the snows have held off long enough for my friend kris and i to embark on an alpine mountain biking excursion. the trail we chose linked 2 peaks and meandered down a long ridge between them.
the initial climb took us about 3 hours. we started up the flank of the mountain in dense new growth and then broke out into this beautiful open alpine forest working on its third millenium.
from there the trail transitioned to rough scree and we did some serious bike a neering. the wind was howling over this saddle and a bike slung over your shoulder acts surprisingly like a sail in those situations.
from the saddle we dropped our bikes and scurried up to the peak and back. after that we just had to clear a bit more scree before the next several hours were filled with this:
an incredible long winding descent through alpine meadows and old burns.
then rolling cross country trails slowly giving up elevation as we descended into a backcountry river valley. our initial plan was to visit the second peak and return directly to the car, but on the trail we encountered an old wooden map that showed another route down around the backside of the mountain instead. feeling adventurous, and not ready to finish our day, we opted to add another loop to the journey.
our beautiful pine needle and packed dirt trail meandered down the flanks of the mountain in an extremely pleasant fashion but although the valley continued, the trail ended at the border so we doubled back lower down, crossed the creek and followed an old doubletrack/singletrack/creek bed out and around the backside of the mountain and back to the road.
the round trip took us 8 hours and brought us through wonderful and varied terrain; both the views and the trail surface changed continually. high mountain trails have a glamour all their own. once again i feel so blessed to have these opportunities within an hour's drive of home. maybe there will be time for one more alpine ride before the snow hits!