Archive for April, 2011

Fort Ebey and Kettles Park

April 24th, 2011 by MTBBill

The weather reports were calling for clear skies and a warm day (that would be above 50 by Seattle standards this time of year) on Saturday.   In the coastal Pacific Northwest one should pay attention for such musings from the weather folks.  

 Saturday morning was indeed amazingly great looking and I wasted little time in getting packed up and headed out.  The destination today was Fort Ebey State Park combined with the adjacent Kettles Park.   After some nice scenery from the ferry over to Whidbey Island and a pretty ride through the countryside I parked at one of the trailheads at Kettles Park.   The plan was to ride some of the trails westwardly through Kettles Park over into Fort Ebey State Park.   I would try to do all of the Fort Ebey stuff and then work my way back through the rest of Kettles Park on the way back.  The trails of Kettles were mostly buff goodness with a combination of quick flowliness and tight twisty stuff that required a bit of shoulder tucking here and there to avoid the trees. 

The fun singletrack continued after crossing into Fort Ebey State Park.    I intentionally tried to stitch together the most serendipitous route possible to get onto as many trails as I could without too many loop backs.   The trails I took as I worked my way up to the west coast of the island and the Fort’s old gun battery were Grade A forested goodness that were a real cross country pleasure. 

Fort Ebey’s original purpose was to serve as gun battery defending Puget Sound during WWII.  Construction began in 1942 and the two gun batteries were placed in service in 1943.  In 1965 Fort Ebey started being converted to a state park.  Today visitors can walk through the bunkers and the foundation for the turrets now make a nice bench in which to enjoy the views.

The most popular and  iconic trails here is the Bluff Trail.   Its proximity to the edge of the bluff and stunning views offered of the Strait of Juan De Fuca and the Olympic Peninsula on clear days is truly an incredible thing to experience. Unfortunately bicycles are not longer allowed on most of the trail.  There are a couple of sections to the south of the battery that are still open to bikes and they should not be missed. 

I rode the open sections of the Bluff Trail in both directions just to get the full experience.       

At the south end of the park is the Cedar Hollow loop which also offers more of the killer views.   It is well worth some of the grunt work involved to get to the views.

After I got done looping in all the Fort Ebey trails I made my way back into Kettles Park and enjoyed some really nice singletrack through the forest.  I was feeling pretty pooped at this point, but the temperature had climbed to 68 degrees so it was pretty easy to keep on going despite complaining legs.  I pretty much rode all the trails of Kettles which brought the mileage up to a little over 20 miles before I called it a day.   A day that I call simply awesome!   Expect more information on this place the site in the coming weeks.

A return to the dirt in Anacortes

April 17th, 2011 by MTBBill

After a week full of mostly rain, chilly breezes and general ickiness, the skys started to clear up a bit on Saturday afternoon and by sunset I was optimistic for a bike ride the following day.

The Whistle Lake area of the Anacortes Community Forest Lands was the destination.   I had ridden here a couple of times in 2009 and I was really looking forward to getting back onto the flowling singletrack goodness of this place.

This was my first time back on the bike since the truck accident three and a half weeks ago and boy could I feel it.   The opening climb was steep and there was much more huffing and puffing than I had expected.     It was a quite brisk 47 degrees for pretty much the entire ride and the cool air felt really good.   While we SoCal weather weenies consider that cold, after a week of typically Seattle area weather, this was no where close to bad.   There is something about being out in nature of a trail that meanders through the forest is good chicken soup for the soul.   I am especially fond of the series of trails going around the lake with its numerous twists and turns coupled with short up and downs.   The trails on the north side of the lake is often perched well above the lake and sometimes is downright near-cliff like just off the trail.  

I did pretty close to the route I did in 2009 and by the time I was done I was pretty spent and my legs were complaining.  Obviously way too many tasty beers and no miles on the legs were issue.   I was nearly finished with my ride with the sun came out for good and the day was getting downright awesome.   I had plenty of time left in my day and I did not feel like leaving the trails just yet.

There is a also a series of trails in the Heart Lake area where I had parked.   I just had to go out and get some more time in the dirt even though I was “done”.   I liken it to having a yummy Thanksgiving dinner.  You are plenty stuffed already but you just have to have that extra slice of pie to finish things off.   So I headed off to do a loop around Heart Lake.    I ended up worked over and sore over the “extra slice of pie”   but it was well worth it.   

 

Less than a mile from Heart Lake is Mount Erie and there is an access road up to the top as well some viewpoints.  The views were quite amazing.

It was certainly a great day to be out on a bike and a particularly good day to be getting back on the saddle.

Basecamp Puget Sound, Washington

April 15th, 2011 by MTBBill

I started this week with a shift of basecamp up up to the Pacific Northwest on the east side of Puget Sound for a work project for the next five weeks.

This is certainly not the most optimal time of year for riding in the Seattle area and the descent down into area look like I expected to.

Luckily all the luggage made it (not always the case).

With the slow economy and the it being the off-season coupled with the length of my stay and some crafty negoitating skills I was able to score a sweet beachfront rental.

Bald eagles are frequently see from the dinner table and it pretty easy just set back and watch the sound.   During this few days I have seen Bald Eagles, Otters, and Whales.

Good stuff to see from the deck.


The view from Day Two.  I should be able to work under these conditions :-)  This was the last sunny, dry and generally non-icky day of the trip so far.

The steed is ready to go and there is some ridinging my future.   Either the weather will get better or I am going to start sacking up and deal with the ick.   

More to follow……