April 10, Sage Hills, Wenatchee

We try to hit Sage Hills early in the season, when the hills are still green.  The entire area is shut down over the winter to protect the mule deer.  We missed the April 1 opening, but the trails were still in stellar condition.  It's hard to believe how green these "brown" hills above Wenatchee become in the spring.  The Balsam root (yellow flower) and Lupine were in full bloom.  We started on fifth avenue, "Lester Trail", at the southwest corner of Wenatchee and worked our way up onto the ridge tops.  We managed to find a couple, new to us, trails.  Always a great ride - Sage Hills 17.5 miles.

Francine climbs on "Homestead Trail". Trail snakes down the hillside

Mule deer check us out.  Lot's of deer.

Francine with the Stuart range in the distance

Headed down on Lightning Creek trail

Full Bloomage!

Classic shot of the gulley crossing on the bottom section of "Lone Fir" trail.


April 9, Moto in the backyard

I have been out on the ktm quite a bit this spring.  What else to do when there is no snow?   Took Francine up to Windy Pass today.

Francine at Windy Pass

Snow - dusting up high

Ran out of dirt on North side of Lake Keechelus.

April 2, Rat Pack

Rat Pack - trail a little wet, but good shape.

View of Mt. Stuart from Cle Elum Ridge

Sun Mar 22, Campbell Mountain - Penticton BC

Francine above the town of Penticton BC and Okanagan Lake.  On the way to the Dairy Queen bench.

Today is our last day and we head home from our Ski/Bike vacation.  Kevin has to work tomorrow.  We are so glad we brought our bikes.  The rain we  have had in the mornings has made for powder conditions on the trails.  Everything has been damp, tacky dirt.  If we come back, we will never have it this good.  If you can't have powder on the ski hill, then let's have it on the trails.

Kevin was a little tired when he woke up on this sunny morning, and wanted to skip riding and just head home.  Francine was having none of that.  She insisted on doing a little ride then.  We decided to hit Campbell Mountain, right in Penticton.

Drove out the road to the dump, which was sure busy.  We were wondering if it was opening weekend or free dump day.  Luckily some guys were getting ready for a ride, or we might have missed the parking on the side of the road.  They pointed out the red M?????? gate that we ride thru.  I assume a nice, private property owner, that allows biking.  Can we also mention that everyone in Canada is soooo friendly.  We could have ridden with these 3 guys, but we weren't quite ready.  They were on a time schedule, and we were kind of tired.

Made our way up hill for a bit before we realized we forgot both the paper map and Francine's cell phone which had a map on it.  Oh well, we would be riding blind.  Neither of us wanted to ride back down to the car.  So, we made our way out "Reservoir Road" and did some route finding after hitting "Tower Road" going straight up.  We found a tiny trail that started switchbacking up, and realized we were on "Sufferin to DQ", a nice, narrow trail.  DQ stands for the Dairy Queen bench on a lookout/ 3 way intersection viewpoint.  Stopped here to admire the view and eat a bar.  Next, we went left thru the dip and started climbing on "Chicken Noodle trail", another buff, narrow trail, to the top to the radio stations and Tower Road.  Without a map and no trail signage, we weren't sure where the trails were or if we would get stuck on a super steep trail, so we backtracked on "Chicken Noodle trail" to the first intersection heading down.  Here we saw another super friendly Canadian, who said that would be a fun downhill.  We thought she called it Chico's downhill.  Later, at the parking area, we found out we misunderstood the girl with her Canadian accent and it is actually called "She Goes Down".  This was a damp, tacky, narrow, bermed, downhill ride.  It crossed Tower Road and continued the fun romp down the hill.  At an intersection, we went right to hit a jump park.  At the end, we climbed back up the road to find our trail.  At this point, we ended up on a wider trail, more likely "Campbell Downhill".  This descended to the Tower Road we had been at earlier in of the day, and retraced out steps back to the car.  Awesome ride.  6.87 miles.

Now we head home to the Pass, where we are sure it will be raining.


Francine reaches the Dairy Queen Bench

Downhill fun



Sat, March 21 - Bike Summerland, BC, trails off of "Trout Creek Trestle off the KVRailway

Nice narrow trail.

 Saturday - woke up to morning rain again.  Took a hot tub and decided to stay another night.  We opted for an unnamed ride in Summerland.  A random web post gave vague directions to a trail that headed right, after crossing the Trout Creek Trestle off the Kettle Valley Railway trail.  Turns out that a train runs tourists to this trestle bridge in the Summer.
Happiness on the sweet downhill narrow trail we were looking for.

Trails were definitely not marked, and route finding was challenging without a map.  Motorcycles ride here, and some of the trails were quite wide, due to the motos riding around the mud puddles.  Dirt was perfect for our riding.

At one point, the trail ended in an open meadow.  We wanted to head towards home, and not extend the ride too much, and ended up riding road for about a mile.  Climbed up to a bluff with no apparent way down.  Had to sort of backtrack to the last road/trail we were on by riding cross-country (no trail) downhill.  Hit the road/trial were were previously on, and luckily found the bike trail we wanted to somehow find.  Had a sweet downhill, climbed over the shoulder of another hill, and had another sweet downhill.

