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  1. #1
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    Quilomene/ Colockum Rambling's

    Once again the window for Spring desert riding in E. Washington is beginning to open up. One of my favorites is the Quilomene and Colockum wildlife areas across the river from Ancient Lakes. Not the best destination for riders looking for maintained single track... though there are some sections of routes that have "weathered" down to what you could call "single track"... they're definitely not maintained. Big spring snows (and melt-offs) the last few years have probably affected some routes as well. This is just a really big "outback" area of WA., with miles and miles of old rancher roads, jeep trails and other abandoned routes to explore. Old homestead sites, irrigation ponds and even some small 100 year-ish old orchards.

    Anyhow, I recently began to scan some old slides from our earlier adventures out there so I thought I'd start a new "Q" thread and share some (there are a couple other "Q" theads on here but they're way back somewhere)

    We (some early mtb friends & I) first stumbled on to the area while water skiing at the dune across from the gorge amphitheater. We were camping at the dune and went for a hike up the creek that feeds the lagoon there and met a guy in a 4x4 who had driven in there. Since we had MTB's (and 4x4's) we naturally got hooked on the idea of exploring this "forgotten" about area. We bought all the USGS 7.5 minute maps of the area and began "ramblin'" around out there.

    Our first ride out there was in March of '88... we rode the "Perkins" road down to an access road that took us down into the Quilomene Canyon and eventually to the dune and lagoon at the mouth.

    Riding the Perkins Road...
    March '88 Quilomene 004

    March '88 Quilomene 002

    Our first view into the Quilomene Canyon...
    March '88 Quilomene 018

    We wouldn't return again until '95 when I had a few more partners who were interested in "adventure riding". We started with a re-con trip in Feb. looking for the best routes into the area.

    Riding in on the "Beacon Road" (now the Wild Horse Wind Farm) from Whisky Dick Mtn...
    Quilomene Feb. '95 013

    Quilomene Feb. '95 018

    We got real wet!
    Quilomene Feb. '95 006

    The muddy roads in Feb. didn't allow us allot of miles so we returned in early March and accessed from the Beacon Road again.

    The Top of the Quilomene Canyon...
    Quilomene Mar. '95 013

    On this trip, we took the "Army Road" down the ridge to the south of the "Q" canyon and into the canyon on another access road about two thirds of the way down.

    Quilomene Mar. '95 012

    Quilomene Mar. '95 017

    Quilomene Mar. '95 006

    Quilomene Mar. '95 008

    Quilomene Mar. '95 019

    Quilomene Mar. '97 010

    The trip out... this is the bottom section of the "Army Road"...
    Quilomene Mar. '95 018

    We followed up later in March that year with a loop starting at the top of the "Q", riding up the Beacon Road to the Brushy Road, down it to where it drops into the Brushy Creek, down the Brushy Creek to where it meets the Quilomene and back out on the "Q" canyon route.

    Where the Brushy Road drops in to the Brushy Creek...
    Quilomene March 1995 002

    Cactus Flat...
    Quilomene March 1995 006

    Home sweet home...
    Quilomene March 1995 009

    Quilomene March 1995 010

    Quilomene March 1995 013

    Looks like single track to me...
    Quilomene March 1995 012

    Chiilin' by the "Q" creek before the ride (climb) out...
    Quilomene March 1995 015

    With interest mounting among the "locals", we took another "down & back" day trip in Nov. '95.

    Break time by the "Big Pond"...
    Quilomene Nov. '95 017

    The Orchard up Brushy Creek. This is the largest of the remaining orchards we've come across out there... not sure if it's still there...
    Quilomene Nov. '95 014

    Cabin #2, also on Brushy Creek...
    Quilomene Nov. '95 007

    Quilomene Nov. '95 008

    Got a feeling this one's probably "down" by now...
    Quilomene Nov. '95 009

    Dune break...
    Quilomene Nov. '95 005

    Quilomene Nov. '95 002

    Quilomene Nov. '95 004
    Last edited by ward; 04-04-2012 at 04:53 PM.

  2. #2
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    More "Q" and "C"

    These are from early April '96. We took a quick re-con ride down & back preceding a 4 day campout the following month.

    Where the "Q" canyon road hits the canyon floor...
    Quilomene April '96 002

    Heading down the "Q"...
    Quilomene April '96 006

    Looking back up...
    Quilomene April '96 009

    A friend met us at the dune (by boat) with lunch and beer... cheers!
    Quilomene April '96 015


    We returned in early May '96 with a large group and camped 3 nights at the bottom of the "Q". Our "big" ride took us up the Brushy Creek a little ways, then up a steep Jeep trail and over a series of ridge's, road's & trails (and through some wheat feilds) all the way over to the Tekison Creek and then back along the same route.

