Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Devils Pass MTB - 9.15.2013

On Sunday our good friend Toni was briefly passing through town on her way from Cordova to Norway. Combined with the great weather, we figured that this was a great chance to get out for a long ride. As Toni's bike was in Cordova, and with a late bike shop opening to collect Toni's demo, it was 1:30 before we were riding away from the trailhead on the Seward Highway. It seemed like deja vu all over again.

The ride started out with a mellow double track descent from the parking lot to the valley floor.

Then the single track started; a handful of steep switchbacks later and we were out of the trees and gradually climbing through the incredible views of Devils Pass.

Getting closer to the top!

The climb was quite mellow and gradual; before we knew it we were at the top, eating lunch in the exploding fall colors.

From there we traversed through one of the most glorious sections of alpine riding I've ever done: fast singletrack, alpine lakes, and fiery colors - Johnson Pass really can't match the km upon km of tundra riding that Devils Pass brings to the table.

The connector to Resurrection flew by all too quickly, soon we met up with Resurrection and started the descent towards Juneau Lake.

Heading down towards Juneau is rad - fast smooth riding with some nice, techy root sections mixed in there. The views aren't bad either; Swan Lake:

Getting closer to Juneau Lake and starting to flatten out...

At Juneau Lake we took a quick break to enjoy the late summer sun, jump in, and supplement my boring energy bars with some yummy lingon berries. Shortly after Juneau we made the mistake of taking the Bean Creek Trail, and were rewarded accordingly with about an hour of thick, deep mud. Apparently, this last section of the Resurrection Trail that we skipped in favor of Bean Creek is actually one of the best parts of the ride. O well, it wouldn't be an adventure without a little mud, right? Still pretty though, I love these funny little hanging cornices that last through the summer:

At the Sterling Highway we briefly considered hitchhiking back to the car, but after a brief inspection of the the damp mud pies that we had become we realized that no one in their right mind would pick us up. Plus, we still had 2 hours of sunlight to enjoy.

From Bean Creek we jumped on the Sterling Highway; one 25 km road grunt later and 65 km after leaving the car, we were back where we started - just as night fell. Deja vu all over again.

What a great day. Sections of this trail are all-time, and I think its probably even better then other way. Or, possibly better yet, ridden as an out and back to Juneau Lake. There are several little detours along the way that we didn't have time to check out; I'd love to allot a bit more time to fit in these scenic detours next time! Also, there are some great swimming to be had along this ride. :-)

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