Monday, January 02, 2012

Second Route to Rhododendron Lake?

It looks like it's possible to get to  Rhododendron Lake a different way when you follow the logging roads on Google Earth.  The previous time Paul and I rode out to the lake, we passed a very well-groomed logging road near the lake that followed the power lines to our left.  This is the same powerline route that can be entered while riding the lower section of Blackjack Ridge.  The road looks really good on Google Earth, so I marked out a GPS track and fired it off to my smokin' new Garmin Montana!  Here's the intended route:

 Unfortunately the route turned out to be a dud for this time of year, or at least it's a dud with my trail biking skills at this time of year.  Shortly after crossing the rotting bridge on the early part of the Blackjack section of the powerline trail I came across some very deep rocky pools that blocked the road entirely.  I was determined to get through initially and I blasted into the water; it covered the engine entirely and I found myself jostled over four or five large boulders that couldn't be seen through the water.  Remarkably, I made it through pool #1, (after sharing some choice expletives with the wildlife), and I was faced with a choice:  Continue through this lot and possibly find more of this crap, or turn and go back through the last nasty section, hopefully without dumping the bike in the drink.  I turned back!

Here's the first pool.  (Marked as a marsh section on my maps).  This nasty is much deeper than it looks.  I was really surprised when I hit those boulders in there too.  :)  Photo was taken with the Garmin.  The res is lower, but the geo tagging rocks.
I decided pretty quickly, after getting back through this thing, that it's a spring or summer route.  I don't think the water would have continued much after this section since it's marked as marshland on my map, but it wasn't worth the risk continuing by myself.

Here's the actual route taken:

The Tank traps are nice and gooey these days and careful navigation is a must if you don't want to get stuck in the gumbo.  The creek bed leading to the traps was flowing very quickly;  you find yourself riding the length of a small river for a short distance.

So, it didn't pan out this time around.  The route is saved in my GPS and I'll definitely retry the route in the spring.  I'm really keen to see what these winding roads look like as they weave their way in and out of the power line clearing.

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