Okay, I exaggerated… It was probably only 35.81 miles of awesomeness since there were a few miles on fire roads (still fun though) and 3 miles of grueling ascent on Trail 456 on Fifteenmile Creek (I didn't mind the climb, but you wouldn't see me with big grins on those steeps). Everything else was just plain awesome!
What we did today mostly combined Rides 9, 10, and 11 in the MTB guidebook (see info in the beta section).
We parked by Fifteenmile Creek Campground. Did the big loop (with a nested loop) to the left first. This part featured a Demo-isque downhill singletrack (Trail 450), a vista point (at FR 4410&4420) with 4-volcano view, a 3.6 mile continuous singletrack (Trail 639) with lots of swoops, whoops, and tight twisty turns, and a 5.6 miles long singletrack (Trail 450 to 456) that mostly climbed gradually up berms after berms that inspired a pleasant mental image of myself flying down the same trail freely.
That loop alone (about 22 miles) would have made an excellent ride by itself, but we wanted more!
After replenishing at the car, we did the upside-down lollipop ride along Fifteenmile Creek. The climb and descent on Trail 457 was pure fun. The extension (called optional in the book) was wild for its dramatic and constant change in the ecosystem along the trail. If you don't mind being whipped constantly by the interlacing soft branches that cover the trail (some people may even enjoy it), it was really an adventure. And even the climb back on that section (3.25 miles one way) was very fun too. We'd say to anyone who decide to do the loop along Fifteenmile Creek should do the out and back on the extension. If you can handle the climb back (Trail 456) on the loop, the extra climb on the extension is insignificant; if you can't, well, not doing the extension would probably not change it anyway. Oh, that climb on Trail 456! Just when you start to feel good about yourself because you are flying up a climb in your middle chainring, suddenly, the gradient steepens, and it does not let off until about almost 3 miles later. How steep? Think 25%. As if that was not enough along, a few rocky ledges are thrown in too. I didn't clean all of it, but did ride most, if not all, of the steeps on the dirt. The rocky ledges hit my weakness though. WOOF! Hard, but I liked it.
When we got back to the car, I offered to Erik that he should go ride down Trail 450 (that we climbed earlier with lots of berms) and I would pick him up at the bottom (on the way back to town anyway). He declined and then counter offered. I took it without a pause. It was getting late, so I rode away without refilling my empty water bladder and I was already feeling hungry. After a climb of about 2 miles on roads, I got to the trailhead. I flew down the trail just like how I had envisioned earlier with a huge grin on my face. What a way to end a long day!!!
– Camping: Tucker Park on 281. Only 10 minutes out of town. $18 for tent camping. Showers. Cellphone reception. Quiet. By a river. Laundromat on the way into town (behind Shari's).
– Breakfast: Bette's Place at 2nd & Oak. 5:30am to 3pm. Free Wifi. Good service. Excellent food. During the stay, we ate our breakfast there three days in a row, and I had the Fresh Dungeness Crab Omelet three days in a row. It was that good! Finally, I decided to take a picture. (On the right side was Erik's Fresh Dungeness Crab Benedict.)
– Dinner: Hood River Taqueria at 13th & B St. Excellent burritos. Or Shari's. 24 hours. Free Wifi. Food was not bad (I had Wild Salmon).
-Mountain Biking Guidebook: Kissing the Trail: Northwest and Central Oregon Mountain Bike Trails. Good info. Almost all you need for riding in the area. Be ware that because trails are constantly extended and added, some information (e.g. trail numbers and mileages) in the book is out-dated.
-Our Ride: Link to page with all GPS formats, GPX, Photo Album