I don’t want to tell you how to live your life, but if you’re feeling a bit blue, it’s probably because you haven’t ridden Falls Creek Falls in awhile. And I want you to know I understand. The Gorge is full of great rides or you’re coming from Portland and don’t want to cross the river. But look, it’s the end of August, and time to break out of your riding rut.
Last weekend I got to ride FCF. The 3 ways to do it are as a shuttle (not too shabby), an out-and-back (yuck), or a loop that starts with climbing the road up to the start of the trail(hmmm….)
I’d only ridden it a couple times before, as a shuttle starting at Oldman Pass, but the gung-ho group I was with convinced me that riding up the road wasn’t-really-that-bad. Plus, they argued, riding the road took just about as much time as shuttling so might as well earn our turns, right?
And while I’d never state this publicly, I actually enjoyed the ride up the hill. Though it certainly helped to have an early start to beat the heat, and great conversation partners.
The singletrack itself is dreamy. An exercise in moderation. No epic climbs. Not too much technical. Just flowy, swooping singletrack through gorgeous forests (a great place to practice your turns!) And sure, there was some dust, it’s mid-August afterall, but there were also sections with a bit of tacky dirt AND huckleberries!
To top it all off, a new, sweet sweet section of singletrack has replaced a big-ol-chunk of gravel road riding on FCF. Have you ever built trail before? It’s friggin’ hard. So go give some of your money to the folks at the Northwest Trail Alliance.
They built the new section (along with fantastic volunteers and partners) and it’s incredible. Banked berms, kickers, rocks and boulders thoughtfully placed, views, benches even! So much more than just connecting A to B. As of August 2016, the trail’s still pretty fresh, which means some extra dust and bumps – even more reason to give it a ride, pack it down, and help it get ready for the glory days. When you’re done, hop in the water to cool off, then grab a beer at Backwoods Brewing. Now, aren’t we all feeling just a little bit better?
UPDATE: Since writing this post, I heard from Mr. Andy Crump over at the NW Trails Alliance. He knows a thing or three about the new section of trail and pointed me to a recent NWTA newsletter that describes this epic, 5 year project to create 3.5 new, awesome, trail miles!