Scenes from the saddle
Wednesday, August 22, 2018
The end of summer might be lurking around the corner, but outdoor enthusiasts of all ages still have plenty of time to seek out the sights of the season. Following are a few ways to do so via two wheels.
First up is the Mt. Baker Bicycle Club’s signature ride, the Chuckanut Classic, which on Sun., Aug. 26 will put nearly as much of an emphasis on the views that can be seen from the 25-, 38-, 62- or 100-mile routes as it does on making sure the popular event starting and ending at Bellingham’s Boundary Bay Brewery runs safely and smoothly. If you choose the south loop, the scene from your saddle will provide peeks at the San Juan Islands while overlooking Bellingham, Samish, and Padilla bays—along with the stunners known as Chuckanut and Blanchard mountains. Those riding the north loop can take long looks at Mt. Baker, the Canadian Cascades, Mt. Shuksan, Birch Bay, and beyond. If you’d rather bring your family along on a shorter guided ride, sign up for a 10-mile, all-ages jaunt featuring treats, entertainment and other stops and surprises for kids. Basically, there’s something for everyone. Cost: Entry is $10-$70. Info: http://www.mtbakerbikeclub.org
That same day, members of the Skagit Bicycle Club will be on hand from 11am-3pm for the 11th annual Classic Bike Show taking place during Anacortes Open Streets. In addition to sussing out the 50 classic bikes sourced from local and special guest collectors at the corner of 5th Street and Commercial Avenue, Skagit County Special Olympics will have athletes and information nearby, as will Bakerview BMX riders. Please note that registration is not required for a special ride starting before the main event. Meet at the showgrounds at 10am, and choose from two social rides with leaders. When you’re finished, hop off your steed and take to the streets. Cost: Free. Info: http://www.skagitbicycleclub.org
A couple of Sundays later, Whatcom Events will host the return of the Mt. Baker Hill Climb departing from Chair 9 Pizza in Glacier. From there, cyclists will ascend more than 4,500 feet to Artist’s Point over approximately 24 miles, with social riders leaving at 7am, recreational riders at 8am, and competitive racers at 8:30am. Last run in 2013, the iconic event offers unparalleled mountain views. If you’re up for even more of a challenge, Cascade Cross recently teamed up with Whatcom Events to offer Black Mountain Cross on Sat., Sept. 8. The tune-up race kicking off the cyclocross season takes place at Camp Saturna in Maple Falls and will feature “big run-ups, fast gravel and forest trails with the potential for some hot and sweaty racing.” Cost: $20 for Saturday’s event, $80-$100 for Sunday’s. Info: http://www.bakerhillclimb.com
Treasure hunting in Skagit
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A river runs through it
Paddling down the Skagit River, the last thing I expected was a current running up the South Fork, pushing me into the North Fork.
My car was at the Conway boat ramp. I’d gotten a ride to Burlington and already paddled three hours against blustery winds. The North Fork leading to La…