This trip happened last month on October 24, 2010. Five of us ran to Larch Lake and then rode our bikes – legally – down a former hiking trail to Highway 2 at Coulter Creek road near the rest area. Don, the co-owner of Scottish Lakes High Camp near Leavenworth, asked us to advertise the new bike trail. So here is the story…
Don drove us and our bikes from Highway 2 to the Scottish Lakes High Camp. The road is gated, so to do this trip you must either stay at High Camp (thus qualifying for a motorized ride) or ride your bike up the road to High Camp.
NOAA forecasters were not hedging their bets, forecasting a “100% chance of rain.” Based on this one day, that translates to: “Maybe a few sprinkles, sun breaks, and snow above 5000 feet.”
From High Camp we ran over McHugh Ridge to Chiwaukum Lake and up to Larch Lake. This time of year the wind seems to blow especially cold at Larch Lake. So we quickly turned around and returned to High Camp, where we lounged around the woodstove and ate brownies.
The run was prelude for a cool new thing: A screaming bike ride down the brand-new single track that Don just established to attract more summer visitors to the Scottish Lakes High Camp. The bike trail is about 8 miles, and it follows an old hiking trail from Highway 2 to Lake Donald and Loch Eileen. The upper part is through a burned and clear-cut area, eventually giving way to beautiful forest down below.
The trail has some technical parts that I carried my bike over. These include a few tight switchbacks and some areas where you ride over newly-cut alder stumps. But a brand new single track bike trail next to a corner of the Alpine Lakes Wilderness is a rare and valuable treasure. The Scottish Lakes camp and the surrounding area are just beautiful, too.
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