We had this great idea a couple of Saturday's past to take a bike ride along the Salmon Creek to a dam where there's a lake that provides some of the Juneau water. There's a nice traffic-free bike path to the trail head that we have already ridden on and then there's a road back in that's closed to traffic except for the maintenance crews. We took snacks to have a picnic and were going to stop at the grocery store on the way back to pick up one item for the next day's hike already scheduled with some friends.
Have you ever had one of those days where you're walking (riding, skiing, etc.) and it doesn't seem to matter which direction you're going but you're always heading into the wind. You can even turn around and the wind suddenly changes directions. Sorta' like those stories of walking to school uphill, both ways (even though that can often be true, right Valentine kids!). Well this was one of those bike rides. It was about 7 miles from our house to the trail head all with a headwind. We got to the closed road and stared up at the 500 ft elevation gain within the first 200 feet and as far as you could see. This is where the cross-training began. We had to maneuver through the gate and might have been able to make it riding up hill if we had had some momentum going but we had to start uphill at a dead stop and it just wasn't going to happen. (It was slightly embarrassing when we got passed by the jogger but I wasn't supposed to mention that).
The trail did finally level out and began to follow the creek through a lovely narrow little valley with lots of wildflowers and small waterfalls heading towards the creek.
There were several small bridges that went over the creek and the water was really flowing.
When we got to the end of the road at about 3.5 mile there was a powerhouse for the dam. Along side it was a steep trail through the woods that went up and over the dam. The trail followed a large water pipe. We stashed our bikes and took our backpacks with our picnic and headed up the hill.
This shows the dam about half-way up the hill.
It was a lovely trail but got really steep at the end of it. We were pretty low on energy when we finally stopped for lunch. Then we hiked back down, got on our bikes and were back at the trailhead in maybe 10 minutes. Its always faster on the way back and this was a really fast trip because it was all downhill. But wait - we still had the bike ride back to town, a stop to the grocery store and then back home - all in a headwind that had changed direction while we were hiking on the trail.
We were pooped but it was worth it!