LT2015 Day 6 - PA to Forks
Spectacular ride around Crescent Lake. Even some MTB trails.
Today's route was a matter of discussion and speculation the whole tour. We had three choices. A longer route sticking close to the Straight on a smaller highway with possible log truck traffic, the most direct route on highway 101 the whole way, with lots of traffic but a decent shoulder, or a route around Crescent Lake that included 3 miles of rough mountain bike trail. Needless to say I jumped on the third option as did Tim, John, and Paul R. Everyone else did 101.
First stop was Joyce for second breakfast and snacks for the day as we didn't expect to see another store before Forks. We dallied here for a bit enjoying the morning sun, before continuing on back roads further and further into the woods. When we first spied the lake it was absolutely spectacular and we stopped again for pictures and to take it all in. At this point I was riding with John and Paul, but a bit later Tim caught up with us.
Lon was waiting at the trail head, which was nice. We had no idea what to expect. We had shed all of our bags, and Tim his trailer, to go as light as possible on the trail. It started out wide and smooth and I was wondering what all the fuss was but then it quickly turned to single track and took a dive down to the lake. I fell into the bushes immediately, which then had me being a little extra cautious for the rest of the trail. Tim and I both had wider tires (35 mm on my bike) but John and Paul were riding skinny tires which certainly made it harder. We got off and walked a lot, Tim least of all and me somewhere in the middle. It was a great trail that would have been lots of fun on an MTB, and the views were incredible.
About halfway through we stopped for a break and Tim jumped in. Check out the look on his face. Think the water was cold? I explored an old tunnel which was partly caved in. This was all railroad at one time.
After about 3 miles or so the single track ended and we were back on the ODT. While the rest of the group was pushing a big climb on 101, we had gentle railroad grade on a smooth gravel path, which soon turned back into pavement. Pretty soon we ran into Robert who and come in from the far end to look for us. He alerted us to another section of th ODT they had found which would cut off another section of 101. It just kept getting better.
The next section of the ODT started out climbing some wonderful "S" curves and then settled back into a gentle slope. Eventually it came to an end on 101, but there was a sign saying it picked up again in a couple of miles. When we got there it was just a logging road which we took, crossed a river, and headed into what looked like a steep logging road through a clear cut. But then just before that road started, almost hidden in the trees, was another trail head for the ODT. This section was what I called a bike super-highway. It was wide smooth and flat. We were in the middle of nowhere but there were lots of people out doing trail maintenance. One man even had a sweeper/blower and was sweeping the fir needles off of the path! Unbelievable. I was very impressed with the ODT and the state of Washington for building it. It made me feel like Oregon is really far behind. Just think if we had a trail like this from Corvallis to the Coast. No doubt it would get far more traffic than the ODT as that part of Washington is really remote.
Eventually we had to leave the woods and suck it up for the final 10 miles into Forks on 101. On any other day this would have seemed like a very nice stretch of road, but after what we had just ridden it just seemed wrong to have to share the road with cars. Soon we were at the Elks Lodge for another great camping spot and some wonderful hospitality.
No question that this day was the most spectacular of the tour.