Sunday, December 8, 2013

yes it is magical to live near “mountains”

It's cold outside, like ice cold, have you noticed?  Today one of Jeff’s rentals was suffering from frozen plumbing, so the sunday swan creek build day got cancelled.  Morgan had just recently mentioned there was a downed tree on Pinnacle Trail, so I decided to head up into the local hills to investigate. 
Ever since I was little I’ve always wanted to live near mountains.  I remember as a kid, riding in the car one day with my mom, seeing a certain unique cloud formation on the horizon that resembled a mountain range with peaks – and how magical it felt to pretend we lived in a place with mountain ranges close by.  That was long ago, far, far away – back in Baltimore, Md.

The Black hills and their foothills, aren’t necessarily “mountains”, especially in comparison to the Olympics or Cascades, but to be able to ride from my house to them and climb up into a beautiful fir/cedar/hemlock forest definitely holds a magical feeling.

Also on the agenda for today was to check out the new routes that have been cut in by our ever so diligent local diggers. 

Holy shit!, they have really done a lot of work, not only with the extended traverse up hill grade trail, but also with a sweet line, in the same corridor that I’ve been planning a route in for a long time
that makes its way all the way from a far west lookout peak all the way down close to where pinnacle ends.  I was impressed to say the least.

The ground was frozen which made for slightly slick ice crystal dirt.  As well, the frozen ground was as hard as concrete, which completely removed the cushiony feeling of the forest loam that typifies our closest trails.

Headed up pinnacle to check out the downed tree, and discovered that someone had already sliced her up, 
hell yeah!, thank you Nathan!!!  And, was fun to walk up the techy downhill segment to see how it is getting nicely more worn in, to the point where all of the gnarly root systems are becoming more pronounced - which is awesome.  Made it to the top only to meet a xc rider on a moots just coming up off of the road climb.  He said he’s been riding the area for about a year, as he lives close by over in the Ken Lake neighborhood.

Such a gratifying feeling to think back 3 or 4 years ago, when a few of us had a dream that these “sub-black hills” would be an actual “destination” for the local riding scene, and to realize that here and now - that dream is an actual reality.

Bombs away!, as we dropped in.  I’m fucking in love with pinnacle trail, the flow factor and sustained slight downhill, plus the fact that when I cut her in, I actually weeded all of the salal roots out of the soil by hand, which really has made for a sustainably buff trail surface over the years.  By the time we neared the bottom, the stoke factor was in full effect, god I love that trail!  Thanks to everyone that has contributed to keeping her alive and running well.

I then headed to Trader Joes for a few groceries, as lasagna was on the menu for tonight.  The magical feeling that I longed for as a kid (mentioned earlier) was manifested there in one sweet moment.  While I was riding through the parking lot and pulling up to the bike rack, I looked over my shoulder to see the sunset gleaming through the trees up in the “mountains” where I just had been riding.   My endorphins were still feeding off of the “singletrack high” that I had just experienced.  Yet here I was in a town, at a store, with a bunch of people and their cars, winter jackets and holiday grocery bullshit; that have no idea how magical the woods are up in those hills that exist just a short mile away.


  1. Great piece! I can feel the post-ride stoke from here. It's awesome to be close to great hills, and SBH is a good set of them. I miss Pinnacle!