FIELD REPORT No. 20160514ED
Topic: Bike Touring Up the Little Wenatchee River Road
Conditions: Amazing and Ultra-natural
COMMENTS: I finally did it. I got my trusty road bike out of the shed, tuned her up and went for a ride on the Little Wenatchee River Road. For me, rides are hard to come by these days. Working full time and raising a couple of precocious kids can keep a woman pretty busy. My bike and I have become estranged, and it is all my fault. She's the bike I bought as a gift to myself when I was competing in triathlons. I had a plan for her, and it was not to be a life sitting on the sidelines slowly becoming engulfed in weeds. Unfortunately, her purchase coincided almost perfectly with the start of my first pregnancy and she has stood neglected and dirty for years, seeing far fewer miles than a road bike should. However, this year as a Mother's Day gift to ourselves, a few of us mom-friends thought it was time to re-discover the kinship that comes from a nice long group ride. I now ask myself, in retrospect, how I could have waited so long to do this ride. In my own opinion, taking a road bike into the wilderness will result in nothing short of an epic experience. I found that my bike was more than happy to oblige as my partner on this morning of exploration.
At 10 AM on Mother's Day morning, three of us met at the mouth of White River Road, parked our vehicles and proceeded from there by bike.
Spring is the perfect time to get out and do this ride. No traffic and all wilderness; that pretty much sums up the experience of this remarkable field trip. The road is still gated for the season which limits access to hiking and biking only. Although we did see the faintest hint of a remnant snowbank hidden deep in the shade near the top of our ride, ultimately the roadway was clear and temps were pleasant requiring only a light jacket and a tee shirt. Downed trees still exist in places although slowly, they are being moved to the side by trail users. Those that cannot be moved are easy to navigate with minimal hike-a-bike efforts (enough time to catch a drink of water and take in the view).
Wildlife is abundant and should be considered when planning this trip. Through the course of our 16+ mile ride, we came across a coyote, a small black bear and a juvenile cougar out sunning itself on the pavement. Needless to say, all creatures were as surprised to see us as we were to encounter them. However, making this trip with a friend is suggested over traveling solo. The upper reaches of the road show abundant quantities of scat; both feline and canine in nature.
So now is the time. Don't be like me. Don't keep waiting to make this ride happen. If you have never done this trip, grab a good friend and try it out. There are miles of quiet roads waiting to be explored by bike. This one however, might turn out to be my favorite.
KEY FEATURES: over 18 miles of pavement (round-trip) into the wilderness, wildlife, vistas, no cars, easy access
RECOMMENDATIONS: Go in the spring before the gates are open and allow car traffic