Dealing with record heat and dry and dusty conditions, it’s time for more hot summer mountain biking from the Cascade Mountains. The conditions are not ideal, but the way things are going, there may be no riding at all if the fire situation keeps getting worse, as it probably will.
Even though it’s hot, the mountains are as good as a place as any to be. It’s usually a few degrees cooler than the lower elevations, but continued temperatures in the nineties with no rain is a major concern as far as fire danger goes.
These are multi use trails so, while they are not crowded by any means, they do get used and over time the hard pack trails turn to dust. There is a lot of sand in these mountains, some trails are like a dusty beach. With hills.
Unfortunately, August has become Raging Wildfire Month in the PacNW and there are fires burning everywhere. Depending on the wind direction and distance from the fire, it could go from clear skies to fire smoke, or “haze” as the NWS calls it, in a matter of hours.
Higher up and closer to Mt. Adams, the 12,281′ mountain was engulfed by fire smoke and haze. More of the northern side of the mountain is barely visible through the smoke, but it looks like a bit more snow on the side of the mountain with less exposure to the summer sun.
The wind changes direction and the smoke is gone, at least for a few days. The temperature can drop 20°F in a matter of hours as a weather front moves through the mountains. With all the heat, a cool mountain day to ride is more than welcome.
There hasn’t been any rain for awhile and there probably won’t be any in the near future, but these healthy looking mushrooms popped out of the ground in the cool morning sun.
Some days we ride on the Forest Service roads because the trails don’t go everywhere or you need to ride on the road from one trailhead to another. The roads are dusty, dirt and rocks, same as the trails. Some of the mountain climbs here are steep and hard. The easiest way up is extremely difficult. Ride up on roads and down on the trails if possible.
This Forest Service road leads up towards Mt. Adams as it weaves between smaller volcanic mountain peaks.
I didn’t make it all the way to the end of the road because the last mile or so is so steep it’s hard to walk up. That will be a goal for a later date. Nice view of a cloud capped Mt. Adams.
Riding a singlerack trail on the way down, we always stop here. This rocky section of trail doesn’t look all that dangerous, but if you fall and get hurt here, it’s at least three hours to the ER.
So far this summer it’s been butterflies gone wild. Just about everywhere you go, the air is full of them. They don’t seem to be too afraid of humans.
The wildfires continue to burn and more days are full of smoke. The last day in the mountains the smoke rolled in before sunset that has lasted a few days now and is expected to last a few more.
All we can do is sit out the smoke because riding is very unhealthy with the weather like this. No bike riding, fishing sucks, wildfires, pandemic, Ay Caramba!