Saturday, July 7, 2012

Another Go at the Willapa Hills Trail

After yesterday's debacle with the trail and sending Carol off on the wrong road, we decided to stick together and try the Willapa Hills Trail again from Rainbow Falls toward Adna. We were told the trail was pretty good and it was...for about 8.5 miles when it, unexpectedly, ended at a washed out train trestle over the South Fork of the Chehalis River. We had to backtrack 3 miles to the last road crossing (where it would have been helpful to have a sign mentioning the lack of a bridge) which was Ceres Hill Rd. We were able to follow Ceres Hill out to Hwy 6.

At Spooner Rd. we wanted to get back on the trail (after bypassing the missing bridge). This time we had a look to the map to see if there was the possibility of another washed out bridge. There was another river crossing. We decided to go for it, knowing we might have to backtrack again.

We got onto the trail and all was fine until we got to the river again. There was a sign at the river that said "Trail Closed". There was an intact train trestle bridge, but the trail has yet to be developed over it. It was just the railroad ties. No railing or other decking over the ties. We decided we could make it by pushing our bikes. This was not for the acrophobic! Some of the ties were a little rotten. They were still pretty sturdy though. Some were farther spaced apart than others. The important thing was to keep the bike perpendicular to the ties because otherwise the wheels would fall through (as Carol found out toward the end when she tried to turn to go through the barrier). It was a long way across, but we all made it. At least we didn't have to worry about any trains coming!

From the other side of the trestle, the trail was paved. We rode through Adna until the trail crossed Hwy 6. From there we got back on the highway.

We took a break at a gas station/mini mart at Hwy 603 and Hwy 6 where the clerk recognized me from when I stopped there when I was doing the Two County Double Metric Century route. We chatted for a bit. He also remembered I had told him I was doing this Peninsula trip.

From there we had 5 miles on Schueber Rd. into Centralia and our 5th and final Subway stop. After lunch it was pretty much auto-pilot for me--home up 507 to Tenino and the trail home. Just outside Centralia we saw the guys painting the STP Dan Henry route markers. I hollered, "See ya next week!".

We arrived home to no fanfare, but we got Nolan to take a photo of us. It was a successful tour by all accounts. A little bit of everything--beautiful scenery, rain, sun, and most of all, adventure!

Now Christian will stay here in Olympia for a couple of days, then I will ride with him to Vashon, camp out one last night together, then come back home. Christian will continue to Seattle.


erinprovost said...

Thank goodness for the kindness from strangers.

Wayne VanWeerthuizen said...

There is now a Facebook group called Willapa Hills Trail Fans. You are welcomed to join.