By the end of the workday on Wednesday, I was dog tired. However, the sun was out and the weatherman was calling for rain and general crappiness on Thursday. I can rest when it is raining so I headed out to Japanese Gulch in Mukilteo. Lucky for me my hotel is in Mukilteo and the trailhead is just a few miles away. I could have ridden the streets to the trailhead but not knowing where the trails would take me, I decided to drive to the trailhead and start from a known location. The trailhead also happens to be at the bottom of the trail system which could make for a quicker return should I start running out of daylight.
What a score this place turned out to be. There is a railroad track, that goes up the middle of the gulch and and on either side are steep wooded hillsides. There are trails on both sides of the gulch that loosely follow the top, bottom and part-way up the hillsides.
The trails are almost exclusively singletrack with really nice flow. There are also plenty of undulations in the trails so wither you are going up or down the gulch you will get to do some grunting as well as some grinning. It is just a matter of the ratios between the two depending which direction you are going.
I started out climbing up the southside of the gulch on one of the hillside trails. There were quite a few grunting sections as well as some tight turns. It was all good by me as I was digging the loamy soil as well as the greenery. Even though the flora has not broken out of winter mode yet, it was still pretty. I had lots of oppurtunites to take it all in as there were numerous intersections were it was purdent to look around before moving on.
I avoiding descending too much as I made my way up the gulch. There are several trails that short cut between the high trails and the low trails. It was on these short cut trails were I saw the remenants of a few hucker projects. None of them showed much recent use and mother nature was working hard to reclaim them.
When I got to the top of the gulch I cruised along a few trails before I popped out into an open area and HOLY CRAP I could see my hotel. Sweeeeeeeet! Now I could drop into the gulch from almost right out my front door. With this most killer info locked in my head I started back down on the other side of the gulch.
There were just as many twists, turns an general flowy goodness on this side of the gulch. My daylight was starting to dwindle so I spent less time exploring and more time heading down. I passed a couple of bailout trails were I could have dropped down to the railroad tracks and zipped right down the trailhead. Even with the threat of darkness rising, I was not in enough of a hurry to pass up singletrack. I ended up bobing, weaving and undulating my way back down to the trailhead on proper singletracks and arrived back at the car in the twilight. An afternoon well spent in my book.
The general consenus is that San Diego weather guessers have it pretty easy. Sunny with temps in the mid-60s to mid-70s will be correct 75% of the year so we don’t attract the best and brightest weather folks. It must be the same in Seattle except the standard prediction is going to be cool and gloomy with a good chance of rain. So was the predications for Seattle on Thursday. First thing in morning it was indeed cool and gloomy. By lunchtime however, the weather turned pretty good with sunshine and brisk but not cold temps. AKA Great! I knew what I would be doing after work.
Within 15 minutes of getting back to the hotel room, I was out the door and on the bike. A few minutes later and I am on my freshly found trail from the day before and headed back into Japanese Gulch. Since I had rushed through the north side of the gulch the day before, I explored my way down the gulch this time. At intersections I would often take all the turns figure out were they went and doubleback to try the other directions. It was a good time for sure.
Once I made my way to the bottom of the gulch I started climbing up the other side, but this time I took different trails than the day before. I was digging the quality singletrack out here and the amount of it. I has missed some good chunks of stuff the day before.
By the time I made it to the top of the gulch again my daylight was waning. I did not have enough light for another run down the gulch so I cruised back to the hotel. With the exception of a few built up stunts, my 6.6 is way more bike than is needed out here. So I pay a little extra on the climbs, good trails are good trails and these goodies are rightout my front door. This will not be my last ride here.