Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Middle Fork Snoqualmie (2015-08-15)

Another gravel adventure! I went up to the Middle Fork Snoqualmie campground on my Soma Double Cross.

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More after the break…

Part 1: To Downtown

I started by heading downtown at 05:30 to take the bus to Issaquah.

Part 2: Outbound

Once there, I took the multi-use trail that I missed last time to hit the local Tully's for water and a little coffee..

I was a bit worried about the remnants of yesterday's rainstorm, but didn't see much rain in Issaquah.

To exit Issaquah, I headed out along the Issaquah–Preston Trail.

And, after stopping to use the restroom in Preston, I continued along the Preston–Snoqualmie Trail all the way until the Raging River valley.

I followed the river down toward the Snoqualmie Valley, as the trail is pretty much useless east of that road.

Once in Fall City, I crossed the Snoqualmie River and continued heading north to the Snoqualmie Valley Trail.

Once on the trail, I started heading south. At a clearing, I saw the continuation of the Preston–Snoqualmie Valley Trail off in the distance.

I eventually got to the end of the official trail at an underpass/tunnel, then went a bit further until I hit a property line.

Since I couldn't keep going, I headed back to the underpass/tunnel and started the dreaded climb.

Only to find that my planned route was blocked off.

Despite not being the best idea, I did press forward a bit to see what it was all about.

Convinced that continuing was a bad idea, I headed back to road over the underpass and then turned right, only to find another dead-end. Thinking again, I headed back and turned right again, eventually finding a familiar route that skirts the hill near DirtFish.

This also sent me past the bridge that marks the end of the upper portion of the Snoqualmie Valley Trail. The stairs, previously lost to arson, were now in place again.

After crossing the nearby road bridge and passing through the remnants of old downtown Snoqualmie, I headed back to the trail and took it into North Bend, where I saw the Snoqualmie Valley Railroad operating.

I also stopped at Twede's Cafe for soda and water.


From there, I headed southeast out along North Bend Way, then went along some minor streets before finally making it to Middle Fork Road.

This road featured some fairly steep grades on its paved section, but eventually calmed down when I got to the gravel.

The scenery out along the river was particularly beautiful.

And the road crossed over both it and another of its tributaries.

There was construction in various places, and I found something very surprising.

But the pavement was only a mile or two long.

It did start up again as I got closer to the campground, though, but ended again right before crossing the Taylor River.

Some folks were staying at the campground, too.

A group of college-age guys were meeting their friends, but seemed largely lost.

Part 3: Inbound

Rather than sticking around, I started on my way back, expecting it to be easier due to the downhill grade.

I wasn't disappointed. While on the upper paved stretch, I saw my first cyclist (a group of three, actually) out here. They were on mountain bikes and maintained a lead ahead of me that I couldn't shrink.

Toward the lower end of the road, I saw this odd device.

Is that a stream gauge of some sort? Radio tower?

Continuing along, I dealt with a steep grade I hadn't noticed in the other direction on the section below Mailbox Peak, then zipped down to North Bend where I stopped for coffee.


And then I rode I-90 to Preston, switching to the Issaquah–Preston Trail to get back to Issaquah. I noticed that two traffic lanes on the road I took through issaquah had recently replaced with parking instead.

To get back to Seattle, I took the same bus route as I had taken to get to Issaquah that morning.

Part 4: Return Home

Between downtown Seattle and home, I took the old route up 4th Avenue rather than the newer one along 2nd Avenue. Other than that, it was the same as always.

The following Monday, I noticed that the back of my right hand was a bit puffy. Recalling a bug latched onto a small cut on this ride, I realized it must've been a bug bite.

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