    Heading for base camp down the Army road...
    May '96 Quilomene 002

    May '96 Quilomene 009

    Pond near camp...
    May '96 Quilomene 012

    May '96 Quilomene 014

    Heading up the "Brushy"
    May '96 Quilomene 016

    Looking down on the Brushy Creek Orchard again, this time with leaves & small fruit on the trees...
    May '96 Quilomene 018

    The Jeep trail climb out of Brushy Creek...
    May '96 Quilomene 019

    May '96 Quilomene 020

    Cabin #3. This one is pretty remote! We called it "Kazinski's Cabin"...
    May '96 Quilomene 022

    May '96 Quilomene 021

    Lunch above Tekison Creek and Crescent Bar...
    May '96 Quilomene 024

    Chiilin' on the return trip...
    May '96 Quilomene 026

  3. #3
    Slothful dirt hippie
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    Awesome stuff! Looks like you spent more time north of where we've gotten over the years.
    A ride we did south of your stuff back in 2004... wow, we looked younger before we had kidlet, lol....



    Strange lava 'sploops' we found right in the jeep road heading north of Kohler spring.


    Big question now is how long we'll have to wait for it to firm up after all this rain. This area is next on the list.
    "...Some local fiend had built it with his own three hands..."

  4. #4
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    Can't wait! S. facing slope behind our house was soaked this morning... dry enough to ride by this afternoon from the wind and sun. Hard to second guess the E. slope desert... never know 'till you go...

  5. #5
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    Very nice.
    Looking forward to getting out there in the next month for some warmth and hoping to tag team it with an Ancient Lakes day as well to save some gas.

  6. #6
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    Yeah, hoping that my bike is back together by the time that trip happens.

  7. #7
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    Looks awesome! Can't wait to get out there and explore!

  8. #8
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    We need a (some) boat(s) to ferry us between Ancient Lakes and the Q and C...

  9. #9
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    I have a few leads. Even a small aluminum fishing boat would do the trick. Could be pulled with a car.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by namaste1978 View Post
    I have a few leads. Even a small aluminum fishing boat would do the trick. Could be pulled with a car.
    A friend & I are strongly considering bike packing out there as well. Free to choose your route as you go that way... not tied to a base camp... no risk of motor vehicle break down. Does simplify things. Except your bike is heavier... especially those of us carrying some beer! 4x4ing in is fun too, you get to BB-Q and take allot more beer... but it takes most of a day to drive in and set up camp, and most of another to pack it up and drive home. Plus all riding has to be oriented around the Base. Boats would be awesome and we've talked about it lots over the years... just never seems to come together... Except for that one friend that met us for lunch.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by ward View Post
    A friend & I are strongly considering bike packing out there as well. Free to choose your route as you go that way... not tied to a base camp... no risk of motor vehicle break down. Does simplify things. Except your bike is heavier... especially those of us carrying some beer! 4x4ing in is fun too, you get to BB-Q and take allot more beer... but it takes most of a day to drive in and set up camp, and most of another to pack it up and drive home. Plus all riding has to be oriented around the Base. Boats would be awesome and we've talked about it lots over the years... just never seems to come together... Except for that one friend that met us for lunch.
    A boat would be an EXCELLENT idea, even just a ferried over base camp + bikes et al next to the river. IMO there's less chance of mechanical failure with that than 4x4 (I don't think the roads are getting better) and that way you could circle up during the day for a downhill run to camp at night.
    "...Some local fiend had built it with his own three hands..."

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by verslowrdr View Post
    A boat would be an EXCELLENT idea, even just a ferried over base camp + bikes et al next to the river. IMO there's less chance of mechanical failure with that than 4x4 (I don't think the roads are getting better) and that way you could circle up during the day for a downhill run to camp at night.
    Good point. When we start on "top"(coming from the Kittitas side) we start with the DH and have to turn around and climb out. I don't have the map in front of me, but it's something like 600' or 800' at the river (Wanupum Lake actually) and in the mid to upper 3000's on top. Pretty good climb, often against a spring, down slope wind, to finish the ride. Hence the reason we always drove to the bottom for our base camps. Boats would be optimum! They can have bad days on that water too though... especially smaller boats. What we need is a Zodiak!

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by ward View Post
    Good point. When we start on "top"(coming from the Kittitas side) we start with the DH and have to turn around and climb out. I don't have the map in front of me, but it's something like 600' or 800' at the river (Wanupum Lake actually) and in the mid to upper 3000's on top. Pretty good climb, often against a spring, down slope wind, to finish the ride. Hence the reason we always drove to the bottom for our base camps. Boats would be optimum! They can have bad days on that water too though... especially smaller boats. What we need is a Zodiak!
    We need a great big fully stocked party barge anchored in one of those little coves south of Crescent Bar. If the wind kicks up it the worst of it is usually over in 24 hours... in which case I'd just have to be late back for work, lol....

    Y'all know we're getting this stuff if I win the big lotto, right?
    "...Some local fiend had built it with his own three hands..."

  14. #14
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    Party Barge would be optimum!!

