The West Fork Teanaway trail has been on my list for a while, but reports of 8 water crossings together with the suggestion of waiting until fall when the water level receeds, kept me from trying it earlier. This Sunday, I parked at The Last Resort, and rode up the forest roads to the West Fork trailhead. The sun was lighting up the beautiful fall colors and ~50 F temperature made the riding very pleasant.
At the first view point, I didn’t see any snow nearby, only some up at the farthest peaks. I figured that this ride would be a go.
After being extremely careful not to get my feet wet on the first crossing of the West Fork, by the second crossing there was no other way than to step right in it and get wet. I let the water run out of my shoes after crossing it and rode on.
The WF trails goes sometimes pretty close to the edge of rocky drops, but for the most part, the trail is not that high above the river. Delicious looking mushrooms were sprouting everywhere.
About half the time, the WF was overgrown and covered with loose sand, rocks, brushes, and branches. Some water crossings were quite deep – I really wouldn’t attempt this if I knew that the river was running strong. After the last water crossing, I took a 45 min. break to dry out my shoes, put on dry socks and fix my front brake pad which had been rubbing badly.
The dry-ish shoes lasted for a whole 5 minutes before I ran into snow.
From there on up, the snow got deeper and my feet were cold and wet, again. Of course, the snow made everything look twice as pretty and it was well worth the extra effort to push my bike through the blanket of white.
Up on Jolly Ridge trail, I turned west and tried riding on the packed snow trail. It took me a while to remember how to ride on snow, and then it was fun, if not a bit scary at times.
On the way down, I put on all my warm clothes and stayed warm except for my icy and wet feet. Still, a good ride out in the Teanaway backcountry.
Stats: 34 miles, 6k ft., 7:30 hours, GPX track