38 miles/2000 ft elevation
After writing Buried Dreams: Inside the Mind of a Serial Killer the prolific adventure travel writer Tim Cahill escaped to the outdoors in order to separate himself from the dark world he had spent so many months inhabiting. With so much bad, sad and disappointed new lately, I too felt the need to escape to the outdoors: go to a place where real is real.
During a recent ride Randy, Alex, Brian and myself came across a road in need of exploration. We had just finished the primitive road portion on the south west shore of Lake Kachess and had hit Sparks Road when we noticed a right turn leading to an underpass crossing beneath Interstate 90. I made a mental note to return sooner rather than later.
My opportunity came three days later.
My wife Melony and I were putting finish on a bookcase up at our cabin; I had two hours between coats, so I decided to go see what happens on the other side of that underpass. The primitive road had dried out considerably over the past three days, and I made good time to Sparks Road. Inspection of the Gazetteer showed a possible road that possibly intersects U Fish road but within the first two hundred yards I encountered a large PRIVATE ROAD – NO TRESPASSING sign. The road surface was groomed gravel, and I was tempted to act like I hadn’t seen the sign, but I’m mighty uncomfortable trespassing on private land, so after a quarter mile I turned around in hopes of finding Option B.
As I neared the underpass I noticed a small double track trail leading eastbound into the woods. Well there you have it: Option B. After three log crossings I hit a paved road and before I put the hammer down heading east I looked over my shoulder to see a sign pointing to the Ironhorse Trail. I turned around and followed the signs through some magically scenic doug fir groves until I hit the Ironhorse on the western edge of the steel bridge over Lake Easton.
Now, comfortably back on the trail, I pointed my front tire west and headed back to Hyak followed by the short ride back to the cabin. The underpass cut-through is a nice alternative to the road miles required to cross the interstate at Easton. This is a nice route for folks not wanting to do a lot of climbing – the initial climb is short and steep, but after that one ascent all other elevation gains are very gradual.
Route details can be found here: https://www.strava.com/activities/3748591813