Day ended up great.  Dirt was perfect and tacky.  Wish there would have been more info on the internet for route finding.  Great place to explore, as there are numerous trails.  14.55 miles.

Fri, March 20 - Bike Kelowna, BC, "Smith Creek" trails



Today, Friday, we check out of our unit at SilverStar Ski Resort.  Maddie made us pancakes. The Weber clan got the car packed and were out the door by an impressive 8:30am.  Jimmy was fully enclosed in suitcases and gear in the way back of the Landcruiser.  Gone are the days when all 3 kids fit in one row of seats.

Kevin and Francine were planning on mountain biking Ellison Provincial Park in Vernon.  We woke up to a couple of inches of snow on the mountain.    Remember, we brought our mountain bikes on this trip, due to the funky ski season.  We finally made it out of the house around 10am.  On the way down the hill, we stopped in the Sky Ride bike shop and Francine bought a couple pairs of shorts and Kevin bought a bike jersey.  We stopped at the next store, Attridge Sports, and Kevin got new Snowboard boots and bindings.  Turns out that the sales person helping us was the manager of the Silver Star Bike Park.  We may have to come back to ride the park in 2016, after they finish adding a 35Kilometer cross country trail called Beowolf(sp?)

When we left the store, it was raining again, so we canned plans to ride in Vernon and made our way south to Kelowna to ride the Smith Creek trail system.

Kevin jumping near the top at a major intersection.



Met Paul Hoyne, a brewery startup consultant at the trailhead, and he joined us for our ride.  We grunted up the "Gruel Climb" trail to what we thought was the top, around 7 miles.  Looped down to an intersection we had seen earlier.  Here, Kevin opted for the direct downhill trail "Feel the Love".  Paul and Francine chose to descend the same trail we climbed.  Sweet trail system and trails were in perfect shape do to the rain in the morning.  12.55 miles.

Paul Hoyne with Francine on his heels.  Kevin stopped to catch us where our meandering trial intersected his downhill trial.


On to Summerland (just north of Penticton BC) to get a room for the night.

March 14 - 19, Ski Silver Star, Vernon BC

Jack in the terrain park

Saturday, 3/14 - Nice sunny day.  The backside runs have been icy, so they haven't been grooming the Black and Double Black runs.  But, with the warmth, they actually groomed Holy Smokes (black).  Conditions were chilly, and before heading to the backside, we had to warm up at the Paradise Camp hut.  It was weird to see no one inside, as in the past, it was always packed.  We also hit Minerva's (black) which was real soft and smooth.  Nice groomer day, with light crowds.  Good thing they had a Freeride Competition and a Bumps Competition this weekend to bring people to the hill.

Weber Clan at the top of the Alpine Meadows Chair


Sunday, 3/15 - Cold and Clear.  All the warm slushy snow set up, making for a firm day.  Had to stay on the groomers.  Maddie skied from the unit, rode the baby chair, Silver Queen, skied to the bottom of the Comet Express, rode that and went home.  The rest us of  checked the groomer report and took note of the groomed runs.  The backside groomers were nice.  Made a mistake and followed Jack on El Dorado, but it had sweet grooming and faster snow than Saturday.  Turns out it was the only groomed run to the bottom of the Putnam Express.

Jim, Jack and Maddie

Kevin and Francine

Monday, 3/16 - Sunny, and we got 3 centimeters of snow, which made for real nice conditions on the groomers.  We thought today would be quieter than the weekend, which was quite sleepy.  But, apparently everyone arrived on Sunday, and came out today.  Apparently, Ontario and Vancouver are all on spring break.  I guess we were spoiled over the weekend with the empty slopes.  The ungroomed runs with the inch of fresh snow skied alright.  After lunch at the condo, we headed to the backside to hit all the groomers.  Since Wee Willie was so fun on Sunday, we hit it again.  Unfortunately, Francine crashed on the shaded, icy corner, and ended her ski week.  No swelling, but pain behind the knee in the ski boot with forward pressure.

Tuesday, 3/17 - Sunny again.  Firm in the morning and softer later in the day.

Wednesday, 3/18 - Ran down the hill to the town of Vernon for some supplies, and everyone hit the slopes for the 12:30pm afternoon ticket for soft runs.  Everyone enjoyed getting off the groomers to hit the bumps off-piste.

Thursday, 3/18 - Last day.  New snow overnight.  3 centimeters and snow throughout the day.  Temps were a bit warm, with rain at the bottom of the Putnam Express.  Snow in the village and condo, which made for sticky snow.  Francine did the Maddie drill from Sunday, and snuck onto the baby chair-Silver Queen and Comet Express to call it quits for the day.  Luckily we can ski home from the top of the Comet.  The best run of the morning was Split Decision, the run back to the condo for lunch.  Jack, Len, Kris, Maddie and Kevin went back out after lunch.  Might be our last skiing for a while.

We check out of our unit Friday morning.  Thanks to Len/Kris, we all had a sweet ski-in,  ski-out unit in the Ridge development.


