Sunday, January 25, 2015

Syncline - Up Maui to Hidden Valley Down - Mountain Biking the Gorge

This Sunday Conrad joined Emily and I with his new mountain bike for our first venture to the Syncline Trail system around Coyote Wall on the Washington side of the Gorge.  This area is incredibly beautiful and popular with hikers but we didn't know until recently that it was also an amazing biking area just east of the Cascade Crest that usually gets decent weather while its pouring in Portland.  Read on...

We headed out around 11am from Portland and were on the trail by just after noon.  I tested out mounting my GoPro to my seatpost for some rearview footage of Conrad behind me.  Other than it being a bit shaky from all the bumps and the view of my mud guard the whole time it actually came out pretty ok.  Next time I'm going to work on setting up a more secure mount and hopefully can remove the mud guard in dryer weather.

The trail system was super beautiful.  The ascent up Maui wasn't very technical and our legs welcomed the many switchbacks.  We soon found ourselves amongst rolling hills of waterfalls and lava outcrops far above the Columbia River.  As the morning fog lifted from below it created a thick layer of cloud that we eventually punched through for amazing views south towards Mount Hood.  There were a bunch of hikers all around but we ended up heading down where the bikers go to stay away from them.  

We got some misdirections from another mountain bike group and had to turn around just down a steep descent and head back up to the trail to where we wanted to descend.  Scott from work gave us great beta and the descent down Hidden Valley was beautiful with the right amount of technical terrain for it to be a challenge for us.  Some parts were fast and open, while other parts dropped us into a gulley through trees and over scree slopes, pushing our skills to the limit.  We passed by a few waterfalls and stopped many times for photos.  

The descent was amazing and none of us took any serious diggers on the way down which felt way too quick.  We thought about heading to a paved trail from Hood River to Mosier but instead opted for a couple beers at the Pfriem brewery in Hood River.  This worked out great as we were able to get home in perfect time to head to Arley and Katies to join Ryan in making some pizzas by a backyard fire.  It was a great finish to a great afternoon of riding in the Gorge.  We'll definitely head back to Syncline, maybe even with two cars so we can shuttle the trails multiple times!

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Hi, I know this isn't related to this post, but I found your page on Everytrail about the NH 4000 footers. It looks like you posted some nice really nice maps but I can't download them since Everytrail seems to be having issues. My husband and I have just started hiking the NH 4000 footers. Is there any chance you could post the map files somewhere where people can download them? Thanks for any help!