Sunday, September 14, 2008

Wallace Falls

Today Jeff took us on another adventure. He thought it would be fun to take our mountain bikes and ride one of the "rail trails". These are old railroad trails used for logging and such that have been turned in to primitive hiking/biking trails. Today we went to Wallace Falls State Park, just outside of Gold Bar. We got the bikes prepared - me pulling the trailer (one of those ones you put a baby in, only we bought it WAY after we ever had babies, mostly just for pulling our crap in) and Jeff pulling Arlie on the tandem bike. She used to call it the "panda" bike, and has now dubbed it "Panda Express". We headed off. The book said this particular trail was steep and rocky. It didn't lie! Jeff has done many rail trails, but this was my first experience "off road" on a bike. I had to get my bearings - riding on rock, dirt and gravel is a lot different than a smooth paved surface. And going uphill on that surface is a different experience entirely. My heart was pounding and, since I had the good sense to wear my heart rate monitor, I noticed that when I hit about 161 beats per minute, I simply collapsed onto my handlebars, and flopped over them like a rag doll, gasping for breath, at which time I would decide to just push my bike and trailer up the hill. Off and on we did this for 2 1/2 miles. Now, mind you, 2 1/2 miles would take just minutes on a street. It took us over an hour on this trail! I forged ahead, willing my heart not to explode. We arrived at the trail head for the falls, which is for hikers only. We locked up the bikes, packed up our lunch, and headed off down the steep trail to the falls. Down, down we went and then up, up again. My short legs were no match for the ladder-like primitive wooden steps that were set in the steepest parts. Again with the heart - pound, pound. We finally arrived at the falls. We took a few photos. At this point, I should tell the horrible side story. When we set off on the ride, I had wedged a coffee tumbler full of water into the trailer. About 30 minutes into the ride, I realized I had not flipped the lid shut on the water and stopped to check it. As I suspected the water had poured out of the cup and was now pooling in the bottom of the trailer. Several things were soaked, among them my cell phone and my very expensive new camera! My cell phone was no worse for the wear after I dried it off, but the camera shut down after taking only two photos and would not start up again. I'm praying it was just the battery shorting out, and I'm recharging it now. If not, we do have the warranty. But I was heartbroken. And bummed to not have my nice camera to take photos on this glorious day. But I did bring my backup camera so I do have photos to share! Finally, after eating some lunch we headed back to the bikes. All the ups were downs, but all the downs were ups, so it was no easier getting back. Once we got the bikes, though, it was a whole different story! Wow! What a difference it made going downhill this time! It was like a ride at Disneyland - we flew down the trail, pounding over rocks, roots, and other hazards. Arlie laughed hysterically the whole time and I was having so much fun, I wish I had the guts to go faster (but let's face it, road rash is not pretty). At one point, Jeff flew past me and was gone. Alone now, I came upon a hairpin turn that I navigated quite badly! I tried to stop and stood up on my bike, but the trailer was too heavy and kept pushing me downhill. I skidded and slid and tried my darndest to stop and just as I was about to fall over the edge, I finally managed to get me, the bike and the trailer back on the trail and to a stop. Whew! That was scary. And Jeff was long gone, so if I had flown over the edge, it would have been a while before he noticed! However, having escaped certain death, I was now emboldened to go forward and thoroughly enjoyed flying down the path. We got back to the car in record time and stopped at the Sultan Bakery for dinner and a treat before heading home. What a fun day!

1 comment:

Sydney said...

Coming to visit you is SO going to be one of our first stops once we're back in the States!