I believe I grabbed the last reservation slot for the season opener ride by the Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance. The ride took place on Saturday at the Joe Watt Canyon near Thorp, WA. The weather being sunny for what seems now like a forever, and temperatures climbing towards high eighties over the weekend, I was ready for the long (2 hrs) drive to the eastern side of the Cascades. I was curious for multiple reasons: I have not been east of Snoqualmie since we moved to Seattle, I wanted to meet EMBA riders, who do an awesome job in servicing the mountain biking community here by maintaining the best Trails wiki page, organizing group rides, maintaining trails and building new ones, and of course, tons of biking advocacy.
Many of the trails seemed like freshly cut, sometimes the super narrow ribbon of singletrack disappeared and we free-rode over roots, rocks, grass and loose volcanic soil. The sun baked the backs of our necks, but the 3000 ft elevation and a nice breeze made the hot day very enjoyable. There was a strong pine and sage (I think) smell in the air, which reminded me strongly of John's and mine tour through Southern California almost exactly a year ago.
Back at home, with my bike, myself (including corners of my eyes and nostrils) full of dust, I looked at the GPS track and realized that we rode "only" 11 miles, my legs felt fried more than after Kokopelli Day 3. Was it worth driving 2x 100 miles for this ride? Absolutely! Bunch more photos by Anthony Cree are here, now we only need a map, as Igor pointed out.