The Witching Hour

Discussion in 'Pacific Northwet - Where it's green. And wet.' started by WetSideRider, Aug 21, 2011.

  1. WetSideRider

    WetSideRider Long timer

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    Washington Irving named the hour when demonic powers are at their most powerful The Witching Hour. Sensitive folks will know the hour, because of the eerie feeling it generates. Riders have a witching hour as well. It is that time in an epic ride when the desired outcome has lost certainty and alternate and unsavory outcomes enter the picture.

    That was yesterday.

    Where should I begin? Let me say that I have trusting friends. I met Coy at the beginner enduro at Shelton last year and we rode together a couple of times. This year I broke a leg and we haven’t been able to ride. He’s a busy guy, so finally we just pick a date, with ride plans TBD. That date was August 20<SUP>th</SUP>.

    We had ridden a loop at Taneum last year and had some fun. And we had done a little ride at Naches, with lunch at Whistlin’ Jacks, also fun. I decided to up the ante and combine the two with a little longer ride from South Cle Elum through Taneum to Whistlin’ Jack’s for lunch, and then back to South Cle Elum. Let’s guess that’s about 100 miles. Let’s guess it’s about 40% single track. Let’s say it sounds doable for two old farts, on paper. It's just a Dual Sport Ride, right?


    I mention this ride to Jackazz on our ride over to Roslyn last Thursday and it turns out he’s free on Saturday and doesn’t mind riding with geezers, at least on occasion. Now we are three.

    The day starts well.
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    You can see that JA has plenty of time to chill, and that Coy is waving happily on the trail. This is only about nine miles into the ride near the little camp shelter on the North Fork of the Taneum.

    Our intent is to head down to Little Naches on the Mount Clifty trail. This was the plan. I wanted to avoid Manashtash Ridge. I like the Manashtash Ridge on my 200. Not so much on my TE.

    Well, because JA and I were talking about the route but not communicating (which would have been facilitated by actually looking at a map while we talked) we wound up there on Manashtash anyway.

    [​IMG]
    This is Coy. It might be that he was fantasizing about ice cream already, since he’s overhanging the biggest ice cream cone around in this picture. Later his fantasy will morph into dreams of creamsicles. Did I mention it got a little hot yesterday?

    We realized we missed the Clifty trail, but I prevailed with my argument to continue to the Quartz Mountain trail, because men don’t turn around. We lucked out, as this is a nice descent into Little Naches too. Nice, but it is still hard work for the old guys. JA gets lots of long breaks.

    We cruise into Whistlin’ Jacks at about 130. Sensible folks would call this the rider’s witching hour. We’re less than half done, and four hours into the ride. And, none of us have been back into the south end of Taneum from this side. It’s virgin territory for us. We have maps and a GPS, and therefore a false sense of security.

    Jack’s is crawling with real bikers. I recognize real bikers because when I am on my dirtbike and wave at them, they don’t wave back. I just stop waving after a while. There’s too many of ‘em anyway. The waitress is a bit harried and won’t give us a recommendation between the burger and the French dip. Get the burger.

    We discuss the way back to the trucks while wrapping Coy’s delaminated boot sole with duct tape. We’re on the bikes and riding about 230, after a quick question about the route to the gas station attendant. Turns out to be a key question, as the route we had planned on paper is closed, therefore we head up Spring Creek road with some uncertainty, but reach the Gold Creek trail, which is so nice we can't believe two wheelers aren't banned.

    We meet these guys.
    [​IMG]
    They tell us how to get to Rider’s Camp and to watch out for the sheepherder who will shoot at you if you harass his sheep. I’m looking forward to a picture of Coy with so many potential new girlfriends, but it was not to be.

    Here’s what Gold Creek looks like, sorta, it is prettier than my pictures can do justice.
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    We get to Funny Rocks and familiar territory for JA.
    [​IMG]
    We rest a bit here, and Coy drinks the last of his water. I ask if he wants some of mine but he refuses. Being kinda dumb, I don’t force it on him. Am I tired? Sure I am.

    The next sections of single track are great.

    Manashtash Lake
    [​IMG]
    Lost Lake.
    [​IMG]
    Check out the jumping fish, and notice the angle of the sun. It's gettin' late.

