Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Olympic Discovery Trail

Finally some smooth, flat pavement!
My favorite part of the trail
Toward the beginning of our ride
The Dungeness River Bridge
After tidepooling on Saturday we headed in to Port Angeles to check out the Olympic Discovery Trail. It was not exactly what I expected, but we had tons of fun anyway. I thought it was going to be a lovely rolling smoothly-paved bike trail passing through fields full of cows and hay. We started five miles outside of Port Angeles (toward Sequim) and the trail was pretty much exactly the opposite of that - it was steep, ups and downs, the pavement was rough (like chip-sealed pavement), and it was mostly forested. Once we got over the fear of the steep descents into creek bottoms with hairpin turns onto bridges at the bottom and the steep climbs out, we started having a great time. And about eight miles in, there was actually some beautiful smooth, flat pavement through fields full of cows (it didn't last long though).

We turned around at the Dungeness River - 24 miles round trip. That was actually quite a ride on the rough trail on my skinny tires. It didn't feel particularly good and I am still shocked I didn't get a flat. We had a great time on our ride back though. We were familiar with the trail so we knew (mostly) where we could pick up some speed and where we needed to be cautious. There were still a couple of steep inclines that caught me off guard - ones that started after a 90 degree turn - there was no way you could see them coming!

It's an awesome trail and I would definitely recommend it - just not for really skinny tires and not if you are looking for a fast ride. Unfortunately the website for the trail isn't particularly informative but there are kiosks along the ride with map pamphlets - although they were all taken late in the day. And it might be useful to know that there are outhouses conveniently located every couple of miles along the trail - don't expect them to be at the parking access points though. I think the trail crew specifically puts them out of sight of road access points so that they don't get used by non-trail users or vandalized - a great idea!

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