Tree Farming in the Great Northwest

The weather for most of this past week has been “Bi-Polar” here in the great northwest.  It would be cold, raining and breezy and the next thing you know the sun would come out and the temperature would shoot up pretty much into the comfortable range.  Wednesday ended up being a rainless day and I managed to grab some late afternoon miles at the Armstrong Tract of the Pilchuck Tree Farm north of Arlington. 

The Pilchuck Tree Farm is a some hugh chunk of private land that is used for logging.  The company/land owners have allowed trails and public recreation on their land for over 20 years.  Of course patches of trail are going to go away from time to time as various segments gets logged over the years.  Despite the obvious bummage of this, the up side is the place is ever changing. 

One thing is for sure there is a bunch of miles out here.  I got in about 18 miles of rolling and mostly buff singletrack during my afternoon visit and I know I missed a bunch of stuff.  I had a very rudimentary map that was rather large scale which meant I was basically on my own.  I love solo riding like this as the miles seem longer and I feel more in tune with my surroundings as you have to paint your own mental map of where you are at and how you are going to get back at some point.

I was digging the rolling terrain and the aburpt transitions as you go from the unattractive barreneque clearcuts into lush forest. While the trails were for the most part buff there were some sections that were rooty with plenty of logs across the trail.  I got a really good skills workout in from the logs alone. 

There were more trail junctions in this area than I can count.  For the first part of the ride I took whatever option looked to go away from the trailhead.   When the remainder of the day dictated it was time to turn back, I took every turn that I thought would delay my return.  I did loops, backtracks and generally confused myself.  This was one of my adventures were I actually used my GPS for something other than a simple data logger.

I ended up back at the trailhead with some daylight left, so I decided to check out what was supposed to be a somewhat short loop nearby.  This loop was indeed short but it also ended up going through a low lying area that became more than a bit of a mucky mess.  Getting through this area took much longer than I thought it would and the waning daylight inside the moss covered forest looked somewhere between surreal and spooky.   By the time I got back to the trailhead, I could officially classify my day as extremely “efficient”.  I doubt I had more than one minute of daylight left.     Just the way I like it 🙂 

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