Archive for the ‘S24O’ Category.

Car/Bike Camping on the Suiattle River

Scott organized this point83 trip to the Suiattle River. Until 3 years ago there was a car accessible road that followed the river and went up to three National Forest Campgrounds, tons of hiking trails, and lots of great old growth forest. The 2006 wind storms flooded the river and washed out the road and a bridge in some key locations. Now you can drive halfway up the road, then walk or bike into the campgrounds.

This changed 3 very busy campgrounds into three very remote areas.

12 of us drove up to the trailhead and rode in. Since we were only riding 8 miles this afforded us the luxury of bringing a lot of stuff. I brought two stoves and a lot of food. Rogelio brought Monica on the XtraCycle (she hurt her wrist and wasn’t supposed to ride a bike). Andre brought ice cream sundae makings to share with everybody. Derrick brought a chair, fishing gear, and a lot of booze. Kalen, Clair, Ryan, and Caroline brought a lot of food to share, including a few pounds of bacon and some home made goat cheese. Was it car camping or bike camping? The line was blurry.

The road up is very easy to navigate on a bicycle. It’s a little sandy in spots, but no one had any real trouble, even those on 23mm tires. There are few sections that were walked. There is almost no climbing to speak of.

We went to the second camp ground and had the whole thing to ourselves. The winning feature of this campground is a large lean to over an established fire pit,nice and scenic access to the river,old growth forest,and no visitors. The first campground is only 2 miles in from the trail head and still gets a good number of walk in visitors. We rode past it, but I saw at least 4 tents in the woods. The 3rd campground is after a lot of blowdown (making it harder to visit) and pretty grown over. There was one camp established there, and they had been up there for 5 days without seeing anyone.

We arrived at camp early and had most of the afternoon to enjoy ourselves. We played in the river, some of us drank too much, and there was a lot of fanastic food and laughing around the fire. No one stayed up too late or woke up too early. We had another huge and varied meal in the morning (bacon, ice cream, scotch oats, coffee, breakfast burritos, hash browns, fruit salad, corn dogs) before rolling back down to the cars. Just as we were leaving camp a light rain started, but otherwise we had a cloudy and dry weekend.

Christine was supposed to come with me, but hurt her foot on Friday and had to skip this trip. I hope that we can return later in the summer because I think it is about the easiest and most approachable backwoods bike camping imaginable. She would have had a great time, and it might give her more context for my love of bike camping.

Old double track makes for very nice riding.

Hardcore Rogelio hauls Monica on his XtraCycle

The major obstacle

Andre gets the photo up the ramp (photo by Scott)

The lean-to makes this a great group site

Sulphur Creek Campground (we didn't stay here), photo by Scott

A little hike a bike (photo by Scott)

Derrick tries to go fishing

Kalen enjoys the scenery while filtering water

Lee "invents" water logging.  He throws driftwood into the river and...

...Andre hucks rocks at them.

The logs got bigger and bigger

Clair gets involved

Derrick kept the drinks flowing...

Good evening fire

The river in the morning

Bacon in the morning

More breakfast (photo by Scott)

Breakfast Ice Cream.  Dry ice kept it cold all night (photo by Scott)

Back down the ramp

Homeward bound

This group is getting pretty creative with the S24O rigs, so I took some photos. Hover over these photos (or almost any photo in my blog) for a description.

Scott's Karate Monkey.  The roll under the handlebars has his bivy, bag, and pad.  He also carried Monica's gear, hence the heavy load in the rear.

Lee sports the porteur rack up front and homemade buckets in the rear.

Offroad XtraCycle carried Monica and a lot of gear.

My bike with way more gear than I'd need for a week, and this was just one night.

Andre’s photos:
Scott’s photos and commentary:
All of my photos:

Lennox Creek S24O

Andre, Andrew, Lee, Rory, Scott and I met around 5:30 on Friday at the start of the North Fork Road outside of North Bend. The plan was to repeat our previous trip up the North Fork of the Snoqualmie River, but to use a little extra time to dive deeper into the forest.

We got to the Lennox Creek fork around 7:30 and had a decision to make. The road splits here into three different directions and smaller groups explored the start of each of them. We decided to follow along Lennox Creek (which had as much volume as the Snoqualmie River at this point). Lennox Creek had the best scenery and comes tumbling down from the Snoqualmie Pass area in a very tight valley. I had a soft goal of maybe getting up to the road closure near the Bare Mountain trailhead.

The road is technically closed at the start of Lennox Creek, but trucks have moved the barriers out of the way and the road is being used as a 4×4 track. We still only saw two vehicles up there. The road surface is loose enough that it can be tough going ona 35mm slick bicycle tire, and I think Lee even walked his Pugsley with it’s 90mm wide tires up a couple of sections. Rory’s excellenthandling skills let him climb everything on the bike even with narrow tires and no granny gear.In exchange for the rough road and a little hike a bike we got some wonderful views and a surprising amount of solitude for being about 30 miles from downtown Seattle (as the crow flies).

