Ape Canyon, WA


We ride part way up Mt. St. Helens on our mountain bikes.

Note: click images to see a larger version in a new window

This was Day Four of the 2008 Celebration of Life.

After our easy day at Willapa Bay yesterday, we had another leisurely start. We had breakfast, packed, shopped, and finally really hit the road about noon. We drove around the the south side of Mt. St. Helens, where we eventually ran into closed road. The entire northwest was visited by a pineapple express in 2006 that devastated the backcountry areas around the cascades. The flooding ravaged the roads, flattened trees, and carved fresh canyons on the flanks of the mountains. Today, however, we weren't complaining about the closed roads; on our mountain bikes we were able to proceed across the washouts to an empty trailhead at the bottom of Ape Canyon trail. We had the place entirely to ourselves.



Here we are about ready to start our ride. Art is acting in deference to my employer, covering up the Brand X label. Group bike ride shot

Another day, another batch of huge trees. It may look like Art is cruising on a flat trail, but he's already climbing a pretty good grade. If you click for a bigger picture, you can see the muscle definition in his quads, showing the power he's applying to the pedals. Whoa! Defo! ;-)

The background is an old lahar, a mud flow of volcanic ash and assorted boulders. We were to get to know these lahars, worm flows, and canyons pretty well in the next few days.

Scree traverse

As you continue the climb up the ridge, it gets steeper and more technical. Here you can see Art going through some tight turns and in the middle of a switchback. You'll want to note the trail and how much fun it would be to descend, because I didn't take any pictures on the way down... I was having WAY too much fun.

Scree traverse

At the top of the ridge, you leave the trees for a fantastic view of Mt. Adams. That's Brian on the little bench just right of center.

From here, we would be riding across the pumice of the Plains of Abraham.

Mayan Temple

Art and Brian are riding through the pumice fields with Mt. St. Helens in the background. Those are just clouds....

This section of trail would be important to us tomorrow when we walked this same trail.

Dinner at Bead lake
We rode a ways across the Plains, then turned around...we would be back tomorrow, so there was really no point in going further. Besides, there was descending to do! Climber near summit


The Ape Canyon trail is really fun, with lots of zooming through old growth and twisting through some challenging switchbacks.

After we got to the bottom of the ridge, we rode back on the closed paved road to our camp and began the process of getting ready for our next day, the Loowit Trail.

Climber near summit

Mr. Natural Home | 2008 | Back to top of page | Questions :: e-mail to splattski