Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Columbia Plateau Trail, Amber Lake to Martin Road

Sunday, March 31st, 2013

11:00 AM
Left the homestead in Post Falls. Amber Lake is just a short drive south of Cheney, and you drive through the Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge. If you're into that sort of thing.

12:30 PM
Arrived at Amber Lake trailhead/boat launch, where parking was definitely not an issue. As it goes in Washington, make sure you have a dumb Discovery Pass.

Yup, people are flocking to this place

The crew ready to roll, Amber Lake behind.
Mavis is wondering why my bike cost more
than hers and doesn't have a kickstand
12:40 PM
On the trail. The section right at the trailhead was fairly loose, course, and rough, so we questioned how far Mavis would make it on her cruiser bike. It smoothed out once we got going.

Loose, course, and rough. Like I said.

1:15 PM
Didn't take long to get into the groove. We immediately started riding through some rock cuts and large fills, one of my favorite aspects of rail trails.

Into a rock cut, full steam ahead
2:00 PM
After paralleling a beautiful canyon for awhile, we decided to stop for lunch. We picked out a nice little shady spot between the trail and the canyon (keep in mind, most everything outside of the trail itself is private property. Respect!) I took the opportunity to do our own version of a baptism for Kewpie. Places like this are what we consider church, and after all... it was Easter Sunday!

Chillin' in our church pews after Kewpie's ceremony
Never ones to pass up climbing opportunities

3:00 PM
Back on the trail for the return trip. We ended up being a couple miles short of the Martin Road trailhead, but we're not really into pushing the kids until they're miserable. The distance we went worked out perfect.

The Boo enjoyed finding old
railroad artifacts along the trail
4:30 PM
Back at the trailhead. Mavis nursed Kewpie while we went down to check out the boat launch, where we found MORE rocks to climb... which I made somewhat of a scene almost falling off of. Overall, this is a great trail that actually runs all the way to the Tri-Cities. However, much of it is not really improved, and currently some of the trestles and/or bridges are blocked off. I do know that just west of the Martin Road trailhead, the trail is nothing but huge chunks of aggregate roadbed. Hiking would probably be okay, but riding it would suck. It was around 65 degrees when we rode, which was fine. I'm not sure we'd have enjoyed doing this trail with it much warmer. The Palouse scablands get hot!

Distance: 7.5 miles one-way
Elevation Gain: Negligible

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