Sunday, May 5, 2013

Tarbell Loop Mountain Biking

Today Emily and I headed out to the mountains just Northeast of Vancouver to check out the mountain bike trails.  We left Leo at home because we chose a 19.5 mile with 2,500ft of elevation gain that would have destroyed the poor pooch.  We left around 11am and initially got very lost on some forest service roads in horrible condition.  We were fortunate to have taken my truck and not the new Prius (yes, we picked up a 2013 Prius on Saturday).  

We finally found our way to the Rock Creek Campground and got on the loop ride around 12:30, just as the sun was really heating up.  It was a long 5.5 mile slog up a gravel forest road until we hit the single track at Grouse Point.  From there it was a mixture of clear cuts, and smooth single track for the rest of the ride.  There were a bunch of steep switchbacks to negotiate until we made our way to the highpoint at just over 3,000 feet but from then on it was pretty much downhill.  

About half way through we stopped for lunch at the beautiful Hidden Falls along the trail which was roughly a 75 foot waterfall just off the trail.  The guidebook we were using was old and said there would be stream crossing and destroyed, old bridges but we encountered new bridges at every occasion.  Along the trail we had great views of Mt. St. Helens in the distance and great weather the entire day.  

Emily did fantastic keeping up with me and she only stumbled once on what turned out on the descent to be a pretty technical ride with a lot of loose rocks, boulders on the trail and big roots at times.  We made it back to the car by 5:15pm, very tired from our long loop ride.  From there it was a 45 minute drive, the correct way, back to the house.  We showered quick and then spent the rest of the evening at a great BBQ at Eric’s place with Leo.  It was the first legit ride on my new mountain bike and I absolutely loved it!  

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