Just a little “moto” ride out in west Sooke. We had some rough ideas of what we wanted to ride, and picked a hard path from the Clark area to the East Muir bridge. From there we went looking for a track that James and I had exited on (2018/03/30). We didn’t find it, instead we found a trail marked as “Something Nasty”…
Click title to show trackToday
No pix, I continued my tradition of losing stuff, and lost my phone. I should have video.
As is common, navigation was largely by committee vote, so not always a straight line.
We entered via the normal “Clark area” entrance (which I never show), up the pavement to Otter Main and up to the Dogpatch den with a tiny dogleg. The consensus was to show Mike the downhill loop that Luke had pointed us at, and that James and I cleared a few weeks back. After couple loops around the gravel pit and then we backtracked a bit because I’d voted loudly to run up the “Old Young Lake” “road”, which Karl ran down a couple weeks back (and video’d). I hadn’t been up it since early 2017 (one of the few rides with Brendon) and wanted to see it when it wasn’t covered in snow. That went well enough, it is somewhat technical. We found a branch Mike wanted to explore on a mountain bike, and on reviewing the GPX track we may want to try for the Trapp mountain summit.
Unfortunately, James took a spill exploring a side track that Mike thought might lead to a viewpoint. James went up a rock face that wasn’t as dry as it looked, and took something of a hit to his lower back, which appeared to grow more painful as the day went on.
From Old Young Lake road we tied into the normal track to the old Bill James dam and the lake above it. Since we were close, and looking for a lunch stop, we rode up to lake (imagine the great pictures I lost here).
From the lake it was a short backtrack to the track over the ridge to the west (and the next un-named lake [this one shallow]). James and I had walked the far (west) end of this track, and it was nasty loose steep rock. I filed this in my head as “downhill only”, which is why we hit it from the east, which only involves one steep bit. It turned out Mike recognized the track (he’s got a pretty amazing memory and good sense of direction) as something he’d ridden a while back (before the 4x4s turned it into “loose” rock).
From the end of that ridge crossing, it was north at the lake and around it to the west down the track that James and I had already done/cleared. That really is a nice track for technical riders.
Unfortunately, that ends on the east side of Tugwell creek about 5km north of the main creek crossing. A couple years ago there was ford right around there, but the access to it is now covered in slash, and the same might be true on the far side. We spent a few minutes looking for the old crossing, and to see if there might be access, but we didn’t find anything.
So we headed south back toward the main crossing, but veered off to an alternate crossing instead. I remembered the trail to the crossing and got ahead of Mike and James. They apparently saw a reasonably big bear ahead of me, but all I got to see was a cub on the far side of the creek.
The crossing was basically dry. I do have video of the crossing, which was basically a non-event. We/I took a few minutes to smooth out a path by removing the tallest rocks and filling in the deepest holes. My thoughts on having crossed it was “I need to practice more of that”. I didn’t manage to get up on the pegs and paddled through it. James and Mike rode it easily.
From there it was back north up Tugwell main to almost exactly opposite where we were on the other side. Then we “plunged in” to the maze of back trails and started to work our way west a little north of the “Tugwell Spur” (which was great, but is getting consumed by logging). We found a small lake and another pair of riders (going the other direction: east). After that we had one false start on a trail that looked nice, but then turned into a horrible narrow steep rut that we’d never have been able to get back up. We back-tracked and headed up a track that I think Mike and his friend called “Glacier” (so I’ve labeled it as such in OSM). There’s one bit in there that looks really nasty, but Mike rode straight up it. James (with his injury) and I took the bypass which is pretty simple. We’d ridden this track in the other direction, and figured this chunk would be hard … but I hadn’t looked at the bypass. Now that the track is labelled in OSM, navigation should be pretty simple.
Glacier dropped us back onto Tugwell spur past the logging, and from there it was up towards the Muir East area. I talked the guys into taking the downhill route that comes out on Muir East south of the bridge. (And as usual, my bike mis-behaved on the downhill, it stalls while idling and isn’t happy to restart, it seems to need some throttle like it’s flooded, I suspect the float needle valve needs replacing.) On getting to the bottom Mike was keen to try riding up it at some future opportunity. From here we headed to the East Muir bridge for another short break.
Discussion about where to go from here basically came down to seeing if we could get up a steep downhill that James and I had exited from a couple weeks back. But that was based on the premise that we could find it. We headed the right way (but not far enough). At the end of the wrong spur we found a trail that was labeled on my GPS (and later we found a matching sign) as “Something Nasty”. I was keen to try it, partly because I’d been asked if I had ridden it.
Well, “Something Nasty” was well named, at least for the direction we rode it. It had several section that I doubt I would have gotten up without help. Mike and James did a better. Mike had a brand new rear tire on which had to have helped. My stock gearing didn’t do the clutch any favours (and now the clutch is feeling a bit sticky). I’ll have to get to the video, because there really isn’t much to say in black-and-white, but naming this blog entry for this part of the ride makes perfect sense.
We were all a bit beat when we finally got back to real dual-track. I wasn’t sure if we were sticking to the plan of riding back across the creeks to where we came in, or if we were just heading for the highway. As it turned out, the choice wasn’t ours to make.
We crossed Muir creek, but none of us noticed immediately that there was only a thin layer of trees (50 feet?) on the far side. The clear cut had come right down the slope and wiped out the trail to the east. I’m sure it’ll get re-opened fairly soon, but for now, it’s all gone. I’m pretty sure the Krashed KLR trail is gone too.
So we back-tracked across the creek, and headed out the base of Muir Main to the highway, and our various homes. I was not happy to find that the hot tub was cold :( .