Ain't nuthin like ridin' a fine horse in a new country - Augustus McCrae – Lonesome Dove

Friday, September 14, 2012

Heart Lake to Cranberry Lake ~

Heart Lake to Cranberry Lake
This is one of my very favorite places to ride.  Sadly though - we drove into the parking area & found signage warning of Toxic Algae.  To see what can be such a beautiful lake, in the Summer with children playing - looking so awful was not good...
Heart Lake
One of the very few areas where you can actually ride in a forest that hasn't been logged over & over.  You can admire the huge Douglas Firs, native ground covers & even large rock formations.  Never in the years since Diane introduced me to the area have I see it so dry.  The trails that are all dirt, were so hard that the mares were slipping on the downhills.
Typical section of shady trail
Thankfully Lynn remembered her maps & we spent late morning into early afternoon in the cool shade taking whatever trail we came upon that headed to Cranberry Lake.  Some are very technical - no doubt about it.  Large boulders in the trail surface & short steep downhills & switchbacks.  We reached our goal & stopped for a snack & to let the mares drink & graze.
Cranberry Lake
Cranberry Lake was beautifully clear & fresh.  No boating allowed has probably been what has save it from a fate similar to Heart Lake.   The sun was getting low on the horizon by the time we headed back, reaching the trailers 5-1/2 hours later.  Diane will be LOL when she reads this - but I actually didn't do too bad as guide :-)  We ran into several people on bikes - the heavy bike use has probably contributed to the compacted hard surfaces on the trails.  Better to share than not to have them at all.
Farah gets her drink
I know that Diane had lead me to at least three view spots over the years we rode these trails, all with incredible views, but this day we only found one.  An "urban" view - but still beautiful.
View from what the map said was a "view point"
 We rode almost 15-mi. with a maximum elevation of 663 ft.  Here's my Garmin's Stats ~  Farah was near perfect the entire ride, until about 1/2-mile from the parking - when she again slammed my left knee into a tree!  I saw it coming this time & managed to make it a more glancing blow - BUT!  I turned her around & we did it again!  I am going to go ahead & put those English spurs on my boots!


  1. Wow my old stomping grounds! I did thousands of conditioning miles in those woods on Elation. Some great hills!

  2. when you see the tree heading for your leg... turn her head into it
    she won't want to get clunked and will swing her body and your leg away from the tree... trees 101

    1. Great summer for all your rides! I like Pat's idea!

  3. What a gorgeous ride! Love that clear lake.


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