Ancient Lakes

What I really needed after 2 weeks of rain and clouds in Seattle were dry rocks, single track, and at least occasional sunshine. The Ancient Lakes area near Vantage, WA, was my goal. With an even later-than-typical start, I was riding at 1:30 pm. It was 35 F and overcast. I couldn’t believe my luck, but the Frenchman Coulee trail started of with lots of downhill chunky fun. I was in heaven – and I couldn’t believe how smooth my 29er hardtail made this rocky trail – and that I was getting away with only 15 psi in the rear. Then, BANG, a rock hit the rim and the rear tire had a hole. Ok, I should have put a bit more air in, I suppose. I added Stan’s, but it kept leaking air. I put in a plug, and voila, after 35 min of pumping and fiddling around, I was back in business. The business being: descending a rocky trail permeated by the scent of sagebrush. Ah!

Overview from Frenchman Coulee trail

Overview from Frenchman Coulee trail

There was a trickle of water in the frozen waterfalls along the way.

Frozen waterfall

Frozen waterfall

Then, the bumpy bumpy South Babcock Bench trail brought me farther northwards towards Ancient Lakes.

The teeth of the Columbia River Valley :)

The teeth of the Columbia River Valley šŸ™‚

Dirt roads and big views

Dirt roads and big views

along the Columbia

along the Columbia

lead to single track hidden in sage, tumbleweed, and grass

lead to single track hidden in sage, tumbleweed, and grass

The Cave B Inn looks like it has some really nice guest rooms cut into the side of the rocks. This winery / Inn also hosts the Gorge Amphitheater. Maybe on a future bike trip some culture can be enjoyed after a ride?

The Gorge Amphitheater from down below.

The Gorge Amphitheater from down below.

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Typical southwestern sunset colors where covering the land.

Sunset time in the Ancient Lakes area

Sunset time in the Ancient Lakes area

After sunset, I hit some really fun single track section going down into the coulees. I was so overdue for some techy rocks, and even with my meager skills it was a blast. The evening grey became black, my light came out, stars were coming out, undulating single track was eaten, and my feet were toasty warm despite it being 25 F. The chemical insole warmers were working great in my Lake winter cycling shoes. I had also installed the Crank Brother’s Shoe Shields on my boots and at urgent dabs I was able to unclip. That was nice!

Stats: 31 miles, 5 hours, 3000 ft. el., GPX track

Riding to Ancient Lakes ride along the Frenchman Coulee trail and Babcock Bench trail.

Riding to Ancient Lakes ride along the Frenchman Coulee trail and Babcock Bench trail.

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One Response to Ancient Lakes

  1. Martin,

    Looks like great country for recovering desert dreams. Your pictures and post are fun to see.

    Lee

    On Sun, Dec 22, 2013 at 12:33 PM, 2wheeltrails

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