This trail is located turn the town on of Purdy, WA in the Gig Harbor Area. It is good example of what good city, county and user group relations can get accomplished. Here is a link to the park’s map.
Most the forest here is new growth, kinda recently worked land is the vibe I get. There are is a lot of purpose built MTB trails. Some of them are even one way.
Most of the trails area XC type trails with a little bit of tech here and there. There is a pump track as well as pump trail.
Even a wee bit of a log riding as well.
There is a set of jump trail near the upper end of the trail system that allows for some progression as you develop your skills.
Down near the bottom of the trail system are a couple of serious jump lines (not the ones pictured above) they are not joke jump lines. (Marvik and NWT3K)
Not all of the trails are on the current city map of the place, but if you check out Trailforks, you can see the delta. Interestingly enough trailforks is missing some trails that is on the city map of the place.
It is well worth a visit, but I have to admit, it does not have the same classic Pacfic Northwest trail appeal that I get at some of the other nearby places like Green Mountain State Park and Banner Forest.
Green Mountain State Park is located within about 15 minutes of where I am working here in the Puget Sound area so it is part of the post-work ride rotation.
There are plenty of way to ride the trails out here at Green Mountain State Park. I have not created a dedicated page on my site for this place yet. Here you can find some of my previous posts on this area.
Most of the trails in this area are on Trailforks.com. The Wildcat Trail is one of many trails out in the area. It is well worth a look see for the network out there.
The Wildcat trail is one of the hardest ways to get up the mountain and it will certainly test your lungs and how well you can handle redlining into the anaerobic end your cardio reserves. Lately I have been taking a longer series of fireroads up to the top of the mountain and then take Wildcat down. Well mostly down there are some uphills even on the descent to keep you honest.
A great workout with good views on clear days. A good way work out the stress of a solid day’s work.
So I am working in the Puget Sound area of Washington for the next few weeks. This is a great time be up in this area of thr country. Last year I went out to Mt Saint Helens and rode the Ape Canyon and Plains of Abraham trails. It was a pretty incredible ride but the weather did not cooperate so my views were quite limited. Here is report from that day
On the top of my MTB list for this trip was a return outing to here when the weather was clear. My first weekend here and the weather report looked good so I pulled the trigger. Boy was I rewarded for it.
Along the Ape Canyon trail looking at the south fsce of the mountain.
I saw a lot more of the mountain than last year even before I got to the trailhead. The climb up Ape Canyon was fantastic and the further up I went the better things got. The tops of Mt Adams and Mt Rainier were even visible in spots.
The view from the top of Ape Canyon
The view when you reach the top of Ape Canyon is incredibly impressive. In the pan shot above you can see the Rainier, Adams and of course Mt Saint Helens.
The south-southeast slopes of the mountain.
It is crazy to think that much of the foreground was forest before the eruption in 1980. The mountain used to have a typical volcano shape to it but the eruption blasted off 1,300 feet off the top. This is just the non-blast side of the mountain.
From here I rode the Plains of Abraham trail over the eastern slope of pumice and lava rock. Riding through here I once again felt very small seeing what the power of Mama Earth can do. There were also lots of wildflowers and other low growing stuff.
The northestern slope as seen on the fireroad out Windy Gap.
The trail takes you around to the northeastern area of the mountain where you can get your first view of the side of the mountain that was blown off. In the picture above you can see the trail in the ridgeline.
Spirit Lake and the “log raft”
The singletrack dumps you off a ridgeline and onto a dirt forest service road. I took that out to Windy Gap and the onward to the Smith Creek trailhead. Here I was treated to a nice view of Spirit Lake and the “Log Raft”. The lake took the brunt of the blast and most of the water was thrown up into the higher elevations in the form of a wave estimated to be about 850 feet high. When the dust settled and water drained back into the lake it was a much larger and shallower lake that had 40% of it surface area covered in the floating trunks of the trees between it and the mountain. Check out this wikipedia article on it. Moat of those trunks are still floating on the lake.
I thought about dropping the Smith Creek trail to do a more epic loop, but I wanted to retrace my steps and descend Ape Canyon to finish the ride.
Retracing my steps was plenty of work but I was once again rewarded with killer views and the descent down Ape Canyon was the source of multiple joygasms. What an opener for this trip!
I was back out in the Cuyamaca Mountains this weekend.
Spring is still hanging on. Today I started out on the west side singletrack and then crossed over to the visitor center and then took the Coldwater trail northward.
The climb up and over to the Stonewall peak fireroad was quite manageable. This is a really well built trail that I have found to be manageable and engaging in both directions.
Once at the top of Stonewall Peak fireroad I turned east. Technically I was in the California Riding and Hiking trail (CRHT) at this point but the next section north of here is what I consider the “real trail”. When I reached the junction of the CHRT and the top of Soapstone Grade fireroad I had to think about my options.
