On a last minute whim we decided to try this one out, more or less as described in the Monster Ride link. This gets on husby's 1-to-10 rating scale an 8, which probably would have been a 9 if it would have been longer.
The pull up the logging road is one of the fastest, least painful ridge line climbs we've done in the area. One comes out onto this view of Lake Cle Elum (and Cathedral Rock further back in!), Kachess, Stuarts, various Alpine Lakes peaks... some of this stuff wasn't clear through the haze and the clouds, but you get the idea.
Then you get to bump around the top of the ridge, which is great in spots and HAB in spots. And the views just keep coming....
Before plunging into Windy Pass, we stashed the bikes and hiked out to the top of Lookout Mountain. There were just a couple small chunks of snow left in the shady areas and the flowers were in bloom.
However, we didn't get to recon Clifty as we'd hoped as a front was pushing in from the west. Getting tangled up in that area in bad weather was NOT what I wanted to do given what I've heard about it and seen on the maps/Google Earth.
The trail down to the pass was... interesting. As in "you know it's interesting when the trench reaches your shoulders on both sides". We had lunch in the shelter of the pass, then headed down NF Taneum.
How did I miss this all these years?!? That descent was MADNESS. A couple of the upper switchbacks were also 'interesting', but 90% of it was magic. I even caught myself carving counter-clockwise on one big buttery moto-whoop, then shiftin' 'er up on a clockwise spin through the next one, lol. Of course all the thunderstorms dumping rain on our normally dusty trails had made conditions just about perfect.
The only problem was it just ended too soon. Which means we'll have to do it again + maybe find a way to add a little more on soon... as in maybe next weekend.
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Thread: RR: Windy Pass/NF Taneum loop
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