Escape to Cowiche Canyon

As anyone who read my post about the "8 hours of Thrilla" training ride last Tuesday might have guessed, I was in serious need of a change of scenery. I needed to get away from the trails I've been riding all winter; get away from the rain and the clouds and the muck; and perhaps most of all I needed to just have a nice, casual ride with friends... just for the sake of riding.

Erik stopped by the other morning to show me his new road bike and we got to talking about heading east to the dry part of the state and reacquainting ourselves with the sun. We had ridden at a place called Cowiche Canyon near Yakima back in the spring of 2005 and while we weren't terribly impressed with the place, it seemed like just the ticket to recharge our batteries and escape the winter blahs. If but for only one day.

Me on the super-fun canyon descent trail.
Photo by Erik.

Four of us met at the park on Snoqualmie Ridge at 9am and piled into Erik's truck for the 2 hour drive east to wine country. The only sampling we would do would be of the dry, sandy singletrack outside of Yakima. There was a nip in the air as we left and the pass was scheduled to get another couple inches of snow, but it wouldn't be long before we were basking in the sunlight.
We rode for about 3 hours including stops and although a brief squall came through that pelted us with sleet and hail for about 15 minutes, we did have a nice day. The temperatures were in the 50's, the sun did occasionally make itself known, and the only mud we saw was a thirty yard strip of it on a trail by a river. Everything else was dry and dusty -- just the way we want it this time of year.

We didn't ride fast, we didn't ride nonstop, and we didn't race one another. I even brought the my singlespeed. No, we simply just rode and talked, and had a good time. And when it was all done we went out for a hearty steak dinner in town...

Click for photo slideshow

...and killed some time because the pass was closed due to an avalanche. You can't ever fully escape winter, even in April.

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