An odd title, but a blog entry has to have a title! And this ride was a big lollipop starting in Cashmere and followed the Washington Backcountry Discovery Route over Chumstick Mountain to Ardenvoir. Then it went back via the Entiat Summit Rd. to Chumstick Mountain and down to Cashmere. This ride really did me in at 85 miles and 13,500 ft. elevation gain. But for some reason, I’d already like to repeat it – sans snow drifts.
A couple weeks ago, I took advantage of this area being the only place in Washington that wasn’t raining and rode to Chumstick Mountain. I only went to Chumstick Mountain that time as it was getting late, there was still quite a bit of snow, and I was getting cold. This weekend, there was still some snow in the shady north-sloping portions on the Entiat Summit Rd., but good conditions otherwise. Instead of writing two blogs, I am mixing pictures from both rides. If you really want to figure out what picture was taken on which day then look at the filenames. Overall, the pictures from 2 weeks ago show a lot more flowers and more dramatic weather. What makes for good pictures, doesn’t necessarily translate to good riding conditions, though, and I was glad that it was a mild and sunny day on the second ride instead of the gloomy & stormy afternoon from before.
From Cashmere, the ride up Nahanum Canyon Rd. is one of these idyllic road-bike rides that I am sure lots of people do. However, I only saw one roadie, so maybe the out-of-the-way location and rather short 5 miles and 1500 ft. keep it from seeing much use as a road-bike climb.
Once up to that first saddle, the WABD route goes through forest for a while before coming out in the open again near Chumstick Mountain.
Where there was snow two weeks ago, the road was now bare:
The really big views comes right after the saddle point by Chumstick mountain.
This Entiat Summit Rd. practically yells “Riders wanted!”
I enjoyed the nice view from the top, and then it was easy pedaling with only a few pushes through snow-covered patches. Glacier Peak made it into every picture that I took up there. I was adding and removing layers whenever the road went from downhill to uphill – which got a bit tiresome after a few times.
I missed one turn going downhill and had to backtrack 500 ft. of elevation. Being stubborn, I decided to not take off my warm clothes and just “quickly” ride back up. I finally overheated and had to remove my warm clothes. Rode 10 yards, and found that there was a long downhill ahead. Put clothes back on. Ride downhill, then the road goes back up and notice that the sun is baking me again. Yes, jacket and hat come back off again. After a while, I reached Moe Ridge Road and appreciated how the WABD route is laid out to take one along the ridges of the Entiat.
The 3500ft. of elevation were quickly lost on NF5801 to Ardenvoir. Beautiful. I did meet one quiet motorcycle heading up as we passed on the wrong sides of the road. All good. Here are some of the sights to see
Upon reaching the valley floor, a small bridge crosses over the Mad River. I would like to find out what the reason for that name is.
Before heading back, my goal was to stop in at Cooper’s cafe and store. I initially went the wrong way (north), before asking a farmer for directions; taking the scenic route. Cooper’s is a general store and cafe in one building, with an attached Post Office. It even has its own ZIP code. Neat. The store & cafe is open 11 am – 7 pm, 7 days a week, all year long. (The hours may be slightly longer during summer.)
At this point, I had 47 miles and almost 8000 ft. of climbing behind me. Roughly 5000 ft. of elevation gain lay still in front of me. Onwards we pedal – down the Entiat River Road. The valley looks pretty well off, lots of new buildings, green lawns, blooming orchards, and nicely paved streets.
My return route was via the Entiat Summit Road (called Mills Canyon Rd. in the beginning). The turn-off for the road is tiny and would be easy to miss. After a gentle grade it becomes more rugged – yeah!, but I am beginning to feel tired – boo. No time for stops as it’s getting late – so I start walking a few miles, and probably push my bike 3000 ft. of elevation.
Unfortunately, near sunset it clouded over so that this concludes the slightly excessive photo series. The rest of the ride went like this: Push the uphills, roll the downhill and then decide that the road really should be leveling out now. I had done my fair share of climbing today. I was pretty upset at the road. I realized that it was quite silly, but I was mad. After all, I deserved better than pushing my bike at 10 pm in the middle of nowhere. I had climbed all day already! Why do I come up with crazy big rides like this all the time? What is wrong with me? And why can’t this road be reasonable? And then, at last, the road did level off and followed the contour lines of the ridge. But here, the snow hadn’t melted yet, so instead of pushing up hills, I was now pushing through snow. Lovely. Just 2.5 miles to go until the final downhill. Keep pushing, try to eat more, and sit down when all else fail. Don’t mind the 2.7 mph average speed…
Nevertheless, the final downhill back to Cashmere was reached. I had learned a couple weeks ago that this is a cold and long descent, so I had come prepared by bringing lots of warm clothes, including chemical foot warmers, shoe covers and warm gloves. All were put on and the 12 miles and 4000 ft. descent went fast and were fun. Halfway down, I met a car going up. Whoops? It was around 10:30 pm and this woman was out looking for her run-away horse. All I could tell her that I hadn’t seen it, but that I hope she finds it. How does one look for a horse and then take it back down 4000 ft. at night?
By the time I reached my car, it was 11 pm, making this a 14 hour adventure. All I wanted was to drink and eat, and go to bed, but the latter was still a 3 hour car drive away. And all stores were closed in Cashmere, and Leavenworth, and so I drove on. My eyes were beginning to drift, so I knew I had to pull over soon. My goal was the rest area a bit up on Highway 2 from Leavenworth. I could sleep there and then keep going. I was hoping that there would be a vending machine at the rest stop. Bingo. 75 cents per can of pop. The machine takes coins and $1 bills? Rats. I only have a $5. Go back to car, try to sleep a while. But, I am too thirsty, so I get up again with the intent of trying to buy one can of soda for $5. A guy pulls up in a Jetta next to me and I ask if he has change for a $5. Nope, he doesn’t. Alright. But, he gives me 4 quarters for free! Yay! Diet Coke was the choice, and it woke me up. Thank you random person!
GPX track (corrected for some routing errors and battery issues)