Monday, March 27, 2017

John Wayne's Lasso! - 71.67mi w/3,754ft of elevation

Kinda made a graveyard of snacks for ride food,
this and 3 liters of water was all I needed though.

Started before sunrise
so many animals at that time, 
poor lighting so I can't capture them on camera
I saw a barn owl, great horned owl, vole, rabbit,
marmot, deer, numerous waterfowl, chukar, quail, etc

After being in London it was refreshing to bask in the silence of this sunrise

Love this time of year, so many new lives in the valley

little lamb

I-90 was vacant, looked weird

Not the prettiest picture
This is one of the places the county dumps elk/deer from collisions

Finally thawed, so much easier to ride a bike outside of snow

Some equestrians ripped up a huge section though
would have been a lot more rough on a standard mountain bike

one lone elk during this 30 mile stretch
I think the proximity to the Yakima Training Center
keeps animals sparse in this area

So much open space, so much solitude

all those hoof prints, if they had waited a week wouldn't have been as soft.

My track is in the middle
Even though the tires are wide, fat bikes don't leave ruts
the tracks to the left and right are from a conventional mountain bike
Often I'll get asked "but aren't those heavy?"
They are, but for these conditions they're 100% worth it

no matter how many times I reach this tunnel
still kinda creeps me out a smidge

Tunnel 45

Lights are a must, tons of debris in this tunnel
not as clean as the others on this trail system

The other side

This section of trail was pretty rough
next time might bring some clippers and widen it.

Now that the horse tracks are gone it was smooth sailing to the Columbia

This part feels like another planet to me

you can see cutouts for the trail

All this space, and other than the birds
complete silence

11 hours with this seat and no sore spots today

Normally this area is not as green
a couple months from now it will be much more arid

After that large stretch of nothingness you are greeted by the Columbia!

Storm I outran till I had to head back

Had to change into my rain gear
glad I did, it was about to downpour the remaining 35 miles back home

this sign has been up for years

Met this guy, name is Joe from JBLM recent Washington transplant
We BS'ed for awhile, he was going the opposite direction
had a sign so someone could drive him across the vantage bridge
They really need a bike crossing for this section of the Columbia

was nice to talk to someone crazy enough to be out in it!
Made tentative plans for a bikepacking trip later this year.
Awesome to meet new people through a shared love of cycling

Pictures don't capture rain, but I assure you, it was soggy

Atleast it wasn't sweltering hot. . .

Coopers hawk

The hill out of vantage is:
12 miles long
and 2,000 ft high

Someone bought that brand new at one point

The forecast for "light showers" was wrong

Not a lot of native Cacti in the Pacific Northwest, and these are regional
Pediocactus nigrispinus - Hedgehog Cactus
Beautiful flowers when they bloom

This hill never goes by quickly

Once you reach here, the main challenge is done

Looped back on the John Wayne home
(map looks like a lasso)

Rough-Legged Hawk, they will leave the area soon

Still raining

Almost home

And home!

Longest ride of the year, and the start of many more like it