Well first off, I will say we did everything that Al suggested we not do. That means we parked at Harbicks, rode to the bottom of Olallie and rode up trail to begin. It is not an impossibly steep trail, but very taxing. Long sections of it are all I wanted to do in Granny, but not steep enough to make me want to get off and walk. At the intersection with O'Leary, we decided to cross over to Castle Rock, since the ranger district told us on the phone, and the web site also confirmed it had been cleared. (Al suggested we ride the road up Olallie, summit Horsepasture, maybe continue out Olallie a ways and the descend the same trail. I bet that would have been fun!)
The Ranger lied! Logs were cut out from Olallie to the base of Macduff Mountain, but there were lots of places we couldn't see any sign of a trail. Ferns and everything stickery the Cascades can grow were oftentimes over the handlebars and sometimes overhead. At the base of Macduff we searched high and low for more than 30 minutes before Roland spotted some evidence of a continuation. That is where the "clearing" stopped altogether. From that point on, there were no logs cut out either. It became a bit like a death march. Roll a few feet, or don't even bother getting on the bike because of more downed logs and limbs. The absolute worst section for logs down was the two mile section of switchbacks at the very end of O'Leary that I was so looking forward to riding. We climbed and scrambled over 100's of limbs/logs.
I should add that on the summit of Macduff we were charged by a wild animal! Roland Me and Becca were in that order on the trail commiserating about how this trail is in such poor condition and yet it has such terrific potential when Roland spotted the creature running full tilt up the trail and straight for us! A half grown bunny ran literally under Roland, behind his front wheel then past me and Becca before diving under a log. Roland was incredulous. I pointed out that the rabbit was obviously more scared of something else more than he was scared of us, probably that mountain lion that was right behind him. Poor Roland, his neck is sore today from the whiplash he got whirling around. He will probably claim it got sore from one of his heroic otb's.
At the road at the bottom of O'Leary we toyed with the idea of taking road all the way to Harbicks, but decided to take a look at Castle Rock trail. It was overgrown is some spots, a few logs down, but other spots were very nice. Glad we went that way. We didn't summit King's Castle but thoroughly enjoyed the swooping descent on the lower half.
8 hours 28 miles 5200' Epic.
If somehow we could inspire the district to clear that trail, or allow others to clear it, I would ride it again in a heartbeat! It could become a favorite.
I did a lousy job taking pictures, but here is what I have.
There I am, on the road climb to the base of Olallie, leading the pack!
The area is known for rock formations like this. This one looms out over the trail.
Becca laying on her back trying to get a perspective on the above rock.
Olallie trail. Overall it is in very good shape.
Roland following my lead on a section of trail prior to Macduff, where the trail got worse than this.
Roland still following the trail that I blazed.
My bike is on one side of the switchback, R on the other. See the trail? We were happy to have short growth for a short section.
A view. I didn't shoot the rockwork in this section, but it is spectacular. There are thousands of manhours of rock wallwork holding this trail on the side of the mountain. It was very hard to ride with all the brush trying to push you off even though the tread is in good shape in this section.
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