2016.06.27

Summer Adventure - John Wayne Pioneer Trail

Category: Outdoors


It is summer time now, so that means it is also Summer Adventure time. This year's adventure had been on my to-do list for a while: ride all the way across Washington on the (confusingly named) John Wayne/Pioneer/Iron Horse State Park Trail.

Chris met up with me in Seattle and we set out, quite literally across the street from my office building. From the Puget Sound, we would ride through Seattle and the outlying suburbs, up over Snoqualmie Pass, down to the Columbia River, and on across Eastern Washington all the way to the Idaho border just south of Spokane.

(I didnt take a ton of pictures because we were riding non-stop most of the time, but here are a few to give you an idea.)

We rode through Seattle that evening and camped out somewhere near Preston. The next morning, we were supposed to head towards Fall City, and our map indicated a possible bush-wacking route through the forest. We forged ahead but eventually came to an old decrepit railroad trestle that no longer spanned the gorge. We tried to bushwack down to the bottom and up again, but it was impassable. We wandered around for a couple of hours trying to find a way out without backtracking, and eventually found a super steep climb up to a golf course and a way out. Not recommended.

Once back on track, we made our way up to Rattlesnake Lake and the start of the old railroad bed that we would be following for the rest of the trip. We had a brief issue with Chris' bike (still kind of broken from our ill-fated WaMBR Trail trip a couple of years back) but got it sorted and headed out. It was raining now as we pedalled slowly up the pass.

Heading out up over Snoqualmie Pass

As we rode, it started to rain harder and harder and we were drenched and cold. Eventually we go to the Snoqualmie Tunnel, the highlight of the entire trip. The 2.3 mile tunnel is completely dark, but it was also a welcome relief from the rain. Once through, we began our descent down the other side of the pass. By the time we reached Hyak, we were both chilled to the bone so we spent some time warming up before heading on. We rode around some beautiful lakes and ended up camping near Lake Easton.

The next morning we rode on and the sun came out as we pedalled along side the upper reaches of the Yakima River.

Somewhere on the eastern slopes of the Cascades

We rode through Ellensburg and then on toward the Yakima Firing Range. This was supposed to be a tough section with no water and we were not allowed to stop (since it was an active firing range), so we stopped just short and camped for the night.

The next day, the ride through the firing range was actually quite fun. There were lots of rocks to avoid and some fun descents, and even a few more old decaying tunnels.

Chris trying to decide to enter the scary tunnel or not

Railroad being reclaimed by nature

We reached the Columbia River and Chris decided that this trip was just too boring (we really just got up and pedalled on the same railroad bed every day, all day). Since we had a car waiting at the river anyway, we decided to end our trip before completing the eastern portion. Although he was right that it was a bit boring, I was still pretty bummed. Even though I wanted to keep going, I ended up earning the Lost Paddle Award for planning a too-boring adventure this year.

Previous Summer Adventures:


 

@briandunnington


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