Butler again (2016/02/02)

Went out solo on Tuesday. Was supposed to go back out to Tugwell E, but wanted to see if Butler was open. It was, so I went up it to see if the snow had disappeared, and it certainly was gone between the 6 and 8km markers where I got stopped last time. So I kept going…

 It was a fairly “agressive” ride. Looking back, I was probably overcompensating for having taken it pretty easy on Sunday with Tony. First real exploration was the W spur south of where Tugwell should intersect Butler. I’d always stopped at the ditch before, but with the new tires and less fear of getting stuck I rode through. (The quads have an alternate path just up the hill, but that is AWD steep.) It is a nice little old road on the far side, but it got steep and washed out after about 3/4 km. Was hoping it would lead to a tugwell connection, but old topo maps suggest otherwise.

Ran down the North side forks just before (E of) the West Leech (?) fork with the big CRD gate. One was badly washed out, I think the other was blocked by trees. Both MIGHT lead to “interesting places”.

After that, I tried to get up to the Mt Muir summit again. Was chasing a waypoint on the GPS that I thought was the summit, but was in fact the place I got stuck last time. Got stuck there again. New tires work much better in the snow, but even three times “not damn much traction” is “not much traction”. Got caught in a rut and came very close to losing the bike over an embankment. Need to get/make a self rescue kit… looks simple enough, Prusik knots/loops seem pretty core to making it all work.

Yikes. Not slow enough.
Too much snow to get up Mt Muir. Stuck at SAME spot.

After that I went looking for my Muir – Butler connection, but it looked like it was covered in fairly heavy snow… but there may have been another connection, see “Drat” on the map.

Doubled back (again) and took the North most fork where Butler splits about six ways. That led into a wonderful chunk of old logging road. Snow was fairly heavy at the far end. Came out via some new logging roads that were not on the GPS and under 4 to 6 inches of snow.

Gorgeous old logging road.

Was getting late by then so headed back down Butler. Passed a couple white pickups headed out. Should have stayed ahead of them, as they likely locked the gate behind them… but I got distracted by another trail. Honestly I stopped because of an overgrown trail that might have lead into the Scout area, but I went haring off down the two branches on the other side. One of which goes down to the creek, and the other is a neat hill climb with a great view.

Got stuck behind the locked gate. Pulled the mirrors off and managed to get the bike under the counterweight side of the gate. Almost had the bike out when suddenly it decided that it wasn’t going to run the starter. Was able to brute force lift it back onto the road, and tried to jump start it… but some of the circuits that kill the starter also kill the ignition, so I didn’t spend much time with that. I had a quick look at the clutch and kickstand switches, but it was getting dark and I had forgotten I had a head lamp in my backpack.

Ended up stashing the bike off the road, calling a taxi to get me back into Sooke, and my wife came and fetched me home. Went back in the morning with the trailer and retrieved the bike.

p.s. Embarrassing: it looks like I simply brushed the kill switch while man-handling the bike around the gate.