Monday, July 28, 2014

Crystal Mountain Recap Unabbridged

It's a week late but better late than never, right?  OK!  The ground rules are the same.  I've uploaded pictures, I type up some recap in between the pictures that may or may not be applicable to the picture it is near, clicking the pictures makes them bigger, and a link to all the pictures is somewhere in here.

Friday July 18th I loaded up my stuff and Matt's stuff.  We were bound from the Crystal Mountain area, just East and a bit South of Mt. Rainier, for some camping and mountain biking.  Various others would be camping the entire time while others would come and go as their time allowed.

Deciding visual clues would help others find the campsite, Matt began drawing the visual clues while I drove.

He made up a bunch of paper plates signs, each with a bike, and each with an up, right, or left arrow.  As we got nearer

the paper plate visual finder aides were taped to various things.

We arrived and set up camp.  I found a nice level spot and put up my tent.

The campsite was immediately adjacent to Ranger Creek airstrip.  This dude did two fly-by's but this was a close to touching terra firma as he got.

  After the core group arrived we all changed into biking apparrel and were off to ride.  Friday's ride was to shuttle to the top of Suntop Mountain and then bomb down to the campsite, have a beer, and then head down Skookum Flats trail to the waiting cars.  On the way up Suntop there were excellent views of Mt. Rainier.

At the top of Suntop was a working fire lookout.  We chatted with the fire watcher dude,

signed the logbook

and then did the day's ride.  It was not without incident.  Rider Scott had some crashes.  One of which smashed his sunglasses into the bridge of his nose cutting him and the same tree punched him in the face hard enough he received a nasty cut a bit above an eyebrow.  Unfortunately, he was then done for the weekend and ended up going in to get three stitches to close the gash.

Saturday was a ride up Palisades Trail.  Below is a picture of the top of Palisades at the top of the rocks.  The picture was taken from the campsite near the airstrip.

Once on top, we could see the airstrip below as shown by the picture below.

About 1/2 of Palisades, if one chooses to go up it, is hike-a-bike.

The riding parts provided incredible views.

In the picture below, on the side of the mountain, there's a part where the trees are noticeably shorter.  That was a logging clear cut area from a few years back.  It has filled in nicely.

Get to the top, have someone else take a picture of me and the Ellsworth!

We'd had enough climbing where Palisades Trail intersected with Ranger Creek Trail.  At the cabin/shelter thing we Clif barred and then began the bomb down Ranger.

We were almost done.  We could see the road into our campsite from the trail.  The options were to ride a very steep, loose section, cross the highway, and be back, or, ride down Ranger another 200 yards, ride the highway back 200 yards, and be back.  Matt took off down the steep stuff.  I followed.  He attempted to stop.  I attempted to stop and gracefully dismount.  One very ungraceful dismount later and I had an ouch.

'Tis but a flesh wound!  It was scrubbed out, beer was consumed, and then we determined Sunday's plan.

What's planning without a wee bit of rain?  Boring, that's what.

Sunday the clouds were flying low.  Sunday's ride was to be up one side of Crystal Mountain and down another.  It didn't take too long and we ascended into the clouds.  We stayed in the clouds all day and did get out of them until back to the cars and were driving back down the final portion.

The vertical climb for the day was approximately 2800 feet.  We topped out and found a handy sign and clock.

Not having your picture taken by a sign and clock is as bad forgetting to bring beer on the three-day trip.

The group was glad to be done with the major climbing of the trip.

The top portion of Crystal mountain makes for sketchy riding.  The good news - fast down hilling.  The bad news - coming around a curve to find yourself on a scree field.  Fortunately, no one went down on the scree.  The other good news - riding on snow!

We'd made it about half way down when we rounded a curve and found a mine shaft.  Three of the five of us went in.  It had a narrow gauge ore cart rails and was an average of 5 1/2 feet high.  More than once my bike helmet saved me from another ouch.

