Guest blogger, Jocelyn Gaudi, reports on her fat bike trip in early March. Jocelyn is a member of the Komorebi Cycling Team, a women’s cycling team dedicated to wandering in the right direction.
On the second Saturday in March, a couple hundred cyclists gathered out front of the Holsteins Coffee in downtown The Dalles, Oregon. The crowd buzzed with caffeine influenced busyness as riders stuffed pockets with snacks and rechecked their tire pressure.
I was standing on the periphery, waving to familiar faces and waiting for my fellow Mutineers to show up. The majority of this bike gang would follow along the fantastic Dalles Mountain 60 route. But a few of us had planned a slightly different adventure – the Dalles Mountain Mutiny. Our fat bikes, fully loaded with everything we needed for two days and a night away from home, were in vast contrast to the cross and gravel riding rigs that most folks would be riding away on.
We all started out of town together, crossing over the Dalles Bridge into Washington state and beginning the long pedal up unpaved Dalles Mountain Road. At the top of the climb, the skinnier tires headed east while we Mutineers stopped, took a quick sip of whiskey, then pointed our wide rolling wheels down O’Brien Road toward Swale Creek and the Klickitat Trail.
The Klickitat Trail, an old railroad corridor, is a 31-mile unpaved multi-use trail that gently meanders through Swale Canyon before opening up to run alongside the nationally designated Wild and Scenic Klickitat River. It was quiet and absolutely gorgeous. I gulped at the sweet Ponderosa Pine scented air as we kept a brisk pace between lingering stops to refresh with a beer.
As we neared the town of Klickitat, we took a short detour through a sweet singletrack section to an abandoned natural mineral springs. It was a bit tricky to access the water, but a camelback hose dropped down the well allowed us each the chance to sip the bubbly water straight from the earth.
We rode past the remains of an old lumber mill, before rolling into the sleepy town of Klickitat. We lounged under the big oaks and pines in the little park on Main Street, drinking cheap beer and snacking on treats from the gas station. We were in no rush when we road back onto the trail and headed for a spot on the Klickitat River to set up for the night. We built a little campfire as it started to slowly drizzle and zipped into our tents for a few hours before the real rain started.
It was still steadily raining when the grey morning was bright enough to wake us and encourage making coffee. In spite of the rain, we moved through the start of our day slowly – it wasn’t cold and the clouds hanging in the tall trees alongside the river gave a soft, moody backdrop to our campground scene.
Finally we were back in the saddle and pedaling to the trail’s terminus in Lyle, Washington. From there, a quick climb alongside Highway 14 lead us back towards Dalles Bridge and to the end of our overnight adventure.
The trip was a blast and the route is one that I’m looking forward to doing many more times. My sincere thanks to the Mountain Shop for their gear knowledge and help setting me up with a Salsa Mukluk to ride for the weekend. I also rented Revelate Designs frame, seat, and handlebar bags, and a Six Moon Designs Lunar Solo tent – all the gear needed for a memorable ride.
Tags: backpacking tents, bike seat bag, bike studio, bikepacking, Bikepacking packs, bikepacking trail, Camelback, camping, Dalles, Dalles Bridge, Dalles Mountain 60 route, Dalles Mountain Mutiny, fattire bike, gravel grinder, handlebar bag, Jocelyn Gaudi, Klickitat River, Klickitat Trail, Lunar Solo, Lyle Washington, mountain bike trail, mountain bikes, mountain biking, Mountain Shop, Mountain Shop bikes, mtb, MtShopPDX, Mukluk 2, Portland mountain bikes, Revelate Designs, Salsa, Salsa Cycles, Salsa Mukluk, Six Moon Designs, Swale Creek, tents, trip report
Posted in: Trip Report