Monday, August 11, 2014

Mount St. Helens mountain biking

Oh boy, did we get ambitious with this one. We set out to go 'bamping' which is the really creative nickname we have adopted for backpacking/camping trips on mountain bikes. The plan was to bike up the South Coldwater trail in the NW section of the Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument, packing our gear on our backs, and camp beneath Coldwater Peak. The trail was single track and mostly packed dirt with a moderate ascent that might have been okay as just a hike, or just a ride, but with those packs and the heat it was a slog. We made it about 3 miles in and decided that crawling up this trail wasn't the best use of our time or our bikes! So we changed gears - as it were - switching to descent mode and having a go at another trail. The downhill back to the car was exhilarating! Views from South Coldwater Trail:

tiptoeing through the tulips

view of Clearwater Lake

Back at the trailhead we loaded into the car and returned from whence we came to I-5 and South, taking in the views at various lookout points. We drove out to the SW corner of the park and found a great mossy campsite nestled among ferns and firs.

trees that look like a Magic Eye illusion

Yale Lake (North)

Yale Lake (South)

The next morning we hit Ape Canyon Trail up towards the famed Plains of Abraham, a very popular area among mountain bikers 'round these parts. The trail was a steady climb that offered views of Muddy River (altered by lahars in the 1980 eruption), forest, wildflowers, and views of Mt St Helens and Mt Adams.

Ape Canyon below, Mt Adams afar

exposed section of trail just below the Plains

We called it quits at about this point and enjoyed another speedy descent back to the car. We camped another night in the shadow of the volcano and rested our sore bits before heading home the following morning.