  15. #15
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    '97 Trip

    Here's a few pic's from our '97 camp-out "Q" trip. Several rode in to camp from the top down throgh the Q canyon while a few of us drove the camp in on the Army Road. We did a simple "Brushy Creek" loop the next day as it was cloudy and spitting rain off and on.

    Riding up Brushy Creek...
    April '97 Quilomene 003

    April '97 Quilomene 005

    April '97 Quilomene 007

    Dropping back into the Brushy...
    April '97 Quilomene 011

    April '97 Quilomene 008

  16. #16
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    '98... Stray Gulch!

    In May of '98 we drove all the way to the bottom of the Tekison Creek and camped just up stream from West Bar. This was our longest drive in, and our longest and highest ride out there yet. On the first day we rode out & back in a few directions looking around the area.

    Taking a re-tie break on the way in...
    Colockum May '98 060

    Checking out the bottom end of Stray Gulch...
    Colockum May '98 048

    Colockum May '98 046

    The next day we rode up Brewton Gulch...
    Colockum May '98 037

    Then up the Brewton Road all the way into the forest "breaks" of the Colockum...
    Colockum May '98 030

    Colockum May '98 032

    Colockum May '98 033

    Up into the snow...
    Colockum May '98 035

    Colockum May '98 034

    And across to the top of the Stray Gulch... looking over S.G. right here...
    Colockum May '98 040

    Dropping down towards Stray Gulch...
    Colockum May '98 041

    This is an old, seldom traveled route... some route finding required...
    Colockum May '98 050

    On the trail...
    Colockum May '98 024

    Another "cactus flat"...
    Colockum May '98 025

    Back in camp...
    Colockum May '98 022

    3rd day exploring near camp before we had to pack up and leave...
    Colockum May '98 020

    Colockum May '98 019

    Colockum May '98 018

    Colockum May '98 013

    "Pack 'em up and move 'em out"
    Colockum May '98 015

    The trip out... this is smack dab in the middle of the Quilomene and Colockum Wildlife Areas...
    Colockum May '98 011
    Last edited by ward; 04-04-2012 at 12:43 PM.

  17. #17
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    Love the old school MTB pics....
    Safe riding,

    Vik
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  18. #18
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    Looks awesome! Makes me tired just looking at it though... that's a lot of mileage for this desk jockey.
    "...Some local fiend had built it with his own three hands..."

  19. #19
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    Thanks for sharing, good stuff.

  20. #20
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    great thread

    I enjoyed the story and pictures. looks like a lot of fun.
    free-flowing meat waves of possibility...

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by vikb View Post
    Love the old school MTB pics....
    If you see suspension forks, it is not old school!
    mtbtires.com
    The trouble with common sense is it is no longer common

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by shiggy View Post
    If you see suspension forks, it is not old school!
    LOL! Hope you realize we're all getting old, so there's an increasing distance in the rear view mirror between now and 'fully rigid was all we had, and we tied an onion in our belt because that was the style at the time, and nickels had bumblebees on them...'

    I do quite vividly remember trying to ride out there in the mountain biking Pleistocene however. Lack of really low gears meant we hike-a-biked up a lot of steep shale hills, extra-long stems made the descents a hairraising endo-fest, and if we could feel our arms/wrists/hands by the end of the day they were on fire.

    It's still rugged country that doesn't roll nearly as fast as what it seems like it should. But suspension, lower gearing, better geometry, and fatter/better tires have definitely made a positive improvement on the whole experience. The good news is that Ward's fat bike experiences proves that the evolution is far from over.
    "...Some local fiend had built it with his own three hands..."

  23. #23
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    Great ride reports, historical pics, and overall coverage- visceral FUN on this end!! Thanks!



    .

  24. #24
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    Thanks folks! A few of us headed out there next month... I'll do my best to get some good pic's and vid.

  25. #25
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    Tekison Creek Trip '99

    This was our last multi day trip out there. Have only returned a couple times since for day trips. On this one we pushed farther north than ever before. One of the tougher loops too... lots of "hike-a-bike". But our purpose on all of these trips was to explore and see what was out there in/on as many canyons/ridges as we could and we certainly did that.

    The trip in in my old '62 Mog...
    Tekison May '99 019

    Exploring around West Bar on the 1st day...
    Tekison May '99 007

    Tekison May '99 009

    On the Brewton Road above Brewton Gulch...
    Tekison May '99 037

    May snow...
    Tekison May '99 038

    Tekison May '99 043

    On the edge of the Colockum Forest...
    Tekison May '99 046

    After significant searching, finally on an old, abandoned single track... on the Green Trails "West Bar" map as a dashed green line and as a "pack trail" on the U.S.G.S. map. The upper 1/3 of the trail (mostly on top of a ridge) had completely disappeared. Here we're dropping into the Tarpiscan drainage. At the bottom we'll climb up over a pass and drop back into Brewton Gulch...
    Tekison May '99 042
    Last edited by ward; 04-13-2012 at 07:57 PM.

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