    Dropping down out of Manashtash Lake we have to deal with a downed tree that requires that the bikes be laid horizontal and dragged under it. If we didn’t have JA the whippersnapper, money says that Coy and I would still be there. That little exercise was the hardest of the day for me.

    Coy is feeling the Witching Hour big time by now, in retrospect this is probably the result of lack of hydration. Me, not so much. JA, not at all. I will say we are all a bit tired, even JA. He’s probably just tired because we set his rhythm off by putting along so slowly.

    Anyway we get to Manashtash Camp and now we all feel the Witching Hour. It’s nearing six PM and the freakin’ road back to Taneum Junction is washed out, big time. No tiptoeing around the washout, it’s 15 vertical feet down and back up the other side.

    Hum.

    Coy is ready to ride to Ellensburg and back to the truck. JA is up for following our nose and the map back to Gooseberry Flat. I like that idea, but I don’t want to abandon Coy. See? It’s the Witching Hour.

    Resolving these issues with a buncha type A guys usually amounts to following whoever gets to their chosen trail first. In this case it will always be JA, so off we go up 4WD311, which works out just fine.

    We get to Taneum Junction and on up the road toward Peoh Point. At this point both Coy and I need to stay off single track, if we can. Our powers of concentration are gone, and mistakes can be costly. This leads to a critical decision as we get to the top of the Peoh Point road and find it blocked down into South Cle Elum.

    We have three choices. Ride around the roadblock and hope it’s not impassable below. Ride back and catch the Cle Elum Ridge trail and ride the rock garden back to road 4510 and then down to the car. Ride all the way out to Elk Heights on Road 3352 and then back to the trucks.

    JA wants to ride Cle Elum Ridge, but I know lions and tigers and bears await there, at least for Coy and me. I argue for the blocked road and prevail. It works out. :clap

    Tired guys at the truck.
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    The stats.
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    The End.

    The moral of this story is that there are no such things as witches. I think.
    Post Script. Coy’s trailer falls off the hitch ball about eight miles west of Cle Elum. The drama was minor, but I don’t want to relive it right now.

    The real end.
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    #1
  2. pjturbo

    pjturbo Been here awhile

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    You guys were exhausted after a 9 hr. trail ride. Boy! Would I fit in with you. I've been thinking about doing it the other way. Whistling Jacks to Easton and back. Only I would like to stay at Jacks instead of having to drive all the way home. Sound like you had a really great ride.

    Phil
    #2
  3. sirloynz

    sirloynz Puny Human

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    It didn't get much warmer than 80 in Skagit yesterday, but it felt like 100 on the trail. There's a few things I learned last summer, Dan. Top of the list is to never leave my PUR water filter in the truck. :baldy It's compact and light, so I don't even notice it in my backpack. Running out of water sucks! Giardia sucks even more! Glad the three of you made it back to the trucks before dark.

    [​IMG]
    #3
  4. guns_equal_freedom

    guns_equal_freedom Long timer

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    Sounds like an epic ride!
    Glad you made it back alive. :lol3

    So how much water did Coy have on him when you guys started.

    Thanks for the tip Sirloynz! :clap
    #4
  5. WetSideRider

    WetSideRider Long timer

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    The sad part of this story is that I had plenty of water to share. I had two quarts to start, and added a third quart at Jack's to replenish. I am guessing Coy had one quart, plus a 32oz Gatorade and a replenish at Jack's. I think the deal is that he was not carrying a water bladder, and so had to guzzle for rehydration. JA and I could sip at will, which tends, I think to keep you better hydrated overall.

    I finished with water and no desire for more of it at the end of the ride. I probably should have had some electrolyte replacement earlier. I was relying on GU for energy, but that only goes so far for old, outashape guys.

    The lesson for me is to pay closer attention to my riding companion and motherhen a bit more. I should have forced some water on Coy when he ran out instead of meekly asking and accepting a refusal. I blame it on fatigue on my part too.