Kris with Jim in back
 
Fresh snow, rare sight this year.

March 13, Penticton B.C. Mountain Biking??




Off to find snow.  We were headed to Silver Star Mountain in Vernon, BC to ski for the week with Kristin/Lenny and the three kids, Maddie, Jack and Jim.  Jim is on spring break from University of Idaho.  Maddie flew in from New York.   And Jack is in Seattle.

Had a nice easy drive on Friday, March 13th.  With warm and dry temperatures predicted for our week, we brought the mountain bikes.  We hit Penticton BC around 4pm, and made it to the Poplar Grove parking lot to ride the "3 Blind Mice" trail system by 4:30pm.  Rode the Lookout Loop for 11 fun miles in 2.5 hours.  The trails were skinny and fun.  They worked the terrain to include techy rock sections with great smooth dirt.  Not sure how they would be in mid-summer, but they were great today.


From the parking lot, rode the Kettle Valley Railway for half a mile.  Then hit Ridlle Road and climbed to the Pearly Gate trail head.  Managed to find the Lookout Loop markers and followed these for our whole ride.  Once we made our initial jeep road climb, we found the trails to be well marked.

White Tail to Mice to Three Witches to Cougar to Bobcat to Lynx to our far point at about 7 miles where the trail made a turn back to the car.  We hit Yellow Brick road to Three Witches to Narnia to Jack&Jill.  Turned around on Jack&Jill and rode back to Narnia to Roller Coaster to Three Witches to Tsweet Tsue. Down Riddle Road to the KVRailway to car.

Tsweet Tsue had corners similar to Flowtron at Tokul West, which caused Francine to do some walking.  Kevin thought the corners were a blast.  Great trail system, and we only covered a very small portion of the lower part of the "3 Blind Mice" trail system, maybe 15%.  We had great views of the lake.  Seems like it would be brutally hot in the summer.  Looks like we started at 557 Meters and climbed to 820 Meters.

Jumped in the car and after a funky dinner in Penticton, made our way to the condo in Silver Star by 9:30pm to meet Kris and Jim.  Len, Jimmy and Maddie flew into Kelowna, and had an eventful trip via a cab driver that could not find the house.  I think he drove them around the village for about 40 minutes.

Soaring Eagle

Hooked up with my sister, Kris, nephew Jack and their dog Ziggy for nice ride at Soaring Eagle park on the Sammamish plateau.  


Feb. 29, Anthony Lakes, Day 4

Francine skins up the shoulder of Lees Peak  (with Angell Peak in background)
We were checking out of our house, the Orville Chandler Ranch.  It was super nice, with views of rolling meadows and the Wallowa mountains in the distance.   House comfortably slept four couples and was about a half hour from the ski hill.   We had planned to check out another ski resort, but with good snow at Anthony Lakes, and no good snow anywhere else, we drove up for another day.   Don was heading home, so it was just Francine and I.   We planned to return to the Angell Peak Basin area and ski a couple of laps.   We had half-off lift ticket coupons, from staying at our house.  We used them to buy a single ride on the chairlift.   6 bucks for the two of us to get a ride to 8,000 feet.   From the top of the lift, we skied down to Hoffer lakes.  From the lakes it is about 1,000 feet vertical to any of the surrounding peaks, Gunsight, Lees, and Angell.    We toured up into Angell Basin and skied a lap off Lees Peak and Angell Peak, then headed home.   The relief is not that huge here, but the skiing has plenty of steeper lines.   Some looked quite impressive.    Awesome trip!  We will be back.  The great snow quality could definitely spoil someone from the northwest, where our snow always seems to be thick and heavy.  At Anthony Lakes the wind would blow and refresh the slopes.



Lap 1, off Lees Peak

View of Lees Peak as we ascended ridgeline to Angell Peak
Views from the ridgeline.

Kevin, lap 2 off Angell Peak

Francine

Low Angle Pow at the finish.



Feb. 28, Anthony Lakes, Day 3

Francine rode the lifts this morning.  Her feet were still recovering from her touring boots, and she really liked the inbounds terrain.  Snow has been great!  Don and I started at the car, and toured up into Angell Basin.   It's about 1500 feet of elevation gain from the parking lot to the top of Lee's Peak.   We did one lap, and were in the lodge by noon(3 hour tour) to meet Francine.  Francine showed up at 12:30 with a big smile.  She could have skied longer, but the boys were done.

Don skinning up through the trees.

View from the top, looks good.

Don gets some powder on Lees Peak.



Nice day.
Don on Hoffer lake.  We finished on the short pitch right behind Don.
 Our run started off the top of  Lees Peak, the rocky thing in the back.
!,000 foot drop to the lake.  We skipped the sporty line that diagonals through the rocks.
I did see tracks on it both days, next time!

Feb. 27, Anthony Lakes, Day 2

Another great day skiing.  We poked out into the backcountry after lunch.   We found some pretty steep stuff!  

Don Hecker, Anthony Lakes side-country

Francine

Francine

Steep with lot's of trees

Don H.