Saturday, October 12, 2013

Lewis River Trail Mountain Biking

Today, after sleeping in a bit to catch up on some much needed rest Em and I grabbed our bikes and headed to the Lewis River Trail which ended up being a lot further away than I thought it would be, far past the Mt. St. Helens climbers turnoff.  We got to the trailhead at about 2pm and began our trip through a beautiful fall forest along the river.  The trail at first was super smooth and fast but after a few miles we started to encounter rock gardens and some pretty steep hills.  The combination of wet leaves and dirt made these hills difficult to climb and we ended up walking a few of them which slowed down our pace.  

Along the trail we passed many campsites for fishermen and hikers and a lean-to that had been just refurbished and stocked with dry wood inside for the winter.  We passed some amazing old growth Doug Fir trees which were so tall we had no perception of where the top of the tree ended.  There were lots of mushrooms around but we didn’t see any chanterelles and didn’t dare try any which was a good idea as the end of the trail had a sign with skull and crossbones warning hikers and bikers about that some are extremely poisonous.  We didn’t see any animals on the trail but heard birds throughout the day.  

The trail was exceptionally maintained with huge cutouts in trees to allow bikers to continue under them.  There were a bunch of log rides (bikers can hop on to the log and ride its length) but Emily had forgotten her helmet and was borrowing mine and they were pretty wet so I didn’t attempt any of them.  At one point after a long climb we found ourselves perched on a cliff overlooking the river far below.  It would have been a great place to camp for the night if we ever wanted to.  

By the time we crossed the final bridge and made it back to FR-90 it was 5pm and we had been riding for 3 hours.  This wouldn’t give us enough time to go back on the trail by dark so we exited to the road and started biking back.  Emily hadn’t drank enough water for the day and was beginning to cramp up a bit while I still had a lot of energy so we discussed it and I took off ahead at full speed down the road to grab the truck and come back for her as she took her time peddling uphill on the road.  I was able to make it back to the truck in about 25 minutes along the 8-9 miles of road and quickly returned to pick her up.  Unfortunately for her it was about a quarter mile before she would have started the long downhill to the truck anyway... but it did save her about 15-20 minutes of biking.  From there it was the two hour drive home and a relaxing night by the fire.  :)

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