With Spring conditions obtaining, The Logging Road Cyclist found himself lollygagging around for a couple of weekends on Perry-Roubaix Plus, and the Rickreall Cr-Falls City loop part of the upcoming Rickreall Gravel Classic. These were actually really fun, sunny and warm rides! But TLRC felt himself growing soft, and it was time to head back to Laurel Mountain on a day of unsettled weather that shifted from a closed-out sky and cold rain to dusting snow to bright giddy sunlight. TLRC and D. were heading up Mill Cr. to Boulder Pass, D. for the ride, TLRC for the ride and the limestone he was stunned to learn outcropped at the pass. The early start was delayed, first by one member of the party who became mesmerized by all the different types and thickness of lines on the pavement at Circle and Ninth and sat through most of the green light, and then by the other who realized near Monmouth that he had forgotten his shoes. No matter, the team was well together, and it passed off like the spring rains from a fishy-tasting Merganser’s back.
Mill Cr. is an absolutely gorgeous stream flowing through a canyon that is alternately impressively wooded and massively cut. With water it would be a fun little kayak run. About 2 1/2 miles into the ride, a sign announces that the road along the Creek is permanently closed. Dutifully, our pair headed up the steep new road that was apparently the detour. After about 1/2 mile of steep loose climbing with no real indication of where they were headed, they opted to return to the old road to see about pushing through along it. There are a couple of berms, some soft and some rocky stretches and one big washout to cross.
Easy riding beyond passes some beautiful views of the creek,
and a truly awesome clearcut.
Careful study of the map lead TLRC to demand that an attempt be made to ride through this
which wound up here
because he had a vague memory rattling around from ten years ago that he had gone this way. Retreating, they took the main road (aka “Horrible Hill”), which has the worst combination of thick, loose gravel and steepness that TLRC can recall. There aren’t many maintained logging roads TLRC and D. can’t ride up, but they both skidded out and walked parts of this:
Between various delays, TLRC’s atavistic route finding and the soiree to which he had committed himself (and had no desire to be late for, thereby incurring the wrath of The Long-Suffering Girlfriend), the duo only made it partway up the impressive deep canyon of Shumway Cr. before heading for home. It had been a great day.