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I miss fall in New England. There’s a reason so many make their way to Vermont, New Hampshire and western Massachusetts to experience the kaleidoscope of colors that blanket the rolling hills and quaint towns. But thankfully, here in the pacific northwest, we too can experience the magic of fall. And I suppose it could be argued, in some ways, the shift in seasons is a bit more diverse here, as fresh snow coats the higher elevations, larch trees pop with color and maples burn green, red and orange.
Over the past two weekends I’ve made a concerted effort to pull out the mountain bike, the camera gear and head for the high hills. I didn’t necessarily find exactly what I was looking for in terms of color, but I found plenty of high-mountain solitude, felt the the coolness of the years first snowflakes on my cheek, and realized that the pacific northwest, although not New England, serves up fall serenity that is truly difficult to beat.
Below are some mountain bike photos from three different trails, 4th of July/Icicle Ridge in Leavenworth, Red Devil/Devils Gulch outside of Leavenworth, and the Dungeness/Gold Creek loop on the border of Olympic National Park.
I didn’t have a lot of time to begin with, so before even hopping on my bike, I was a bit apprehensive about whether I would even finish the hike-a-bike up 4th of July trail to Icicle Ridge and get back to the car by dark. I managed to get back to the car, as the last minutes of light faded away. It was a beautiful ride. I felt the seasons first snow flakes, inhaled the cool, crisp air at 6000 ft and peaked deep into the Cascade Range, with tainted views of Mount Stuart.
The next day I met up some friends for a classic NW ride up Red Devils | Devils Gulch. Further east we expected dryer conditions. The trail was in perfect shape, until the top, where a couples inches of fresh snow coated the trail. It was great.
Last on the list of fall rides was a loop on the border of Olympic National Park. The Dungeness River Trail/Gold Creek Loop is probably one of the better loops near the park, offering inspiring views of the Olympic mountains, deep solitude (the kind where you really don’t want to get hurt…help is far off), near-perfect NW singletrack and the chance to catch a glimpse of wild salmon spawning up Gold Creek.
Fall in the NW is hard to beat. But the reality is, winter is coming. Time to wax the skis and start looking forward to some backcountry skiing photos