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  1. #1
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    Watt Canyon/LT Murray RR

    Made it out Monday with Verslo and husby and then needed more so went back with Happy Trails and friend Saturday. Kept sayin' over and over that I was amazed this place had flown under the radar all these years. Great stacked loop trail system spanning several canyons and some vert too. Two fun options for a Freund Canyon style air time descent too. Just a couple pics for now. Need to get back and actually stop for more.
    Will be perfect for May-July riding when wet on the wet side... Crazy potential too...
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Watt Canyon/LT Murray RR-tway-2011-008.jpg  

    Watt Canyon/LT Murray RR-tway-2011-009.jpg  

    Watt Canyon/LT Murray RR-tway-2011-014.jpg  


  2. #2
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    Here's the ride details from my gps:
    connect.garmin.com/activity/104724631
    Lots of fun with the mellow climbs and descents that 'milked every foot of elevation loss'.

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    Ha. Didn't know that was you Craig... The last pic doesn't do it justice does it?

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    I agree Borneo, great potential, especially for early season rides while the mountains are still snowed in.

    Whatís funny is that I went looking for you Saturday and apparently just missed you guys, had no idea you were just across the valley from my house. But I did have a great ride exploring the West Fork.

    Gary
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    That's what my wife said when we got back. You should have called. Let me know off list what trails you rode in WF. I found a few more during my stay.

    Finding some good loops off the very top would be real nice there. Looooong decents possible. Relatively easy building too. Shocked the E-burg kids are not all over this.

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    A few more pics..
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Watt Canyon/LT Murray RR-img_0654.jpg  

    Watt Canyon/LT Murray RR-img_0645.jpg  

    Watt Canyon/LT Murray RR-img_0650.jpg  


  7. #7
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    The pics look like the trails would be perfect for my beginner wife to go ride. Is there camping for trailers/motorhomes near-by (like at a trailhead or within a warmup ride)?

  8. #8
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    Yes, straight up Joe Watt there are a few places to pull over that would be nice enough and shady. Road get's worse farther up. Looks like there may also be decent places to the West as well but have not explored that yet. No trail signage or decent maps that I can find so you'd have to 'splore a little to get the lay of the land. The grassy descent can be seen from space and must be a solid couple miles long of beautious "flow". S/B pretty easy to get her up to the top of that with some steady road and a shortcut trail.

  9. #9
    JRA
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    Quote Originally Posted by Borneo View Post
    No trail signage or decent maps that I can find so you'd have to 'splore a little to get the lay of the land.
    Not on the Cle Elum moto maps either?

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    thanks Borneo. I wonder just how much this land gets used for hunting. I googled it and it looks like there may a bit of activity there??

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eerie View Post
    thanks Borneo. I wonder just how much this land gets used for hunting. I googled it and it looks like there may a bit of activity there??
    Yes, this is a major hunting area. I don't honestly worry much until modern firearm deer & elk seasons in October... in which case I find something else to do for those couple weeks. Whole county seems like a firing range for drunk and/or crazy people around that time.
    "...Some local fiend had built it with his own three hands..."

  12. #12
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    More pictures

    We keep exploring and keep building our GPS maps. Next target is the huge wooded 'bench' within LT Murray just south of Taneum creek... there's apparently a somewhat well traveled 4x4 road through but also a lot of put-to-sleep logging roads and other promising scratches on the sat photos and various older maps. STAY TUNED!

    (one potential complication: I got the motha of all hematomas on my hip by body-slamming on a stupidly easy bit of trail while chasing Borneo et al back to the car last Monday. Verslowrdr will be even SLOWER and more cautious than usual until this giant lump and bruise spreading down my leg works itself out completely)

    In the meantime, y'all can haz moar pics from June, July, and Aug 1st:








    "...Some local fiend had built it with his own three hands..."

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by JRA View Post
    Not on the Cle Elum moto maps either?
    Nope- outside the 'green dot roads', these are not official trails of any sort.
    "...Some local fiend had built it with his own three hands..."

  14. #14
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    A little more exploration done today

    Found a route that we probably won't do again from Tamarak ridge to the plateau towards Taneum, but Borneo that 'ramp route' is SCHWEET either direction.

