Thursday, July 20, 2017

Bikepacking the OAT


With Canada's 150 loaming and hoards of "patriots" descending on Victoria, the countries sesquicentennial seemed like the perfect weekend to load up the bikes and skip town. Luckily just across the water, in the land of the Budweiser king can, lies 26 miles of flowy, buff singletrack just waiting to be shredded.


The OAT or OAR as the route is often referred to by locals, is the "adventure" routing for the classic Olympic Discovery Touring Route. 


The trail does a fair bit of climbing over its length but it is almost entirely on switchbacks, switchbacks so good they are fun to ride up!


This rest area is called the living room, it's just one of many stellar viewpoints of the Olympic Mountains on the trail. Also where we saw one of the very few riders we passed. Amazingly few riders for how well maintained the trail is. 



The trails are super buff, making it very beginner friendly. Kate hadn't spent much time on a mountain bike before the trip and loved the riding. But don't let the beginner friendly nature of the trail fool you, if you want to open it up the trail still delivers. It's insanely fun on a loaded down bike but I am stoked to head back and ride it unloaded soon!




10/10 would poach a bivy site here...






So where the trail drops you out at Crescent Lake we were planning on hitting the Spruce Rail Trail around the lake. This route looks fun, with old railway tunnels, cool bridges and most notably "The Devils Punchbowl", a rad looking swimming hole. Unfortunately for us they were doing some renovations on this section, so after poking around in the construction zone, breaking a chain and essentially getting the boot we were forced to detour around the other side of the lake on Highway 101. This section sucks, but luckily for you construction is done so you will not have to meet the same fate. I had ridden that section of highway once before while pulling a trailer and I had hoped to not have to do it again... no such luck this time. 


Fairholme campsite was busy but they apparently always find room for cyclists who frequent it.

Luckily for us we met a super friendly Texan named Trent. Trent had relocated from Texas to Forks, yes the Forks from Twilight. Trent was rad and shuttled us around the highway detour so we could ride the paved Olympic Discovery Trail back to Port Angeles instead of grinding it out on the highway. We were the third Canadians Trent had picked up that week. Trent was stoked our bikes were lighter than the last Canadian he picked up, a guy who had run his motorcycle out of gas. Trent gave the guy and a his bike a lift in his truck. Trent apparently is good at making peoples days better, in life be like Trent.
If your looking for a great weekend endeavor, that requires little planning and maximum fun, the OAT is it! Lots of good beta out there but the best two are:
Bikepacking.com and the MTB Project