Sunday, August 16, 2015

weyerhaeuser sign dodge

Spontaneously decided to opt-out of fixing my gutters today, and check a ride off "the bucket list".   The weather was not too hot; just warm, sunny and perfect!  This ride was originally conceived as an "epic status" south thurston county exploration ride all the way from oly and back, but leaving around noon today meant I had to cheat and drive to a start.

'twas a counter-clockwise loop
This dream ride has many years of history.  The many-many times I have been rolling on the Chehalis-Western trail from Yelm to Olympia I have caught peripheral southward glimpses of the power lines coming up and over the Bald Hills, next to what is named on the map as "Baumgard Hill". 

Where there are power lines, there has too be a way...
see this link for the preamble:
Upon heading up Johnson Creek Rd, I noticed that every single yellow Weyerhaeuser gate had a posted sign saying "PERMIT REQUIRED FOR ALL ACCESS".  I was at least glad that there weren't the "no entry due to extreme fire danger" signs like in some of the other forests in our area, but I was contemplating in my mind that some dis-obedience might be needed in order to pull this ride off, and albeit a little nervous.  Upon reaching my entry point, there was indeed the same sign posted at the gate I was planning to go through.  Someone was watching over me as I peered over to an additional gate just to it's left that had no such sign.  Whew!  Threw the bike up and over it, and proceeded up into the forest, without feeling like a criminal.

Less then 3 minutes up the hill, I found out "whoo" that "someone" was, as I witnessed on my left, a barred owl fly from a lower branch in a tree to a close by higher branch to get a better perch to check me out as I rode by. Not sure, but maybe she was spotted owl?  I wish I had taken a pic', or maybe not. Such a wise look with good consolation was needed, this creature had me on track for today's exploration. 

the petroleum pipelines were mowed & looked inviting
"clear-cut hell" is what you might call this Weyerhaeuser rambler up a hill laced with not only a power line "buzz", but natural gas lines and petroleum pipelines that ran all in unison up & over the hill in my planned direction.  But only maybe a mile further up from the owl, I witnessed 8 very large birds flee upon my startle, as I rode by.  They were resting in the blackberry brambles just off the gravel grind as I crossed the natural gas pipeline.  At first I thought they were wild turkeys, but then second guessing myself now, I guess they might have been turkey vultures?  It was an interesting climb to say the least, out in the wildlands now!  I thought to myself, may I even see a bear?  Started doing some loud audibles on my way up to scare any imminent creatures away, until I arrived at this:
Up and up I went and every look back to the south got better and better!

reaching the top of the power lines was a glorious moment, but only to realize that I couldn't really get to the top of "Baumgard Hill". 
 was just a small mound next to the power lines yet it represents a large mountain from far away
Heading north, the views over the crest came into view, and I was ready to "Baum" it! 

heading out down towards the Deschutes river during a very quick descent, had me dropping out onto Vail Loop Rd SE, only to find this sign behind me:
Dodging Weyerhaeuser signs was the theme of the day.
out of the controversial gate, and riding over the Deschutes bridge after this mountain crossing was golden.
time for a swim?
and the views back up the hill, while headed towards the town of Rainier:

Vail Cut Off rd SE
Hitting up the Chehalis Western Trail again to get me back to my car was familiar territory, yet I was in a whole new state of mind as I rode back.  Sometimes a journey south in your own land is worth the adventure.  Sometimes dodging bullets, signs & wildlife while staying true to your instincts is the ultimate goal. A power line descent can become many animals, in this case it was me.  I was an animal today :) cheers!

thank you bucket list and south thurston county, where will we ride next?