Thursday, October 31, 2013

Hoodoo Canyon Ride Report

Day 2 of camping and riding in Kettle Falls.  Yesterday was a great day of riding, even with the cool temps, fog and moisture.  Today is totally different with blue skies, dry air and temps 15 degrees warmer.

I wanna preach more about how cool this area and its trails are...but I will wait until the end so you can skip it if ya want.  Hoodoo Canyon sounded super cool on paper when I was studying the map.  Sometimes sounding cool is all it takes to make me jump.  This trail starts at a little campground on Trout Lake.  After a good climb out of the valley floor, you get to elevation and the remaining trail, until the lookout, undulates along steep side hills.  If you don't like exposure (ie: steep drop offs with little room for error), then don't go here.  There were a few places that if ya had slide off on the downhill side, you would have fell for a long ways and it would probably be terminal.

This is one cool canyon, very deep with a creek in the bottom.  Along the way up the canyon you will pass 2 more lakes, although I never saw them, but I will assume they were there.  Uphill from the trail are massive rock formations that reach toward the heavens.  As I rode along, my mind started to wander, as it often does.  In these rock formations were literally hundreds of crevices, caves and dark spots were I imagined that animals could be hiding.  Animals hiding and looking down at their next meal.  And then I started to think that Hoodoo rhymes with Voodoo.  What does Hoodoo really mean?  Sounds Indian.  Could this be a haunted canyon as well?  Shit, I almost went off the trail.  I gotta pay attention, but thought I should google Hoodoo when I get back to camp.  

When you reach the lookout it's a nice downhill back to the valley floor which features a very cool meadow with yet more camping.  Oh, and the "lookout" isn't much different than many of the other places that look out over the canyon, they are all good views.  There is just one particular one called the lookout I guess...unless I missed something.  Anyhow, flying downhill to the meadow means a grind back up on the return flight.  This was a super fun out and back ride with some unique terrain and views.  3 hours well spent.

And now I am gonna ramble a bit, so tune out if ya want.  I don't do this much, but feel inspired every time I visit this area.  I've thought a lot about what continues to draw me here and why I love it so much.  Here are a few thoughts.  One, it is desolate.  Now back home we have desolate areas as well, but looking at the map for this area and you will see trails in the wilderness that are surrounded by wilderness, surrounded by even more wilderness.  Some of the trails are just way out there, far from anything.  I rarely, if ever, encounter anyone when I ride.  Those I do are mostly hunters, campers and woodsmen who I imagine are more surprised to see a mountain biker out there than they would be to stumble upon a grizzly or cat.  When I reach a peak and look out over the miles of land, I see no civilization in any direction.  I love desolation and solitude. 

I also see this area as largely untamed, rugged and wild.  Whatever all those adjectives exactly mean, I feel a sense of me against nature and like I'm riding the wild when I go out.  I guess I like that sense of unknown and adventure.

Lastly, I would say the area is beautiful (duh).  And the trails are often technical and challenging but mostly rideable...more so than the trails around home.  All good things and just add to the 2 above mentioned thoughts.  Ultimately, just cause I like all these things doesn't mean you will though.  You might hate this area and it's trails.  And that is fine.  But you should explore, make your own conclusions and find your own Kettle.

BTW, I was right...and wrong about the meaning of Hoodoo (it has 2 meanings).

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