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!
There was a trickle of water in the frozen waterfalls along the way.
Then, the bumpy bumpy South Babcock Bench trail brought me farther northwards towards Ancient Lakes.
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?
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