Sunday, September 04, 2011

Lost Loop (Or Star Trek's Time-Loop Episode)

Today's ride was a bit of a washout.  I had intended to ride into south Nanaimo, get onto Nanaimo Lakes Road and then connect with a long series of trails that run the entire length of Mt. Benson, but round the back of it.  (Mt. Benson is our main local mountain).  The trail looked really good from Google Earth and I had busily plotted waypoints into my "only work when I want to" GPS.  This was to be a 70Km trail ride that would start in south Nanaimo and exit near Timberlands, (up towards the silly big HUGE gnome than some of you are unfortunate enough to know about).

The Plan:  Enter Trail Behind Benson From S. Nanaimo, Nanaimo Lakes Rd.

 Skunked again!  I got to the start of the trail in south Nanaimo and ran into Timberlands Logging company's gigantic gate which was designed to keep sherman tanks out.  Usually riders just sneak under them... and I would have done so had there been someone with me to help lean the bike far enough over to get the bars under the gate.  I wasn't going to try this by myself for the sake of my back and my almost shiny bike.

Luck would have it that a trail went off left of this gate and I took it thinking it might curve right and meet the trail I wanted.  None of these smaller side trails appear on the maps available, so you takes your chances!  It didn't head that way at all, but I figured it would be an interesting ride since I got skunked.

Now, my GPS is playing up and so I decided to keep looking behind me at any spur trails just so I would recognize the return ride.  I wrote, "went up hill, turned right at two stumps and found clearing."  This saved my bacon!

The Clearing

I set the GPS at the clearing and continued along a very varied trail that changed from narrow treed passages to very rocky difficult terrain.  Generally the trail was firm packed mud and gravel with the occasional "time to stand up" bump. 

After about 45 minutes and many turns I started to get the feeling that everything was familiar and I realized that it was in fact a loop and so I began to look for the way out.  Lo and behold I entered the loop again!  If you have ever watched the Star Trek episode where they keep re-entering a time loop until they finally find a solution, that's exactly what it felt like today!

I eventually remembered where to turn off to find the small clearing and then followed my written directions and reversed them to turn left at the two stumps.  I was really relieved to get the hell out of there today.  Once I got home and plugged my GPS waypoints into Google Earth it made a lot more sense.

I ended up doing almost 70Km by the time I got home.

The Loop... (clockwise).  Click it to go bigger.... Back arrow to return to blog.

My sense of direction is useless!

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