    Good suggestion on the filter. I have an MSR that would serve nicely.
    #5
  6. shrubitup

    shrubitup Uncouth Sloth

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    Couple of weeks ago I rode Yellow Hill trail in the Teanaway. Couple guys came with. One with water bladder and one without. The one without got heat stroke about 2/3 way into ride. When he finally drank from our liquid sources he would puke them back up - every time. Then the cramps. Then the inability to focus on technical trail. Then the log crossings. Then the final ascent up Jolly Mtn headed from south. Then glacading down big snow drifts on descent until finally hitting logging road and back to the trucks.

    Needless to say - staying hydrated DURING a summer's trail ride is important! :deal
    #6
  7. kwisn

    kwisn One Happy Dog

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    Dan, I'm never going riding with you again. Too much DRAMA! :lol3
    After our outing at Taneum last year and Manastash Ridge and the rocky uphill from hell & losing the Capt and all......
    And who says you're out of shape? I thought this was a picture of me somehow, but I guess my moobs are bigger.
    [​IMG]

    I'm just kidding, I'll ride with ya again, but I'm gonna be all up in the planning.
    #7
  8. grinns

    grinns Semper Fi

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    I totally agree with that, it can be deadly too. I was lucky when I blew my rear tire out to have one when it was around 105 degrees and noon. Three hours before the tow truck was going to get there. (big rip in the tire)

    I know try to carry some sort of electrolyte crap too. I tend to sweat it all out when it hot. Then I loose my concentration.


    #8
  9. Jackazz

    Jackazz Been here awhile

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    I guess I missed the drama, I had a awesome day. I got to look at shit like this http://t-stoned.smugmug.com/Other/aug-taneum-410-ride/i-rXFTcpp/0/L/IMG2347-L.jpg http://t-stoned.smugmug.com/Other/aug-taneum-410-ride/i-75LXwjf/0/L/IMG2355-L.jpg and ride shit like this http://t-stoned.smugmug.com/Other/aug-taneum-410-ride/i-7qrCzPB/0/L/IMG2351-L.jpg. http://t-stoned.smugmug.com/Other/aug-taneum-410-ride/i-XKZVr3g/0/L/IMG2348-L.jpg
    When we left in the morning we knew some of the routing was going to be seat of the pants but we all had plated bikes and plenty of gas. I thought with Dan's maps and my GPS we did well and always had the option to take the long boring road route back if nessasary.
    As far as water goes I think Dans freind Coy's experiance and the one Shrub just had really drives the point home that everyone should have a hydration pack as it makes it easier to continuously drink water throughout the ride.

    Oh, last but not least, a picture for you know who http://t-stoned.smugmug.com/Other/aug-taneum-410-ride/i-fs2xgRf/0/L/IMG2353-L.jpg

    JA
    #9
  10. Jackazz

    Jackazz Been here awhile

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    I didn't need one of these yesterday but I'll be adding one to my pack:thumb
    JA
    #10
  11. kwisn

    kwisn One Happy Dog

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    Hi Tim,
    I'm a thinkin' you were out in front of the drama. :lol3 Nice pics, by the way.
    #11
  12. guns_equal_freedom

    guns_equal_freedom Long timer

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    I went riding at Walker a couple weeks ago one a warm sunny day, I had left my Camelbak at home.

    I made it up Pats, Twisted Tree, Humps and Bumps, the shortcut to Split Rock and that was it.

    By the time I got back to the truck I was not feeling well, I drank what was left of the bottle of water in my truck.

    I was really feeling bad after I loaded up my bike, I made it to the Clear Lake store and bought a big bottle of water and a big bottle of Gatorade and drank them both.

    A few minutes later I was feeling fine.

    I'll never go riding without a full Camelbak.

    Before I ride I try to down a bottle of water or Gatorade.

    I have taken to filling up the Camelbak with fruit punch Gatorade, I feel much better at the end of a ride.
    #12
  13. WetSideRider

    WetSideRider Long timer

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    Careful, Keith. You can get banned for showing pictures of nipples around here.

    I'm safe, because the model never gets banned, although we're not immune from rude comments. (Also notice I ain't copying that picture again)

    I'm expecting some nice compliments about my trucker's tan too.

    JA's picture of Gold Creek captures the trail much better than mine, BTW. Here it is again.

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    #13