West Fork Teanaway with snow

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.

Fall colors

Fall colors

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.

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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.

Crossing the West Fork Teanaway the second time - continuing with soaked shoes from here on.

Crossing the West Fork Teanaway the second time – continuing with soaked shoes from here on.

Some fall colors down low at the start of the West Fork Teanaway.

Some fall colors down low at the start of the West Fork Teanaway.

I thought that that is Jolly mountain, but as it turns out, it wasn't.

I thought that that is Jolly mountain, but as it turns out, it wasn’t.

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.

Lots of mushrooms popping up.

Lots of mushrooms popping up.

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.

View back onto the last crossing of the, the WF before the steep ascent to Jolly Ridge.

View back onto the last crossing of the, the WF before the steep ascent to Jolly Ridge.

The dry-ish shoes lasted for a whole 5 minutes before I ran into snow.

First snow of this year - at 5000 ft.

First snow of this year – at 5000 ft.

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.

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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.

A hiking singletrack had been stomped into the Jolly Mountain trail up on the ridge.

A hiking singletrack had been stomped into the Jolly Mountain trail up on the ridge.

Moon rising over Jolly Mountain.

Moon rising over Jolly Mountain.

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.

Overview of West Fork Teanaway ride.

Overview of West Fork Teanaway ride. I had penciled in the Sasse Mountain trail in case I had too much time and it wasn’t covered in snow – but neither turned out to be true.

Stats: 34 miles, 6k ft., 7:30 hours,  GPX track

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