31 October 2014

There and back a biking tale

"You ever notice Kevin's rides on the Kenai NEVER involve a shuttle???" - Brant Grifka, 2014

My day started with meeting Kevin at Carrs on Huffman, donuts in hand we set of for the trail head where we would be meeting up with Roger to make a party of three.

On the way down to the peninsula we noticed that a Boretide was in progress, Kevin and I decided a hasty stop was in order since neither of us has seen one close up( I think that is what you said Kevin).

Snowy mountains and a bore tide 
Bore tide passing us
On reaching the trailhead where Roger was already waiting for us, we geared up and set off up the trail.
Johnson pass from the north side is a fairly undulating trail for the first five miles, then the climb gets a little steeper to the lakes at the summit which is approximately ten miles into the trail. Once at the summit the trail drops fairly steadily for the next three miles, followed by another short climb, then more descending down to Upper Trail lake. We turned around at mile twenty one to head back, even though the trail extends another 1.5 ish miles to the Seward highway. 

Kevin had already ridden the trail to Johnson lake just past the summit on the previous Sunday and had mentioned that the trail conditions were pretty awesome.  He was not wrong.
As can be seen in these photos, even my camera can't keep up with the speed my companions were climbing.
Kevin enjoying the climb

Roger enjoying the climb, not as much as Kevin

perfect trail conditions

Due to the sheltered north facing slopes not getting a lot of sun at this time of the year the hoar frost was spectacular.
Hoar frost

Big mountains surrounding us
After around two hours of riding we arrived at this...
Bench Lake

 And then continued on to Johnson Lake just past the summit of the pass.
Looking back down the trail at Johnson Lake
After passing Johnson lake we were breaking trail and the conditions were a little soft in places.  Luckily fatbikes work pretty well and we were at least able to ride most of the trail.  We continued our descent with the snow becoming more infrequent as we got lower down the pass.
Fun descending from here
We continued moving for another couple of hours until we reached Upper Trail Lake which was our turn around point, food was eaten, beer drank and we took a moment to take in the view.
Upper Trail Lake
We started heading back up the pass, by this point I think it is fair to say that Roger and I were pretty tired, Kevin seemed to be sucking all of our energy from us as he bounded up the trail, I think his definition of a mellow climb needs to be revisited!

After about 2hours and 40 min of climbing we were treated to a spectacular golden hour at the top of the pass.
Johnson Lake on way home
We checked lights put on jackets and started our descent back to the trail head.  I stopped at the pass summit sign for a photo since we had missed out on the way up.
Johnson Summit Sign
I then proceeded to try and catch the less tired riders in front of me.
Chilling out and waiting for me

Trail by river
After this photo was taken It became a little to dark for photography and besides which we all wanted back to trail head.  We arrived back a little over ten hours after we had left.  Tired but happy with the day's riding.   Thanks again guys for an AWESOME ride.

"........we shuttled to the trailhead........" -Kevin Murphy, 2014

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