I love riding single track, but there is something to be said for a ride that takes you someplace. Someplace you likely wouldn't see otherwise.
On Friday my daughters had cross country practice at Hatcher's Pass - Archangel Road. I don't need much encouragement to head out to HP. The more time I spend there, the more I love it and the more I realize that I've only seen the smallest part of the park. I decided to bike up the road with one of the dogs while my wife and son scouted out blueberry patches.
Last year the road was open to cars for the full 4 miles and we'd driven to the end before, but had never gotten out and really explored the terrain or the area past the last gate on the road. This summer a good portion of the road is closed to motorized use, so it's human power if you want to get to the end of the road. Being on the bike, for me, means that I'll actually make it to the end. If I were walking, I would have turned around well before reaching the top. If the creator wanted us to walk, it wouldn't have invented bikes. That's what I say. So and yeah. Maybe I need to get on the walking/hiking train, because I have a sense that past the end of the road, past the end of the path at the end of the road there is a lot of terrain that I could and should explore.
Even just getting to explore the dilapidated Fern mine was awesome.
What was even more awesome? Bombing back down the road. I spent a bit too much time on the brakes the first time down as my younger dog had to be back on leash at that point and while she did her best to keep up, she struggled.
I met up with the wife and son and other dog and turned right around to take the other dog back to the top just so I could bomb down again. Good times!
Saturday we went car camping at the Mat Su River Park and my son and youngest daughter spent some time riding the excellent and getting better by the day trails there. The flow track is amazing - you can get some great air if you have your timing right. And the bluff trail is challenging and a bit scary where it rides along the side of the MatSu river, a sheer fifty or so foot drop below. The work being done on the trails in that park make it almost worth the time and effort it takes to get over there. Normally I like to string together big trail miles without retracing trail if possible - there's nothing terribly long in the park, but the flow trail invites repeated rides and the other trails have enough personality that riding them in both directions makes for unique ride experiences.
Alas, now it's back to work and standard commutes - nothing exciting going down. But that's probably a good thing.