This year, spring has been more like an extended period of winter. Snow in the mountains well into May means the bikepacking season is just beginning. On April 30th, my friend James and I decided we would tackle our first biking overnighter of the season and head up to Bead Lake just north of Newport, Wa. As we started our drive up we already knew that we could very well be doing quite a bit of hike-a-biking due to how much snow we could see up high. We continued on and arrived at the trailhead around 3:30 in the afternoon. At this point sunlight was at the back of our minds and we said to ourselves, "18 miles, we can just ride the loop to the back side of the lake and camp somewhere around the 12 mile point, it can't take that long"...
The loop around Bead Lake starts with a long fire road climb up into the mountains surrounding the lake. Once at the top, the views are phenomenal. You then ride a long stretch of fire road away from the lake heading north to an entrance of single track that descends upon the backside and takes you through some very lush forest. Needless to say, we only made it about 5 miles on the fire road before we started to worry about losing to much sunlight while hike-a-biking through about 2 feet of snow that was left across the road.
Feeling a bit defeated and like the 3" tires I had were simply not enough, we turned back. we rode back down to the trailhead and this time instead took the single track entrance we were planning to finish at. We rode along the lake through massive cedar groves and through highly exposed sections of trail.
There are definitely a few rocky/technical spots where the risk of falling into the lake fully loaded while touring doesn't outweigh the reward of bragging rights. We continued down the trail until we found a little spot tucked into a cove with enough space for us and a few friends who hiked in to join us. The rest of the evening was spent around a fire drinking good whisky and enjoying conversation with great friends.
That evening it cooled down quite a bit and I was definitely glad to have a few down layers. I have to say, my new Club Ride Go Long jersey was by far the most outstanding piece of gear on the trip. It’s rare that I decide to ride and hang around camp in the same shirt but the Go Long’s bamboo fabric really dries quickly and doesn't smell. While on the trip I was also reviewing the Reid Vice 2.0 for bikepacker.com. You can go read the review and little more about the trip here!