The sun was shining for the first time in days! After a trip to the grocery store with Stella pulling Mr. Ives, I decided to take Betsy out to the Chehalis Western Bike Path and see how the trail survived the snow and ice. I knew there would be downed branches. I figured I would just carry Betsy over them. my plan was to ride to Tenino to Subway for lunch.
No sooner did I get up onto the trail from Rainier Rd. I had to stop and negotiate some branches. I got through those pretty easily enough and continued on. As I was working my way through another set of branches, a guy came from the other direction on a mountain bike. He said it was passable for about another 400 feet but then there were some big trees covering the trail. Of course I decided to check it out for myself.
Sure enough, I came to a spot where there were at least two whole trees down and numerous branches. I parked Betsy and walked around off the trail and over the tree trunks. I thought if I could just clear a few of the tangle of branches I could create a sort of tunnel enough to get through with Betsy. I broke a number of branches and threw them off to the side. After I had a sufficient hole cleared I went back. I picked up Betsy, carried her over the trunks and wheeled her through the hole I'd created. It wasn't the easiest thing to do, but I'd made it!
I continued down the trail, dodging branches and rolling over the small ones. At this point, I had given up on the idea of even coming close to Tenino and Subway! I just wanted to make it to the next street crossing (ironically a street called Fir Tree Rd.) so I could get off the trail.
Next up was a downed fir tree. I almost gave up, but I didn't want to have to go back the way I had come. Again I walked through, going under a section of the tree. On the other side were several broken branches of another tree. If I could clear out those branches, I might be able to get Betsy under the big tree and through to the other side. On the other side was a grassy path that ran perpendicular to the trail. It is the right-of-way of a pipeline. It was pretty clear (and at least a lot wider than the trail--more room to negotiate). I decided to try to get through, then go on that path (I only had a vague idea of where it led to, but it had to be better than the trail). I cleared away enough branches and went back to get Betsy. I had to carry her on her side (with the seat lowered and the mirror flattened out of the way) under the tree trunk and through the rest of the branches I hadn't been able to clear. Again, we made it!
I pushed Betsy up the grassy path to the top. I was able to get on and ride for short sections (thanks to the Schwalbe Marathon Plus tires) along the path. When it would get too bumpy, or I would have to go over a big branch, I would get off and walk.
Finally, I could see a house through the trees and a clearing to the right that led to the house. Hallelujah! A way to get back to the road! I casually rode down the owner's driveway and out into the end of a cul-de-sac. I realized I was in Castle Rock Estates neighborhood. I rode through that neighborhood and the next one out to Fir Tree Rd. From there I just rode Fir Tree to Rich Rd. to Yelm Hwy and home. All told it was only about 11 miles but, it took me over 2 hours! If only I'd had a chainsaw!