Earl Peak and fall scenery

Lately, epic rides seem more of a distant motivation, rather than the present type of riding I aim for. Just give me some quality tracks, lack of people and fantastic scenery, and I’ll be happy. The ride could take on many facets: climbing techy singletrack, snowbiking, or even road riding. But, it would certainly exclude medium-well traveled gravel roads, monotone forests, and mud.

I also wanted to take a peak at the fall colors and stay relatively nearby my car in case I had to cut the ride a bit short. The Teanaway has lot going for it, but it also has a really dusty gravel road section. The clever thing would have been to ride it down to spend as little time as possible on it, but I wanted to ride the Iron Peak trail UP, as last year’s ride down was pretty bumpy and annoying.

Just as I was to get on the Iron Peak trail, a couple equestrians were also saddling up. Do I sneak past, or try myself at staying behind them the entire time? As I slowly walked up, one rider yelled out “The horses are fine with bikes.” – with a smile on his face. Huh?  Turns out these were the most friendly horses, riders, and dogs I’ve met in a very long time. We traded places a couple times riding up (and then down the other side). 20161002_110949.jpg

The weather forecast wasn’t spectacular, but the cool and overcast conditions probably helped me ride a bit more than I would have on a hot sunny day. I was still sweating profusely, wearing next to nothing. It sure was nice to be out here.20161002_114138.jpg

At the top, a cold wind was blowing and after a quick chat with the equestrians about their planned route, I had to excuse myself and hide behind some bushes to get out of the wind. Nothing beats dry clothes to change into – and a wind jacket and a hat.20161002_122630.jpg20161002_123348.jpg

There are a few larches turning color in the picture above – but it certainly wasn’t the color show I was hoping for. A bit farther down, some blueberry bushes were brightening up the trail, however.20161002_12351920161002_124811

The sun started to come out and in a wind-protected spot in the valley, I downed some turkey jerky and bagels. They tasted good, but the jerky seemed to shut down my stomach for the next few hours as I slowly ran out of energy.

As I was descending the rocky portions of the Beverly trail, visions of 27.5+ tires and rear-suspension were being mulled-over in my head. How would a Trek Stache ride? Or a Salsa Spearfish? Or a Pivot Switchblade? And how would I like hauling these up the next hike-a-bike section? Compromises and decisions to be made in a few months.

For now, I was going down this:20161002_130531

and came from hither:20161002_130627

Nothing ever looks steep or rocky, in photos.

The Bean Creek trail was both, but not before stunning my eyes with heaps of red-berry bushes. If I only knew what that were!20161002_132827.jpg

I knew the Bean Creek trail was steep, and didn’t expect to ride much. Turns out that was correct. I may have ridden about 100 feet the entire way. But, it was a pleasant hike, and I am fine with that.20161002_142021.jpg

A little higher, and I see a second peak looming from behind the first golden-colored ridge. What could it be?20161002_145641.jpg

There is the big peak again – on the right. And larches on the left are lit up by the low sun.20161002_153204.jpg

From the top of Earl Peak, there is no doubt that this is Mount Stuart.20161002_155452.jpg

I studied that view for a while, after finding a spot out of earshot from three brutes. From my perch, it went down steeply on the right, revealing quite a color show!20161002_155041.jpg

The trail into the above valley goes along the backside of the ridge on the right. After some pushing that up a small pass, the trail down from the pass to Stafford Creek trail was eminently rideable, and a creek served to fill up my water on the way. Delicious. 20161002_170324.jpg

It was quite the color show on Stafford Creek. Yup, this is what I came for!20161002_174712.jpg

Unfortunately, riding the gravel rode back up the North Fork Teanaway was precisely not what I had come for – but 90% of the drivers were quite reasonable, which also means that 10% were not 😦

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One Response to Earl Peak and fall scenery

  1. Good story and pictures Martin.

    Lee

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