It has been over a decade since I found myself and this location having arrived from the west. I have long ago given up on climbing Soapstone grade to this point as the Upper Green Valley singletrack at at the bottom of this grade is so much better. My other option is to climb the next section of the CRHT which would be good but it is fantastic in the southern direction. I decided to descend Soapstone grade and then climb Upper Green Valley singletrack.
I have been doing a fair amount riding lately and I feel I have been on the fitness and injury mend as if late. I felt really good on this climb and I think I did as well as I ever have in recent time. I still can’t beat that that much younger version of me but that is a different story. I ended up climbing the La Cima trail over to the Lucky 5 staging area (a first for me). I resisted the urge to poach the PCT back to CRHT today and made my way back along the La Cima trail to the CRHT and back the way I came. It was glorious!
So I recently made a tweak to my Santa Cruz Bronson. It is built up as an XC rig and it rocks! It is a single track carving machine. The minor compromise I feel have had been making with this setup is that is not the most confidence inspiring rig when thingd get downhill and gnarly. I’m not talking downhill bike gnarly but both wheels on the ground kind of normal. It is not bad by any stretch of the imagination, I just feel I can “over ride” the bike. I hate all the micro-genre names but I wanted to shift more towards a trail/enduro feel on the bike.
I ended up trying something simple and relatively inexpensive. I switched from a 90mm 0 degree rise stem out for a 70mm 17 degree rise. I took the bike out to La Costa to see how this felt. As I predicted the climbs felt a bit awkward at firdt as my weight was shifted back slightly. On the climb I had plenty of switchbacks as well as some steeper pitches. By the time I made it up to the top of the climb I was feeling comfortable with the new setup. I descended down the back side and then up to the towers. This improvement was immediately noticed and I was feeling much more comfortable with the downhill chunkish bits.
Oh and the trails, the backside stuff was a bit overgrown with the flowerinf weeds starting to dry out. Meaning I got a free exfoliation treatment. Good Times.
Lake Hodges is not in bad shape right now. On this particular outing I combined both the south side and the north side trail
All together I did about 24 miles of fairly quick paced riding (for me). I did not add in Bernardo peak. If I had that would have made for some pretty legit “in town” mileage. I think I have caught myself being a trail snob and passing by this place to go ride something better. It was nice to give myself a bit of a mental reset on this area. I don’t care how fit you are you should be able to come out here and find a way to both put a smile on your face and wipe it off all while putting some burn on your legs.
If you think I’m stretching things a bit, try combining Raptor Ridge, the south and north side and Bernardo peak in a single ride.
I made it out to the Cuyamaca Mountains for a a dawn patrol ride this morning. It was a brisk 55 when I started out but it not take long to warm up.
The east side singletrack followed by the fireroad climb up east mesa was quite manageable.
It was about a three to four mile climb up to fireroad to get to the single track that tasks our across the meadow.
I was a little bit past prime time for the wild flowers but there were still a plenty. I took the singletrack out to where you start descending down towards the Indian Creek trail. Here is some info on that option.
After a very peaceful break I retraced my tracks back to the fireroad. For something new to me I took the Oakzanita peak trail.
It was a little under two miles long and most of the climbing occured during the last half of a mile or so. Most of the peak prominence is on its western slopes so you have already gain much of thr elevation when coming in from the east. The last half mile is very much a loose rock and techy bit of fun ckimbing.
The view from Oakzanita peak was really cool and worth the effort. On the return trip, I took an unmarked trail that took me most of the way down the mountain. It was a great bit singletrack. It popped me out on the East Mesa fireroad. This was the upper Descanso Creek trail and saddly it is not only marked at the bottom, but also marked no bikes. Its a shame as it would be my preferred way to come off the mesa. I would not want to climb it. After that it was a quick spin on the East Side singletrack back to my truck. A great morning in the bike.
So my youngest son, Jake has been accepted to Humbolt State University to finish off his degree in Forestry and Wildland Fire Management. We decide to take the travel trailer up there for a week to get the lay of the land and find him a place to live out in town. First stop along the journey was a overnighter to see my oldest son who lives south of San Jose. It was really nice to have both of my not so much boys anymore in the same spot.
The next made the rest of the way up north and setup shop in Trinidad at a campsite nestled between redwoods.
So everyday we had some chores to do which mostly included scoping out rooms for rent and doing interviews with the landlords/owners.
But that stuff took up less than half of each day so we were about to checkout some stuff.
As luck would have it a good friend, JD, has a brother who lives in nearby Bluelake. After some emails and phone calls his brother Tim took Jake and I out for a tour through the local woods. We even started right from the HSU campus. I do believe Jake is pretty stoked about this.
The last day our planned stay up there we ended up finding “The Place” and put some ink to paper. The next morning we headed out but this time we decided to take a different route we took us inland though some mighty pretty country side. I’m not so sure SoCal is ever going to get Jake back.
We made our way down to Fresno and had enough time to check out thier MTB skills park. It was not bad. I would not make a special trip for it, but if you are passing through, go for it.
The next day we mad our way back to home. A very productive and fun trip.