    More random pics:








    Always good to keep in mind that we're not necessarily on the top of the food chain 100% of the time out here. I don't know exactly what took out this elk, but from the reports about cat populations in the area I have a couple reasonable guesses... lots of chew marks on the ends of these bones and ZERO meat left in any case.
    "...Some local fiend had built it with his own three hands..."

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    Good to know. As long as there is a good way back NE out of there. Still think there's a connector from that junction East a couple hundred yards to the Watt Canyon Road as well...

    Still stunned how we all could have overlooked that place for so long...

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    Do you have any details on how to get to this trail/parking? Looks like a killer ride.

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    I've done a ton of research since first riding there and there are some partial maps out there but I feel those do more damage than good since they are very, very, incomplete.

    This helps. The bing resolution on the map link is way better than google's.
    L.T. Murray Wildlife Area

    L.T. Murray - L.T. Murray Wildlife Area | Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife To the trailhead.

    The Red Dot map is pretty good too. It just shows the roads though. Most all the trails are within "horse distance" of the gate/trailhead on Watt Canyon Road in Thorpe. Once you get out about 4 miles or so, the horse trails peter out and you get more 4wd roads and game trails.

    Super easy to find heading over I-90 from the wet side though. Elk Heights to Taneum then left at the stop sign after crossing the hwy at Taneum and then a mile or so east and right up Watt Canyon Road. "Discover Pass" signs there. Also parking inside the elk gate in the shade up the canyon as well.

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    Killer, thanks. I'll be heading out there this weekend.

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    Wish I could go with you but can't get over. Contact Verslordr for some tracks if that helps. It will take a while to poke around and find all the trails. That bing view on the first link shows most everything from space if you zoom in on it. Pretty cool.

    Having the pdf copy of the Red Dot map wouldn't hurt either.

    ReeCee (as annoying as the posts can be) actually has a semi decent starter map on the trailmeisterdotcom page. And, a youtube video I found as well of them riding their horses up there.

  20. #20
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    Sorry, out of intarwebz for a week at the beach w/ fam...

    I have mappage and some recommendations. PM me and I'll give ya the (very incomplete but much better than nothing) goods.
    "...Some local fiend had built it with his own three hands..."

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    Whadda ya think Verslo? Wait for more recon/riding until we get some rain and hit Esmeralda loop this weekend or more recon at LT/Joe Watt? (Got the text.)

  22. #22
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    Well... kind of a toss up with impending hunting seasons that will effectively shut JW down, but I'd probably hit Esmeralda first. JW will always be there waiting for you in May and June before the high country is clear again.

    I'm headed to the doc on Tuesday to beg him to drain this darn hematoma on my hip (which has named 'Kuato' by a co-worker and has provided a lot of entertainment). I've been riding but having to stay even more careful than usual and I'm a little reluctant to head into the deep back country until I've got that sorted. May send husby on Esmeralda with you and just meet y'all down at the river. Where I'll be bitter and crying, lol.....
    "...Some local fiend had built it with his own three hands..."

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    Going to have to try this out. Just getting started in this sport and this area looks newbie friendly and its only 15min from home

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    We should work on getting a good trail map. I went out there on Sunday. I was pretty beat from surfing the day before, so I only rode for about 1.5-2hrs, and not very fast, but didn't find that plateau singletrack pictured. Looks like the ride has potential though.

  25. #25
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    I added a trail wiki page on evergreen.org the other night, and will try to get a preliminary map out there in the next week or so. I've got GPS shots of a bunch of stuff, but I've been thinking that I should color code sections into road vs trail and what's better up/down/both ways.

    As usual, it's a whole lot faster to say that than to actually execute it...
    "...Some local fiend had built it with his own three hands..."

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    Great, I'll add my ride pics and contribute where I can.

    ...just added some pics from my ride to the Wiki
    Last edited by jjcarr; 08-23-2011 at 01:56 PM.

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    Here's a shot of the trailmeister map with the plot from thunderpants on it. FWIW. It's what I'll be using til verslo sends me something better. BTW, did Esmerelda the second week of Oct. last year. Perfect!

    OK, that didn't work so well, mebbe too bigga file. I'll try it again in a bit.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by warmonkey View Post
    ... It's what I'll be using til verslo sends me something better...
    And *I'M* still waiting for you to call my husband and remind him how incredibly lucky he is to be married to a gal who rides. Now go check your inbox for the raw kml crap we've collected!
    "...Some local fiend had built it with his own three hands..."

