Fest Reports For Ridemonkey

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Helens9.jpg "Rider rounding through the blast zone, with Mt. Adams in the background"

Facilitated by members representing Northwest Trail Alliance, and Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance, mountain bikers gathered for a 3 day weekend event at the volcano!

Helens1.jpg "Loading up the bob trailers"

Nearly 60 volunteers spent a day working on the trails around Mount St Helens in July. Riders from across the Pacific Northwest working with the Gifford Pinchot Forest Service cleaning up trail. We also were able to help support a local hiker work party. Bikes equipped with BOB trailers, shuttling supplies back from June Lake, we were able to help the [WTA] youth group wrap up their work. Our group really impressed the seasonal Forest Service staff by doing in a day what it would have taken them weeks to accomplish.

Helens3.jpg "Delivery of trail tools"

All of the trails we worked on are multi-use trails that are also open to mountain bikers, hikers and in some cases horseback riders. In some cases the work performed was on sections of trails that have received repeated winter flood damage that provide access to little known sections of some very sweet singletrack. Workers were fueled in their by a generous donation of clif bars. A post work hot dog bbq was provided in partnership with the Mount St Helens Institute, Hansen’s soda and Tim’s chips.

Helens5.jpg "Tipping back a cold one"

Not all was work during the three day weekend. Mountain bikers from as far away as Norway were provided the experience of riding the signature Ape Canyon trail up to the Plains of Abraham. This is probably the most amazing experience one can have around Mount St Helens, riding through old growth forest before breaking out in to a flowered moonscape created by the 1980 eruption.

Helens2.jpg "Volcanic tread and snow"

The Trek demo bike fleet provided riders with the ability to experience a variety of riding styles and conditions with the best mountain bikes Trek has to offer. Several Forest Service and Mount St Helens Institute staff were able to experience riding mountain bikes for the very first time on these awesome bikes. One person who had never ridden a mountain bike before commented that he now knows why we love riding mountain bikes!

Helens6.jpg "Props to the fine folk at Trek!"

During the evenings after the ride and work party participants were able to come together and relax while enjoying New Belgium beer. On Friday’s gathering, interns from the Institute explained what happened during the 1980 eruption that help make the landscape around the mountain what it is today.

Helens8.jpg "David A and 2010 Fest attendees"

Providing an opportunity for positive interaction between mountain bikers, National Forest and Institute staff was one of the goals of the weekend. This was accomplished in great form. Providing riders with awesome rides was partially accomplished because several rides could not be held because of the lingering late season snow pack which was unusually heavy this year. Otherwise the Ape Canyon and Smith Creek trails were in prime condition. Those who rode the Butte Camp trail now know why it is such a great trail to ride. Little known Wright Meadow trail challenged those who rode it. Friday’s rides saw temperatures as high as 98 at the bottom of Smith Creek. Nature’s air conditioning was turned on for Sunday’s rides after the cooling marine air invaded the canyons around the mountain and provided relief from the sweltering heat of Friday. Thanks to all involved, Mt. St. Helens is such a wonderful place to ride, sharing it with others in hopes you gain as much admiration for her, as i do.

Helens11.jpg "Riding towards the clouds on Butte Camp Trail"

Written by organizer David Anderson Photos courtesy of David Anderson



Kettle R1.jpg

Peter J President FTTRC leading riders down Jungle Hill Trail

High in the mountainous back country in Northeast Washington, The Kettle Crest Trail. Top shelf riding awaiting, as you ramble among pristine sub-alpine terrain, providing an epic mountain riding experience. This year Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance with support from the Fat Tire Trail Riders Club in Spokane converged for a long weekend of riding, stewardship, and relaxation.

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Paula Lee representing Pend Orielle Pedalers and Katy C from Idaho ride on Kettle Crest South

Riders from across Washington State, Idaho and Canada, converged for 5 days with 4 rides, free camping, and a work party day to accrue some positive trail karma. Every year more and more people from a broad region make the journey. A festive gathering, Kettle Crest provided a perfect setting for another outstanding event.

This years rides showcased the great diversity of the area. From the first 2 days of riding through old-growth pine forest on 13 Mile Trail to topping out at a lung-busting 7000 feet atop Copper Butte on the second day. The weekend rides of the Jungle Hill Loop, where one of Washington States best downhill trails provide wide smiles, and Snow Peak Cabin Ride where the views are as epic as the rocky tread is gnarly.

These 2 rides and many others in the area can be found on the Wiki pages on the Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance Website. For other fun riding opportunities in the Spokane area, visit the FTTRC website.

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Members of the Backcountry Horsemen, Shellee from Kettle Falls Forest Service, and Mire representing Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance, taking a break

Our mt. bike groups gathering to collaborate with the Colville Forest Service, rolling the sleeves up and working with the Backcountry Horsemen. One of our tasks were to assist them in clearing rocks from Edds Mountain Trail. These events really showcase the virtues of volunteerism and stewardship, and it's a fine demonstration of all groups working together, for the betterment of the lands.

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Timothy B Trail Crew Leader illustrating a task-plan to prepare the work party

Three other groups assembled that day, nearly a dozen riders set out on bikes to brush and clear fallen timber on trails, while other set out ahead to create rock cairns higher up on Edds Mountain Trail. While the remaining riders did some tread work, by reshaping the trail to a more sustainable grade, and reinforcing a seasonal water channel by seating stones for a rock solid path crossing.

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Al C and pup at Jungle Hill Campground

Relaxing by campfire, the Jungle Hill Campground made for a wonderful retreat. Trading stories with new friends after sharing great times and making lasting memories. Thanks to Ridemonkey and for our other gracious sponsors New Belgium Brewery http://www.newbelgium.com/, Diamondback Bikes http://www.diamondback.com/, and Hermosa Tours http://www.hermosatours.net/ for their help in supporting these free grassroots events.

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Unfortunately as consistent to the norm, the relatively short history of mountain biking is one of losing access. We are many times faced with the uncertain prospect of losing the ability to ride bikes to explore our beautiful landscape and satisfy that adventurous outdoors free-spirit that resides in us all. Kettle Crest and Mt. St. Helens to varying degrees are not the exception sadly enough. With the understanding that there is concern for the future interest in our Parks and public lands across the nation of the United States, as the age of video games and urban sprawl appears to draw a bleak picture. That of a generation that is poor of health, and disconnected and uncaring of our wild places.

Kettle R4.jpg

That's why support of these events is appreciated. Mountain biking by default, is all about healthy living, and growing a stronger connection of our environment. These events are making a difference. Thanks to all who came out, as always, good times.

Written by organizer Timothy Banning Photos courtesy of Jon Jantz http://www.wildlight.org