Mountain Biking and Bushwhacking Gales Creek

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Winter is just around the corner and the Pacific Northwest has been getting hammered with rain. Many of our weekends have been spent on the road bikes, looking at the weather and praying for a day to hit the trails. Just when it starts to get you down a window opens and your sitting in the back seat on your way to the trails. I am staring out the window. My eyes fixate on the clouds above. It’s been a couple weeks since I’ve been on the Mountain bike. The separation is sobering. I know next to nothing about where we are headed. It’s better that way.

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We’re in the Tillamook Forest at the Gale Creek trail head. It’s really cold out and we’re all trying to figure out how much gear to wear. The creek is a river and the it rose during the storm is incredible. From here things just kept getting more interesting.

We make our way to the trail head. The dirt is good and I am tripping out on how fucking beautiful the forest is. Trees are down on the trail. One after another; yet we push forward. There are some runners off in the distance. We’re not alone. As they pull into focus we learn that they ran into a avalanche up ahead and turned around. The trail is gone and theres no way around it. Still, we pedal forward determined to see this wash out ourselves.

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The creek is a river and we need to cross it. It’s cold out and no one wants to get there feet wet. I am indifferent and accept my wet fate. Michael on the other hand…. was determined to keep his feet dry. Soon after we find ourselves confronted with the washed out trail. Theres only one way around it and that way is up. This is the part of the ride where mountain biking turns into bushwhacking. Every mountain bike ride should be this awesome!

The bushwhack worked and we’re back on the trail. The rest of the ride was made up of incredible single track with dozens of water crossings. Too many to count. Jeff led the effort in clearing the trail with a packable saw and together we took care most of the down trees. I learned an important lesson on being a good trail steward and definitely have plans to start carrying a hand saw on future rides.

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You can download information and the trail map to Gales Creek here : http://tillamookforestcenter.org/resources/Gales_Creek_Trail.pdf