Friday, July 3, 2009

Run to the hills... (and then come back again).

On June 26th, I met up with Chuck and his buddy Kelly in Enumclaw in order to head over to the Naches area for a day ride. We loaded up all three bikes onto Chuck's trailer which allowed us to take one vehicle instead of 2 or 3.

We made it over Chinook Pass and found our way to a campground where we could unload and start our ride. It turns out that at the campground where we parked, there were a few people there that Chuck and Kelly knew. While we were unloading we convinced Curt, (one of the guys Chuck and Kelly knew from the campsite), to join us on our ride. This turned out to be a good thing as Curt has apparently been camping and riding in this area since he was 10 years old. Considering he's older than I am, this amounts to a significant amount of time.

Within the first 10 minutes of our ride, we came upon a small group of riders going the other direction. After passing them, Chuck pulled me aside and told me that he recognized Dr. Dan's bike. (As a chiropractor, Dan is the closest thing our group of riding friends has to a "real" doctor, so we call him "Dr Dan" to make him feel good. (Think "Alan Harper"))

I had to admit that I was not paying attention to the other group and so I really never did notice that Dan's and my path crossed during this weekend of riding, which if you think about it, is pretty amazing.

Soon we were riding single track and that would be the way it was the rest of the day.

While we weren't racing, it does make things go a bit more smoothly if the faster guys are up front and the slower guys are in the back. That way the slow guys aren't inadvertantly holding up the faster guys. It was apparent within just a few minutes that I was in fact the slowest rider of the 4 of us. I gladly took up the rear of the pack for the rest of the entire ride. I wasn't interested in trying to keep up with the likes of Curt, who is an excellent rider. Not only was it not possible, but it wasn't wise to try and go as fast as I could on these narrow trails.

Our staging area. This dog LOVED to drag around that stick.

A quick rest stop.

Another quick rest stop.

Curt led us up along Manastash Ridge toward Mt Clifty. I had no idea how difficult it was going to be but it sounded like the destination was worth any challenge that presented itself along the way.
A warning sign.

This is the trail the warning was for.

Curt, Chuck and Kelly taking a break.

After a fairly steep hill climb with many switchbacks, we emerged out into the open and the view was spectacular. We parked the bikes and spent about 30-45 minutes just taking in the scenery and taking a few photos.

Mt Clifty.

Amazing views.

There was a canister that allowed you to leave your thoughts on a piece of paper if you desired.

You don't want to stumble.

Just awesome.

I was able to get Kelly to take this picture instead of finding a skilled wild animal to do it.

The way back down the hill was basically more of the same stuff we encountered on our way up. It was a great ride all the way around.

On the trail heading back to camp.

Random serenity.

So far, this was the most enjoyable ride I've done. The weather was perfect, the trails were just right and the company was great. I'm looking forward to riding here again!
Miles: 35
Riders: 4
Alcohol consumed: none
Epic views: At least one.

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