on my bike, with my husband, in the mountains, under the trees, next to the creeks, and among the critters.  Bliss 🙂

Canyon Creek Road (#31) leaves the Mt Baker Highway 542 at about 900 ft elevation.  It terminates at 4200 ft elevation.  The trailhead for Canyon Ridge Trail (#689) and Damfino Lakes Trail (#625) is located at road’s end.

We ended up biking the entire 15 mile road…a workout!  About the first third was paved.  The middle section alternated between pavement and gravel.  The final third was gravel.  By the time we got to the trailhead, we decided that the destination for the day would be Damfino Lakes rather than Canyon Ridge.

The short, 0.8 mile trail to Damfino Lakes (#625) was in surprisingly decent shape for being essentially cut off from the majority of civilization.  (Although we did see motorcycle traffic that day).  The trail climbed 400 ft.  The lakes were small, but beautiful.

In these pictures, you will see some of the “little” things that I photographed during the day, with gratitude:

  • Grey-blue glacial water flowing in the N. Fork Nooksack River
  • Peek-a-boo views of the Canyon Creek Valley
  • Fields of fireweed in a clearcut (I just had to imagine how intense the color must have been when it was all blooming)
  • Old logging signage from the 1950’s
  • Canyon Creek as it parallels the road
  • Bridges, flowers, mountains, valleys, patches of snow
  • Damfino Lakes
  • Glimpses of Mt Baker

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

Alder Ridge – Mountain Bike – September 15, 2012

This mountain bike ride to Alder Ridge (trail 1523) was actually “Plan B.”  Our intended ride was Chickamin Tie (trail 1561) via Minnow Ridge (trail 1524).  Although the Chickamin trails were open when we checked, they were closed at some point before we arrived at the trailhead.  The closures are/were due to extensive forest fire activity in the area.

The Alder Ridge trailhead is located just down the road from the Chickamin trails.  This is near Lake Wenatchee, WA.  To get there, turn off Highway 2 onto Highway 207, then take the Chiwawa River Road to the well-marked trailhead.  This general area is called the Entiat/Mad River/Lower Chiwawa area.

This was a solid day trip and worthy of a repeat.  We started at 2400 ft and climbed steadily to a high point of 6200 ft in about 8 1/2 miles.  The singletrack tread was mostly smooth toward the bottom and a bit more rocky toward the top.  It was “steepish” but mostly “rideable.” (Subjective, I know!)  I felt strong and I didn’t have to get off my bike too many times 🙂 . Due to dry conditions, the trail was sandy in places, but not bad.  Dust…yes, there was plenty of that.  The descent was a blast and over too fast!

This is a multiple use trail system…which means that our fresh air was briefly fouled with the toxic fumes of several motorcycles on the ascent.  (Cough, cough – deep, forceful exhales!!)  That was the only negative part of the trip.  Fortunately, the motor traffic was probably “light” due to the fire closures.

Our biking group of 3 vegans and 1 omnivore also met a pair of hunters.  They seemed nice enough, though I’ll never understand how anyone can take pleasure in killing a deer.

After that, I rode on, repeating silently in my mind over and over…

“I manifest good luck to the animals in the forest.”

Click on an image to enlarge and view the photos in a gallery.  In the photos, you will see maps of the area, views of Glacier Peak, and views from our high point of 6200 ft.  (We didn’t quite make it to Mad Lake.)  We photographed the Basalt Peak fire to the north and the Wenatchee fires to the south.

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

“Every time you purchase animal products you pay assassins to murder sentient beings for you.”

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