Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Snoqualmie–Preston (2014-12-29)

Exploring a fairly far-out area in the Cascade Foothills.

I've been curious about how the Preston–Snoqualmie Trail ends for quite some time as there's always been a little bit of a tail past the end of the trail. As I was looking to do a ride that wasn't as long this time, this trek was perfect for doing so.

NOTE: It's been over a week since I did this ride, so I won't remember all the details correctly.

More after the break…


I started at 06:00 this time as I knew I wouldn't be covering as much distance. I was riding the same bike as last time, too. My route to the I-90 Trail involved going over Capitol Hill and the Jose Rizal bridge.

Seattle has two normal Winter weather modes: cloudy/rainy/mild and clear/dry/frigid. Unlike the past couple rides, it was the latter this time.

I followed the trail until Factoria, then tried taking my new preferred I-90 underpass, but I missed the turn and had to take another route instead. This eventually got me to the Lake to Lake Trail in hilly East Bellevue. I left the trail at a very steep downhill run that took me to the West Lake Sammamish Parkway, and eventually the trail that's beside its southern end. I then made my way to Issaquah along a road that parallels I-90 on its northern side.

The route I chose through Issaquah involved side streets, and walking across a pedestrian bridge across a small river. There were a number of similar bridges nearby, too.

I stopped by the local market for a mix of decaf coffee and hot chocolate.

It was rather cold and my thick gloves weren't cutting it, so when I got ready to continue I swapped them out in favor of the lobster claws. The next leg of my route was I-90, so the gloves were a good idea anyway due to the slopes and car-powered winds.

Every time I've gone along that section of I-90, I've seen this weird abandoned bridge next to it. I finally thought to get off the pavement and photograph it this time.

In the past, I would usually continue past Preston, but this time I finally got off at that exit (the one after High Point Road) and got to see what it really was: not much.

Preston–Snoqualmie Trail

Then I quickly got onto the trail that runs alongside the road there, eventually taking it to where it diverges.

Something I've noticed is how the trails way out here tend to supply restrooms of some sort, unlike the stuff back in Seattle. One more nice thing about coming out here instead of staying in the city.

And along the trail I went.

And then I hit a point where the grade continued straight but the trail had a sharp turn down a steep hill.

The Preston–Snoqualmie Trail really reminded me of when I checked out the 'missing link' of the Foothills Trail: they're both quiet and remote, both involve some nice bridges, and both snake up the sides of hills. However, I was more impressed with the Foothills Trail as it bridges a valley of this size rather than forcing cyclists down along a fenced-off highway shoulder and up seven gravel switchbacks.

However, one nifty part of this route choice is how I got to ride across this very old highway bridge.

And followed the old highway until it rejoined the new one.

And then the gravel switchbacks…

Once at the top, I was able to ride again.

I then hit a trailhead at a road crossing.

And then the end of the trail itself.

Past the Gate

However, I still had two usable feet and saw a quick way around the gate, so I hitched up my bike and trudged on.

Looks like I wasn't the only one who's ever had that idea, either.

And then I saw it: the trestle that's visible in the hills from the Snoqualmie Falls resort! If it had been rebuilt, this would take one all the way to the railroad in North Bend.

With that, I started on my way back.


Preston–Snoqualmie Trail

And back along the trail I went.

This kind of looks like the trail was rerouted at some point:

I took I-90 back down, but not before taking a look at the Issaquah–Preston Trail.

When I got back to Issaquah, I remembered that Kent Peterson works at the shop in town, so I went over there to meet him.

However, he was out for lunch for a short while so I went to go eat a caramel apple at the normal place to kill time.

Then I went back, and finally had a chance to chat with him.

He's quite famous among cyclists and used to do a lot of randonneuring. His commute used to take him to Seattle and back to Issaquah each day, but then he started working at the shop in town. He said he didn't much care for the rigid timepoints and checkpoints in randonneuring and prefers the freedom and exploration in touring. He also really likes using his fancy kick scooters to get around and covers good ground on them when he goes out on excursions.

To leave Issaquah, I took Issaquah–Hobart Road and Cedar Grove Road to get to the Cedar River, which is a lot of climbing followed by a lot of downhill speed runs. Once at the trail, I just followed it downriver.

And then I stopped for coffee in the community of Maplewood.

From there, I went to and through downtown Renton, then got on Rainier Avenue and followed the Lake Washington Loop and Burke-Gilman Trail home. I'm really glad to have the 12-36T cassette on this bike, as I get pretty tired toward the end of a long ride, and Seattle definitely has its hills.

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