Thursday, June 28, 2012

Bean Creek & Resurrection Pass-Biking Them

This was supposed to be our 'off' or easy workout day.  It ended up being yet another intense one.  Seems like we just can't help ourselves....

In exploring Cooper Landing backroads, we'd discovered a trailhead sign labeled Bean Creek Trail.  It was a rough road, and we drove it till it got too rough to drive (.7 miles up it), and then resolved we would come back and bike it to see where it went.  Meanwhile, we found out that the Bean Creek Trail connects with the Resurrection Pass Trail, which we also wanted to bike.  The Resurrection Pass trailhead is right in Cooper Landing (south end) so we knew it wouldn't be too far.  The question was, how hard was the trail?  It had gotten to the point that everyone laughed at me when I gave my opinion about the difficulty of trails because I kept saying, "It's easy" but it ended up being a killer (Honestly, most trails we biked were pretty darn difficult and not your typical beginner or kid trails.).  So I said, "I think the Bean Trail is pretty easy," and everyone rolled their eyes and laughed.  The reality was it was....uhhhh...a bit rough. 

The road part of the trail ends about a mile past the trailhead sign, which is up Slaughter Ridge Road (which is off Bean Road, the road you take to Kenai Princess Lodge).  That first part was uphillish, but hard packed so pretty easy.  Then it turns into a 4-wheeler type trail.  It was still uphill but not too bad.  Then it turns into a single-track trail that is either massive mud and/or covered with tree roots...AND it is still going uphill.  I cannot believe we made it a mile on a trail like that.  There were spots that had been improved and were smooth, wide and graveled, and I suppose those spots gave us hope. 

Resurrection Falls
Two miles from the trailhead we reached the Resurrection Trail.  Only two miles.  The sign said Resurrection Falls to the left, or Trout Lake/Juneau Lake to the right.  Oh what the heck.  Even Denver was willing to go right and see if we could get to the falls.  Bigish downhill on the way....we are all thinking about biking back up that.  Was this a mistake?  When we got to the falls we realized it was the best decision of the day.  The falls was stupendous.  There was so much water going through it, and we had it all to ourselves, and we could feel the spray even though the falls was falling hundreds of feet into the chasm and we were across from it.  Wow.  I love that falls, but especially with so much water coming through.

We ate lunch and headed back.  At the Bean Trail turn-off we had a pow-wow.  Aurora wanted to keep biking.  Denver and Douglas had had enough.  I didn't like splitting up, but all week I'd stopped short of how far I really wanted to go, and I knew this was our last ride of the vacation.  I said yes, I'd bike 2 more miles with Aurora.  Douglas and Denver headed down the bumpy, muddy Bean Trail, and we headed north towards the Devil's Pass intersection and Hope.

Turnoff to Trout Lake
The trail in that direction was comfortable:  wide enough, gently rolling, not too bumpy and no bear scat.  Pretty soon we'd gone the two miles I'd said I'd go.  We were going at 8-10 mph, making good time and feeling good.  We opted to keep going.  Another mile down the trail we got to the Trout Lake turnoff.  It was 2 more miles to Juneau Lake, which was definitely further than I wanted to go though it was where Aurora had wanted to go.  Trout Lake was a mere half mile off the main trail, so we opted to go there.  Really, it was my curiosity that was spurring me on at that point.  I love to explore and see new places.  A little ways down that trail I saw a black bear print in the mud; ah, time to make some noise. 

Trout Lake Cabin
The Trout Lake cabin is sweet!  It is two stories, with 2 queen beds upstairs (just the wooden platforms, no bedding), a bunkbed downstairs, along with the woodstove, kitchen counter and picnic table.  It is new, with a handicap ramp even.  I most definitely want to come back and stay there sometime.  Aurora waded, we ate the last of our food and drank lots of water and headed back.  The 5.5 miles back to the car was insanely fast and fun.  We were pushing hard, bombing the hills, mud flying, ripping right over the tree roots.  Aurora was in the lead and going fast, but there were still times I had to slow down on the downhills.  The amount of mud on us and our bikes was amazing.  Not an inch of us was not covered, including face and helmets.

Trout Lake
Two die-hard mountain bikers I know say the Resurrection Pass Trail is their favorite for biking.  Now I can see why as it was very do-able.  My uncle had just told me a story of his biking from Hope to Cooper Landing on the Resurrection and a brown bear was on the trail in front of them on the section of trail we were on.  It was too far to turn around and go back to Hope so they just waited for the bear to wander off the trail and then bike on, but my uncle recalls being pretty freaked out.  So I whistled a lot and prayed some that this wouldn't be the day we ran into a bear.

It was a beautiful day to be biking and it felt good and we were each able to get our fill of adventure and exercise. All I can say about the Resurrection Trail is:  I'll be back!

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