A return to the dirt in Anacortes

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.

Washington Area Added to the Website

I have finally gotten around to compiling all of my pictures and notes from my April trip to Washington.  It was enough stuff to add a Washington section to the site.   If you have been following the blog a good portion of the stuff will not be completely new to you.  I have however added more pictures and in some cases some maps and GPS files.   So click away.

Puget Sound Area Overview Page

Whistle Lake Goodness

Saturday I ventured north to check out the Whistle Lake area of the Anacortes Community Forest Lands.  I had been to the Cranberry Lake area the week before and I was ready to check out some more of the goods in Anacortes.

Man there was some fun single track out by Whistle Lake but there are no freebies.  You have got to earn them.   The good news is what goes up must come down.    The number of trails in this area is simply bewildering and it is hard to go more than a third of mile without having a trail junctions to think about.

While on one of the trails near the top of “Sugar Cube”  I had an incredible critter encounter.    As I rounded a corner a bald eagle flew up from the trail where it had recently whacked some small furry critter and had it for lunch.   It flew up into a nearby tree and started checking me out. 

While it looked concerned with me a first, it soon seemed to figure out that I meant it no harm and seemed rather comfortable with my presence.   Over the next five minutes I would go through a series of snapping pictures and moving a little closer until it decided it had better things to do.    

This eagle is bigger than it looks.  I’m guessing that those talons if out stretched would be about the size of an average man’s hand.  Simply impressive.

An hour or so later in the ride I would once again have another cool critter encounter.  This time it was with a spotted owl and the sequence of events was similar to that the eagle. 

I love checking out the “Back 40” wherever I go.  On this day that looked to be the south side of the lake.  The trails over here were much steeper and trickier with more roots and rocky sections.

It would be a really big feat to ride all of the stuff in a single day as it takes multiple loops of climbing to the top of several hills that can work the legs over really well. 

I did as many climbs up the hills as I could stand and still did not get to all of the trails.  I finished the day with my legs thoroughly shot and a big smile on my face.