Saturday, September 03, 2011

Galloway Gulch Trail

What a novice!  I need one of those magnet N things on the back of my bike.

I've been riding around on the new Kawi 250 desperately trying to keep the RPMs lower than 4000.  On the street that keeps up with all the electric bicycles and the odd retiree driving his mobility scooter to the shops.  It's hard to do; not because it's not fast enough, but because I feel like I'm lugging the engine too much.  My trusty Kawasaki shop assures me I can go as high as 6000RPMs when I hit 800Km on the odometer.  Whoopee, I'll pass the mobility scooters. In reality it's not that bad; in sixth gear I can get almost 70Km/h @ 4000RPMs.  I'm going over a tad occasionally, but not much and not very often.

On the dirt it's another matter!  Being a beginner on the trails, I'm having no trouble keeping it well within the limitations set by General Tojo at the Kawasaki shop.

I decided to do an investigation of some local trails not ten minutes up the road.  Nanaimo locals know there are many good trails surrounding our local Mt. Benson and so I set off on Jingle Pot Rd. to look for a trail I had walked a year or two ago with my wife.  I found it at the end of Galloway Gulch Road.  Once into the trail a left turn onto sharper chipped gravel takes you off the walking trail and onto what looks much more like a small old logging road.  I was amazed how quickly it's possible to get out of the city and into what feels like back country.

Two minutes into the trail.  Seeded new growth trees in the distance.

A quick movie showing the terrain of the photo above.  

A steeper grade on crushed gravel. (returning)

The trail makes many interesting falls and rises and contains a number of off-shooting spur trails.  I decided to keep to the main trail and see where it came out.  I reemerged on Jameson Road above the Benson Meadows estate.  That was enough for now and I decided to return the way I had come in and end a really terrific ride.

On arriving home, my friend Paul had just emailed me asking if I was up for a ride.  I'm always up for a ride!  I suggested that we return to the trail I had just ridden; perhaps we could investigate some of the spur roads too.

Together, Paul and I repeated my earlier trip from Galloway Gulch to Jameson and then we doubled back to explore a spur road that rose steeply up Mt. Benson.  ("Steeply" to be taken as a relative term since I'm a rank beginner at this, although it was pretty friggin steep).  

It was fantastic.  The trail led to a small bivouac set on the hillside overlooking the Doumont Rd. valley, the wastelands and Brannen Lake.

Mt. Benson bivouac facing Doumont Rd.  (Photo courtesy of Paul's blog.  Bwaaahaha)!
A second spur road took us more centrally on the mountain facing Nanaimo.  Paul assures me that the gigantic piles of bear crap are nothing to worry about.  I worry about anything that can crap that big!  (He also assured me later that it didn't come out of his bike as I had wondered).  The road ended at a felled tree that appeared to have been placed by a developer or logging company.  We had climbed to about 2000ft before heading back.

The blocked trail at 2000ft.  (Courtesy Paul)

What a great ride.  I'm hooked.

CLICK ON ME!  (Galloway Gulch Gate, Trail Meets Jameson Rd, Felled Tree Blocks Trail, Big Rock Viewpoint)  See later post for better mapping of this trail.


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