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Last word is all yours...
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Never done either of these before, definitely want to do both. Also interested in the Smith Creek option, but a little sketched out by the description on the wiki - especially if I don't have anyone with me who is experienced with the route.

I'm planning to ride sometime in the first half of July. I'm looking for advice, recommendations, tips, whatever about these rides that will help me be best prepared.

Another idea... if anybody is planning a ride out there in July and open to expanding the group, let me know via pm.
 

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meh....
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r1de said:
Never done either of these before, definitely want to do both. Also interested in the Smith Creek option, but a little sketched out by the description on the wiki
What's sketchy about Smith Creek? Sounds pretty straight forward to me. :thumbsup:

I haven't done that ride in a few years, sounds like one to do this year. It's hard to tell in the wiki how current ANY of that information is because nobody dated their entries. :nono: :nono: :nono:

What other big rides have you done?
 

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Last word is all yours...
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Monte said:
What's sketchy about Smith Creek? Sounds pretty straight forward to me. :thumbsup:
It's the route-finding part that I'm nervous about, especially if nobody in my group has ridden it before.... :skep:

Monte said:
What other big rides have you done?
I'm an avid(?) newb, so this would be the first... gotta start somewhere. :D
 

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Cannonball!
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I would double check, but I don't think Smith Creek is opened up yet. I am under the impression that there is still quite a bit of snow on the trail. I heard that Plains has some patches of snow and Smith Creek wouldn't have nearly as much sun exposure. Lewis River should be a beaut!
 

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I5Troll
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We rode a big chunk of it on Sunday. The washout has been fixed so you can drive all the way to the trailhead and park. I just updated the wiki trail page. We ran into a few snow patches near Pumice Butte -- just as we came out of the woods and started riding on the open Plains of Abe. It looked very rideable and worthwhile further up... except... we got hit by a nasty squall! It went from hot'n'sunny-with-no-shirt to f-n-freezing-with-fleece-and-shell in minutes. So we headed back down and into the woods for cover! Waited about 30 minutes... it didn't look any better... so said:

"Scew you gaz, ahm goin home!"


It's an awesome trail... very nice (dare I say "even relaxing") singletrack climb -- which makes it a very nice'n'flowy downhill as well.

I have no idea what Smith Creek is like -- except that I'm definitely going back this year and want to do the whole Ape/Smith loop.
 

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I5Troll
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Oh yeah... it's very easy to find the trailhead. Just follow the directions on the wiki. I have a .GPX file if you want it -- shoot me an email. The Ape trail was well marked and easy to follow as far as we made it.
 

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Last word is all yours...
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks a ton; I just sent you email with a few more questions.
 

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Trail Conditions

Lewis River is clear. You can thank Jerry and Andrea de Ruyter, who have gone many extra miles to keep LR and Siouxon open the last couple of years.

The Growlers Gulch ride crew has cleaned Ape Canyon the last two years and we will hit it again in late July. Jerry, Andrea and some PUMP people did a lot of work on the Smith Creek section last year, so if the snow is off it should be good to go.

It can be a little dicey to find the line in Smith Creek at times, but it is a great adventure. That first four mile DH on pumice is always entertaining.
 

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Cannonball!
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I don't think any of those places would be any more dangerous than anywhere else to ride alone. In fact, there is a fair amount of traffic on all three trails, so I doubt you'll be by yourself!
 

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meh....
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coiler-d said:
I don't think any of those places would be any more dangerous than anywhere else to ride alone. In fact, there is a fair amount of traffic on all three trails, so I doubt you'll be by yourself!
not much traffic on Smith Creek I don't think.
 

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Last word is all yours...
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I did Ape Canyon - thanks for all the guidance!

It was truly awesome. We did the Ape-->Windy Ridge out-and-back. Windy Ridge Viewpoint was open, no snow on the trails, flowers in bloom... it was killer.

Thanks to everybody for the suggestions and advice.
 

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Hey.

I haven't ridden Ape in several years, and I've never done Smith Creek.

Do people generally climb Ape/plains of abraham and then descend Smith, or the other way around?

Is that the more fun way to do it, or is an out and back the best idea if we've never ridden Smith. We are both experienced riders, if it matters.
 

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Ride It Clockwise

I've ridden Smith Creek about 7-8 times. If it's hot, you should prepare for epic conditions. Take a filter so that you can re-up your water supply when you hit the Smith Creek drainage.

We've always done it clockwise, starting and finishing at the Ape Canyon trailhead. Just the thought of pushing out of Smith Creek (a couple thousand feet of steep climbing in pumice over 3-4 miles) is enough to induce nightmares. That run is challenging enough when you are going down.

As people on this thread have noted, it's a wise move to have other people with you. Everyone needs to have skill.
 

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The big thing on smith creek is you have to go up the abandonded logging road. Lower Lava canyon trail that takes you to the other gravel road is blow out by winter storms and is a major bushwack. You'll know you've gone too far when the trail turns due west and after a few minutes it disappears into lava canyon. The old road is marked by a rock carin and a stick in the ground about 5 minutes before this turn. Did it last week and in great shape except for a dozen blowdowns on the old road.
 

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I know it's going to be a scorcher all week, but I'm still planning on the Ape Canyon ride this Saturday... don't know if I'll have another opportunity this season to get down to St Helens, and it's one of the rides I really want to do before August lets out into September as I've got other things on my plate in the late summer/early fall.
 
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