A whole day free from work! Sunshine! Fall colors!
Thick fog lay over Seattle on Saturday morning, so I decided to head east to Cle Elum. The fog was still thick there – so I drove on eastwards until the fog disappeared a few miles down the road and saw Mt. Stuart in my rearview mirror. Decision made: turn around and do a Miller Peak loop. I started the ride dressed for icy cold weather to warm up – and in case I was still out after sunset. Nothing like fresh legs at the beginning of a ride and sunshine. The ride started with a bit of dirt road and puddles that had frozen crusts. Then, the Iron Bear trail takes off at 10% grade. The higher I went, the warmer it got. Soon, I took off my last shirt – and I was still sweating.
Went past a few hikers, most were in a good mood. The switchbacks on the Teanaway Ridge trail were fun, I could tell that my skills had improved since last year when I rode this, and that made me happy.
Even the rocky chute on the County Line trail seemed easier than last year. Here’s Miller Peak presenting itself nicely.
Met a couple moto guys – their vehicles weren’t terribly noisy and we could talk in normal voices. Then rode the County Line trail, which last year I had mostly walked due to the rocky/gravel sections. This didn’t seem so bad this year and so I rode it. Perhaps the trail was just in better condition?
On the way, I met another hiker, Don, who was full of trail info and we chatted for a while. It’s rare to find people who are more chatty than me, but he certainly was. He warned me to get ready for the cold breeze up at Miller Peak. I heeded his warning and put some clothes back on :)
The view from the top was stunning. The breeze was indeed pretty chilly, so I laid behind some rocks, out of the wind to look at Mt. Stuart.
Mt. Stuart is ridiculously sharp and pointy looking. I don’t know how people climb that. Must be quite an adventure. After a few minutes, I had enough of the breeze and went back down.
Then, I rode down the Miller Peak trail and went up Stafford Creek trail to try to ride the rocky sections there – but utterly failed. I didn’t even make it to the intersection – just gave up, and went back via Iron Bear trail. Iron Bear is so steep in the end, so I walked it. Finally, a nighttime descent down the other side sealed the deal. The temps dropped rapidly to 40F, so once again I bundled up for the fast ride down the dirt road. Brrr.