So with husby's ankle still recovering and more time open, we decided to take the Buglet on yet another barging trip on the Iron Horse/John Wayne trail.
tl;dr version: took off from home over to Thorp and went up past South Cle Elum to an undisclosed area night 1, then further up past Easton to Lost Lake (behind/west of Keechelus) for night 2, then knocked out the return trip in one day.
Day 1: 3:15 ride time, 29 miles
Day 2: 3:20 26 miles
Day 3: 4:15 50 miles
Total: 11 hours and 105 miles. Yes, the kid did all of this on the trail-a-bike. !!!
Going up the Yakima canyon from Thorp. I made the mistake on day 2 of calculating that we're carring #100+ extra with kid/kid gear. No wonder we were tired!
Day 1 was HOT. We got to South Cle Elum and I asked husby if he wanted to go to town and get something... the answer was so nonsensical (trying to argue with me over imagined menu choices out on the trail in the sun while he's melting?!?) I did a spousal override and made him follow me into Cle Elum to Gunnars for cold drinks and a sit-down in the AC. Everyone looking a little melted here but things are improving.
Crossing the Yakima above South Cle Elum. We camped this night at "Area 51"... if I told you were it was, I'd have to kill you.... OK, maybe not quite that dramatic, but definitely stealth-land. Fortunately we have hammocks so beyond obviously picking up all our stuff, we don't even smash grass down. Once you pull everything up the only thing you can tell was that a bike left tracks.
Second night we camped at the legit FS dispersed area at Lost Lake. At it was a total biohazard site... I've NEVER seen so much garbage, TP, etc strewn around anywhere. Then people were driving in at 12:45 am and making racket slamming car doors and dinking around with stuff until 2am or later.
Buglet OTOH was perfectly happy with the lake.
The only redeeming events of this night:
- the lake was warm enough to swim in, which meant I stunk slightly less then next day. SLIGHTLY.
- a couple barred owls very close by woke us up at dawn. Loud, funny calls.
If we had to do it again, we've spied a MUCH better dispersed (but on state/FS land so legit) camping situation a few miles back on the IHT. PM me for details if you're doing this trip and would like to know a nice spot east of the pass.
FWIW there is no re-route now in Easton, you just go over the trestles all the way through. We hit the Easton 'turtle' though both on the way up and on the way back.... Excellent stopping point for bikepackers without fear of cholesterol who need maximum calorie input and super nice waitresses who aren't put off by trail-frazzle.
Westbound IHTers: just jump off at the Easton trailhead bearing right, wind through Easton on the frontage road past the state park, and over the I90 overpass.
Eastbound IHTers: after the upper Easton lake trestle crossing, pull off to the left at the sign labeled for Easton State Park. This will wind you through the cross-country-ski route to the old bridge over the river and into the park. Look through the trees to the overpass road on the left for the end of the guard rail... there's a cutoff trail right through there.
We also stopped at the EXCELLENT BBQ at the South Cle Elum depot on our way home. This rack of beef ribs fell off the bone. Buglet is still hanging in there, but she's already got that thousand-yard-stare....
Bugs pushes daddy's bike over the 100 mile mark for the trip. I think we were more impressed than she was, lol. We were just dragging by this point, but hey....
Buglet finally home with proof she'd done a 100+ mile trip in 3 days, including a 50 mile day at the end. After a bath and some down time she was running around the house again... the parents are taking a little longer to recover 100%, lol.
Really glad we've been able to take kid on a longer trip this time, especially once we drive over the pass again and point out just how far she went. Bikes are fun but they're also powerful instruments of discovery.
Mtbr's 2016 Winter Biking GearReviews and Roundups
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