  29. #29
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    Another trip...more new trail found.

    Took Slop and Agate out there today and though there was some rain overnight, the sun was out after Cle Elum heading over and nice and temperate all day... Trails were in great shape. Had my second ever double pinch flat on the way down near the end. Those are always fun to recover from. A few hunters getting ready for modern firearm season and a few equestrians trying not to look like elk...

  30. #30
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    Gotta get me a gps track or at least an approximate map of that new stuff if it's worth repeating.
    "...Some local fiend had built it with his own three hands..."

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    Definately worth repeating in the middle there. Still re-vamping the "best" way to ride it though. Winegar from the top kinda sucks with all the rocks. Spur "Lothlorian" climb still is pretty awesome.
    Climbed the last descent we did the first time out where I flatted as well. Very good too.

  32. #32
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    Has anyone been up there since the 9 acre wildfire a couple of weeks ago? They were using choppers and probably heavy equipment. The fire was located in the canyon a few miles from the gate.

  33. #33
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    I think it was on the Tamarak ridge side and deep in from the look of it. There's one trail in and out of the plateau down there that might be in that area but other than that I don't think the best stuff we've located was near it.

    Thank goodness for the rain. Now just hoping the hunting yahoos don't burn it down....
    "...Some local fiend had built it with his own three hands..."

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    Indeed, the rain was great. I was hoping for a bit more, as we're heading into another week of lovely but dry weather. Sounds like the fire could have been much worse!

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    Ha! Noticed jjcarr got some rocky action already here last year..... So much for suggesting this one again. Opening in 3 weeks....

  36. #36
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    yeah, and I've still got to sort through a pile of GPS shots.... *sigh*
    Better get crackin'.
    "...Some local fiend had built it with his own three hands..."

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    Make this the next new place you ride in 2013...

    Bump

    Opens May 1st... Probably going to be there May 3-5th...

    Cinco de Watto!

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    ... or revisit a local favorite.

    And here are some pics of previous adventures to build some stoke.

    (edit): Hmm.. cant seem to get all five pics to show on my computer, hope others are having better luck.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Watt Canyon/LT Murray RR-100_3101-s.jpg  

    Watt Canyon/LT Murray RR-100_3119-s.jpg  

    Watt Canyon/LT Murray RR-100_3123-s.jpg  

    Watt Canyon/LT Murray RR-100_3143-s.jpg  

    Watt Canyon/LT Murray RR-100_3140-s.jpg  

    Last edited by All_talk; 01-24-2013 at 11:04 PM.
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  39. #39
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    FWIW check out the flowers et al through the spokes on the lower pic. This area is a treat for nature nerds.... you can have plants typical of the shrub-steppe nestled right up next to sub-alpine plants, as this is where the vast sage ecosystem of the east collides with the mountain pine zone. What shows up in any given location will depend on elevation, aspect/slope, moisture, soil, etc. The end effect is wild textural plant variations every time you turn a corner.
    "...Some local fiend had built it with his own three hands..."

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    That picture made me feel like I was riding in the warm Spring sunshine and smelling the eastern washington flora. Excited to take another tour of this area. Last time a 12 head herd of Elk crossed 40 ft in front of me on a road.

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by Preston View Post
    That picture made me feel like I was riding in the warm Spring sunshine and smelling the eastern washington flora. Excited to take another tour of this area. Last time a 12 head herd of Elk crossed 40 ft in front of me on a road.
    Yeah, I've had to back off a couple times to let the elk settle down when we've surprised them in there... there was a group of 20-30 that hung around for a while last spring.

    OT: if you want to see elk swing over by the gate this time of year- dpt of F&W feed them hay right inside the fence and you can see them by the hundreds fairly close up. There's some BIG bulls in there.
    "...Some local fiend had built it with his own three hands..."

  42. #42
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    FYI, just found out that round 6 of the 2013 FTR race will be at Watt Canyon on June 15... I just might have to check that out.

    Heck, if I'm in a little better shape by that point in the season I might even enter. I've never done a race, what kind of mileage/elevation could I expect for a event like this?

    Gary
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