We estimated we followed the shaft in about 200 yards.  The shaft kept going.  Our riding partners not in the mine shaft were outside doing mortal battle with the mosquitoes.  We elected to head back out and finish our ride.

It was a great three-day weekend.  We climbed, we down-hilled, we had many beers and campfires.  We did remember to retrieve our paper plate visual aides on the way back.  The link to the whole set of pictures is HERE.

I'm traveling for work starting today.  I arrive back at Seattle Tacoma airport Thursday evening.  From there I head directly to Whistler, B.C. for three days of more mountain biking adventure.  Pictures and recap of that when I get back.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Not Quite Recap

I'm back from my three-day weekend mountain biking/camping thing near Crystal Mountain.  I've still pictures to download.  Once that is done (maybe tomorrow), I'll post the full recap.

The short version - great riding, beers consumed, flesh wounds from crashes, and beer consumed.

In other news, last night's Tuesday Night ride at Stottlemeyer was bitchin' as usual.  What's even better is the grilled burgers we ate after driving over to Hood Canal Brewery.  Yes, beers consumed.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Campin' & Bikin'

In a few hours another dude and I will depart for the Crystal Mountain area of Washington.  There we'll meet up with some others for three days worth of camping and mountain biking.  Some of the crew will be repeats from the Bend, OR trip.

Friday we'll head over.  It's about a two hour drive.  We'll set up camp and then go ride.  Saturday we're going to do an all-day type of ride by linking some trails together.  Sunday it will be whatever the group is up for.

The trail descriptions, from those that have rode them before, sound wonderful.  I'll be sporting my camera and will attempt to get some pictures.  Recap either Monday or Wednesday next week.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014


This past weekend I drove up just west of Port Angeles to Olympic Raft & Kayak to attend a screening of the movie Damnation.

Damnation is a movie about removing obsolete dams to let rivers run free and restore fishery habitat.  The salmon habitat has been severely harmed by dams.

The evening started with beers and live music.  Not too long after I arrived the food was made available.  Smoked salmon - yum!!!

The venue was a grass spot at Olympic Raft & Kayak.

The shelter roof thing that contained the band had a flip down screen.

where the movie was to be shown.

It worked quite well, actually.  I suppose there were about 100 people in attendance.  Included were the producer of the movie and several of the people in the movie.

What made this extra cool as the location of the movie is very close to the location of where a dam was recently removed from the Elwha river.  The movie people and some from Olympic Raft & Kayak

floated the area earlier that day.  If you haven't already, watch the movie trailer up above.  And, if you haven't already, find a screening and attend.  The movie is very well made and the content very important.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Midwestern Trip

Here's the recap from my trip back to the Midwest to visit relatives.  A bit overdue, I know, but I've been busy.

I caught a ride to the ferry that transported me from Bremerton to Seattle.  From there it was a short walk to the Amtrak station.

They called boarding and I went on to find a seat.  Here's some really cool things about train travel - no TSA crap to go through, the coach seats are as big as first class seats on airlines but with even more leg room, no need to be seated pretty much at all so you're free to walk up and down the train to stretch your legs or pee or whatever, the food is infinitely better.

The downsides - it is slower to get where you're going.  The coach seats have a leg support flipper upper thing and they recline back, but, they are still not that comfortable to sleep in.

The train rolled through Washington, across northern Idaho, through Montana, and I got off in the 

land of oil - North Dakota.  Specifically, Fargo.  That was the closest stop to my final destination.

The game plan was to visit family and then take the train back.  However, upon arrival, I found out the pickup truck I was going to get was done and ready.  I cancelled the second half of the train ticket, rented a U-Haul truck and car transport, and was planning on bring back some furniture and the pickup.

It turned out the pickup developed some glitches so I left it.  I U-Hauled it back over two days.  This included an overnight west of Billings, MT at a rest stop sleeping in the Hotel U-Haul.  I made it back fine, unload the truck, and turned it in.

It was good to see family and to get the last of my crap less the pickup.  Another time, another trip.  It's not like I need it anyway.