It was tough Friday night trying to figure out where to ride on Saturday. The weather forecast was best for southern Washington, where the Klickitat trail looked like a worthy ride – but the drive seemed a bit long. So, when I drove out of the fog past Cle Elum and saw beautiful Mt. Stuart behind me, I turned around to do Miller Peak and (finally) all of Stafford Creek.
The colors were amazing driving along Hwy. 97, and I was eager to get on the bike. The beginning was frigid, 40 F, and the gradual ride up the forest service road was a welcome warm up. Motorcycles and hunters were also out, or getting ready in their own way. I knew it was hunting season, but seeing the grand tent-villas was a new sight.
A small group of motorcylces passed me on their way up, as I slowly inhaled their exhaust. My breath turned into white fog whenever motorcycles (or snowmachines) pass me. At first, I thought it was just an odd coincidence, but now I notice it every time.
I slowly climbed and came upon a couple hikers as they were out in the fall sunshine. Later that night, I would see them west of here at the campground / trailhead. They went up towards Miller Peak, but I do not know how far they went. Maybe they did all of it.
About half-ways up, I passed a hunter who couldn’t get his motorcycle going. Then, some motorcycles quickly approached from behind, and stuck on my tail, buzzing like they were going to run me off the trail. But, there wasn’t a good spot to pull over for a few seconds. And then, they passed. One after another. Maybe 10 of them spread over a few minutes.
At least, they passed.
Or so I thought.
As they only made it a bit farther before taking a big break. For real?
So, then they passed me again a few minutes later. Never mind going all the way up Miller Peak, it’s time to leave the motorized trail and head over to Stafford Creek.
Stafford Creek trail was quiet and friendly, even the hunters were not grouchy. And except for the two horse crews dragging out stuff, everyone seemed to enjoy themselves and be respectful of other trail users.
What a day – I just wanted to go out for a peaceful ride in the mountains. Which, luckily did come to pass. A mountain bikers told me that they had to push their bikes through snow at the meadow higher up. Snow? ! Yes!
And then pushing began; what a fine way to spend the afternoon.
The views were certainly worth it – and covering some new ground in absolute silence was very enjoyable. Fresh water flowing in the creeks to fill up with. The Enchantments across the valley seemed magical.
Hopefully, the next trip will be on the fatbike. Can’t wait for winter to start!