Escape to the shrub-steppe

After 2 fun trips to ride Blanchard Mountain and the Chuckanut Ridge near Bellingham, WA, it was time for something else. The weather agreed, and with a forecast of rain and snow for Saturday, I looked eastwards for drier grounds. Getting to ride at Ancient Lakes, near Vantage, WA, provided enough stimulation to drive the 2 hours there. By the way, the drought of the Pacific NW this fall has been almost completely washed off the charts by the heavy rain here the last week. Here’s the snow level near the I-90 pass:

Sasse Ridge, just north of the I-90 Hyak pass, has almost caught up on snow (blue line).

Sasse Ridge, just north of the I-90 Hyak pass, has almost caught up on snow (blue line).

My loop started atop the French Coulee trail. I love this beginning, just get off the freeway, get on bike, and bounce around on rocks. Dry sharp rocks. After that, a stream crossing gets the bike wet, followed by some deep dry sand to exfoliate my drive train.

The sandy part of the Frenchman Coulee trail.

The sandy part of the Frenchman Coulee trail.

Now that my bike was properly disinfected from potential algae growing on it, it was off to ride the South Babcock trail northwards to Ancient Lakes. Some gun nuts were firing away some fairly heavy artillery just past Sunland Road, with ammunition flying parallel to the trail! and hitting the ground 100 yards in front of where the trail crosses a bit farther west. Geez! What is wrong with some people.

As this was my third time here, I made it a point to explore a few new trails. What a delight this place is. And the hazy sunshine with dry, 40F air was also appreciated. My lunch stop was just past here:

Nearby Dot Lake.

Nearby Dot Lake.

Now then, time to get to the real Ancient Lakes and drop down on the fun and rocky single track (no rocks are shown in the picture):

Just above the drop into the Ancient Lakes.

Just above the drop into the Ancient Lakes.

Solid gold.

Ancient Lakes #2 and #3.

Ancient Lakes #2 and #3.

Little trails winding through this beautiful shrub-steppe.

Ancient Lake #1.

Ancient Lake #1.

Single track meandering through boulder fields towards Dusty Lake.

Single track meandering through boulder fields towards Dusty Lake.

What a nice ride. I wish I knew of more places like this.

On the way back, I took the Sunland Road down to the Columbia to check out what’s down there. Lots of new construction, but it didn’t feel like a friendly community. Just houses.

Stats: 40 miles, 4000 ft. el., 6 hours, GPX track

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One Response to Escape to the shrub-steppe

  1. Hi Martin, I’m glad you got exfoliated and did’t get snowed in on the way over there and last but not least didn’t get shot by the gun nuts firing at your trail!

    It looks really nice there though I think 40 degrees would dampen my enthusiasm as a spoiled desert rat.

    Colin was here yesterday. We took a hike up A mountain. He was enjoying the AZ sunshine. No regrets though, he really likes the new job in Seattle.

    I’m working away on the barn project with Fernando. Also making a steel tree 10 feet high painted brightly. It’s a special order.

    The big birthday is coming up. I think I’ll have about 100 people. I haven’t done a big party like that.

    thanks for sending the latest update in 2 wheel trails!

    Lee

    On Mon, Feb 24, 2014 at 2:26 PM, 2wheeltrails

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