Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Priest Lake Ride Report

The day started innocent enough.  Morning coffee on Reeder Beach at Priest Lake.  Lake was flat, sun was out and I had no committments for the day...except to go ride.  I got a lift to Beaver Creek Camp with an idea to start riding North from there.  Other than planning to head up Plowboy/Navigation Tr and knowing that I needed to end my day back at Reeder Bay Camp, I really was just gonna play things by ear.  I quickly made my way up Plow/Nav Tr and it was in great condition...had 4 down trees.  Got some great views and soaked in some sun.

From this point on, there may be some numbers and simple math...be warned.

While taking in the following view at the top of Upper Priest Lake, I started to plot my next move.  I had just ridden 9 miles.  From Beaver Creek, I would have another 18 miles back to camp.  Meaning if I turned around then, I would have ended with 27 miles.  Respectable day, with lots of sweet singletrack.  But I really had an itch to go ride Trapper Cr which I hadn't done in a couple years.  It is one of my favorite trails.  I forged on feeling pretty good.

Ahh yes, my next stop was on the East side of the Upper Lake.  Another 8 miles from bridge I stopped at before.  Upper Trapper Creek was amazing.  Although lots of bear scat.  Warning more math.  8 more miles from our last math problem, means 16 miles (round trip) from this last leg would give me 44 miles of sweet singletrack for the day if I turned around now.

Things get a little fuzzy here, but I was starting to feel a little tired.  44 miles sounds like more than I wanted to do now.  However, I really wanted to ride the rest of Trapper Creek.  So, I thought I would continue on down to Geisinger Camp and attempt to flag down a boat to haul me across the thorofare.  Then I could make my way over to Plowboy Camp and head back down to Reeder Bay with 31 miles.  31 sounded better than 44.  And a boat ride sounded fun, although somewhat of a gamble.
When I got to Geisinger it was about 3:30 and weather was changing to overcast and breezy.  I waited for 20 minutes and no boats.  I decided to head down to Lion's Head and see if I could find a boat on the other end of the thorofare.  I was already committed to this plan now.

Whereas the upper section of Trapper (to Trapper Camp) was amazing and all clear, the lower section of Trapper to the end was in terrible shape.  I have noticed over the last 3-4 years that as trees go down on that trail, less effort is getting put into clearing them.  This last year has been particularly bad for this area.  Root balls have ripped up sections of the trail and downfall is piled up in layers.  There are some reroutes around some of the worst sections.  Some rideable and some not.  Honestly, I don't know that I have seen such wind damage on a trail.  Sadly, if the last few years are any indicator, this section of trail may be on it's way out.
pics don't really capture the magnitude

Anyways, I did make it to Lion's Head.  I was able to flag down a nice family who haul me across the water.  I jumped on Lakeshore Tr and headed back down to camp.  One note on Lakeshore, it is probably the driest I have ever seen in my life and in awesome shape.  Great day of riding, tired legs and grateful to the generous family who gave me a boat lift.

All this kinda made me think it may be time to bring back the Round the Lake ride...

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