At about 9:15 we were still about two miles from where we thought the road might end and needed to find a camp site. On the maps it looked like the valley was going to get narrower, which makes the likelyhood of finding camp harder. We pressed on anyway, exploring every side trail to see if it lead to anything good. We found the best option and started to scope out hammock and tent sites when Andre decided to look back on the road a couple hundred feet. He found a nice section of open forest and we setup campthere. The forest was pretty well established and had a thick canopy which left the forest floor much more open and accessible.

Hammocks and tents were erected just as night fell. Rory, Andrew and I filtered water while Scott, Andre,and Lee built a fire. Dinner was in darkness around the fire with a couple of beers. I slept surprisingly well through the night and woke up around 7am. The bugs were bad in the morning,so we skipped breakfast and started rolling early. By 10:30am we were back in North Bend getting breakfast at the cafe from the TV show Twin Peaks.

This might be it for my exploration of this area this summer, but I still have sections that I’m curious about. Sunday Creek and the hills over the river seem to have some promise. I still haven’t been up to Hancock Lake or Lake Callighan either.

All of myphotos
Scott’s photos

Views from the Lennox Creek bridge, just before it merges with the Snoqualmie River

Lennox Creek Valley as the sun gets low to the west

A roaring Lennox Creek.  You can see Rory and Andre climbing the road on the far left.

Andre tends to the fire

A nice thing about S24O's is that you can bring fancier food.  This is thai noodles with fresh sugar snap peas, jalapenos, and spiced tofu.  Not bad for a meal out of Jetboil.

Hammock village.  Hammocks are great for this sort of open but not very flat forest.

Rory, Andre and I were up a little earlier than everyone else and explored the creek.

Scott brought his new Karate Monkey.  A smart move on this more technical logging road.

Cliffs too tall to capture in one photograph, looking over Lennox Creek

Heading home...

First bike camping of 2009 — North Fork Snoqualmie River

Map of our area, click for a large version

Friday after work Andre, Andrew and I biked up the North Fork of the Snoqualmie River searching for camping spots. None of us had been very far up the river before.

The first section of the road is called 5710 and gives you access to Hancock and Calligan Lakes. It’s a really nice stretch of road with no traffic and good surface conditions. Beyond that we merge back onto 5700 which is more heavily trafficked (this means a car every hour or two) and looser gravel.

We had a few areas to check for camping in mind. There are two valleys that go into the National Forest, Phillipa Creek and Sunday Creek. We didn’t explore Phillipa Creek and Sunday Creek had snow right at the trail head. Across from Sunday Creek was an old road which looked promissing, but it ended at a broken bridge. This would be a decent camp spot most days, but it was a little damp on Friday. We kept heading up the main road until we got stuck in snow at the Lennox Creek turnoff. There was another (loud) group camping here, so we turned back. At this point it was getting dark and we needed to find camp pretty fast.My GPS showed an abandoned road a couple of miles back, so we checked it out.

The road looked like it hadn’t been used in a decade or two. It was very overgrown with shrubs and trees, but we pushed our way through. The area by the river was pretty nice and had an open spot for dinner and some good trees for hanging our hammocks. Andrew found a nice soft spot for his bivy. We made a quick dinner, enjoyed a small fire, and went to bed.

Themorning air was chilly andafter a bit of tea wehit the road and head back to the car.The blue skies of Friday night had been replaced with a low fog. The roads were clear andthe slight downhill trend made our ride back a little faster than the one the day before. At 9:30 we reached the car andwere heading home.

Ilike Friday night camping because you still have a full weekend for other stuff too. I look forward to exploring this area more in a month or two when more of the snow has melted. This would have been a great area last year because the bridge which makes it accessible cars had been washed out. Now it is open again and there is more traffic.

Blue skies and clear roads on Friday evening

Abandoned bridge across from Sunday Creek Trailhead

North Fork around river mile 20

Turning around at the snow

Evening fire and dinner.

Morning view from our campsite.  Not too shabby.

Andrew takes my bike for a spin

Andre fixing a flat on Saturday morning

All Photos

Badger Lake S24O — Spokane

I’m visiting with John Speare for a couple of days and last night we did one of his favorite S24O’s out to Badger Lake. It’s a great ride, with the way out having a mix of gravel and paved rail trails and old dirt/grass roads and the way back having other dirt/grass roads and a nice just barely downhill descent back into town. A tailwind and tiny descent really makes one feel fast. The climb back up to South Hills along some unnamed dirt trails makes you feel slow again.

We passed through lots of neat scenery and some of the normal long straight rail trail stuff. We passed through Turnbill Wildlife Reserve which had nice ponds and lots of birds.

The camping was nice. Quiet, good views of the lake, good places to hang hammocks. It’s one of those places that makes you glad to have a hammock…I didn’t see any good spots for a tent.

Now we’re prepping for the 6pm BBQ. If you live in Spokane then stop by at John’s (apparently the bike folks know where it’s at).

Tomorrow I’m off to Tuscarora Pottery School in Tuscarora, NV and hanging out with my Mom.

More pictures.