occurring or discovered by chance in a happy or beneficial way.
“a serendipitous encounter”
Yep. I finally rode a bicycle to The Spout. When I wasn’t even planning on it. Me and Ryan B.
A group ride was planned for Shoal Bay Road Saturday morning. The plan was to ride some trails south of the main trail that are only accessable in the winter. Darren McD and Ryan B were the only people to show up by 9 AM so off the three of us went. Trail conditions were spectacular; hard, fast and smooth. We were soon to be two.
The last known image of Darren McD. A faulty freehub forced him to turn back.
Perhaps it was Darren’s bad luck that brought Ryan and I good luck. Instead of taking a right on the trail I intended us to travel I suggested we go straight “just for a little bit”. I had been on this section before, three years ago, and I had always suspected it might lead to The Spout, but the last time I had been on it I encountered open water on a pond and had to turn back.
This section of trail was delicious. Up, down, right, left and just wide enough to get a snowmobile through. Conditions were superb. I was starting to get excited. I was beginning to think this just might be the day and started mentioning it to Ryan, who sensed my excitement. When we got past the pond that had turned me back three years ago I got even more optimistic.
Look at all the blue sky!
Big wheels keep on rolling.
Big Fish Pond.
It was around this point, during one of our many stops to take in the scenery, that Ryan said: “Look. Another fatbiker.”
Tim C showed up 40 minutes late and put in a huge effort to catch up with us.
“Why, yes, I did just hammer like a madman to catch you guys.”
Unfortunately Tim could only ride with us for a few km as he had time constraints. He turned west and exited through Middle Pond while we turned east and headed to The Spout. For a map of Tim’s ride see here.
At this point we were now heading up onto the barrens and started meeting up with people who were snowshoeing to The Spout. As always, there were lots of questions about the bikes.
Coming down off the barrens was a hoot!
Fast descents generate big, goofy grins.
At this point we picked up the snowmobile trail that leads to The Spout and I knew we were going to make it. What I didn’t know was what a blast it was going to be riding that trail down to the ocean. It reminded me of riding “Half-Nelson” in Squamish.
Photo courtesy of Ryan B.
Just a few meters from the ocean there are some deadfalls that have to be negotiated.
The final descent to The Spout.
We did it!
Small world. This is Jim W – he and I first met when I was finishing my trans-Newfoundland ride. He was out on his recumbent at the time. He, Tim H, and their spouses hiked out to The Spout. Turns out they are friends with Ryan – super small world.
Tim H getting sold on the value of fat tires.
Ryan and I posed for a few more shots before beginning the ride home.
A few facts:
– the ride was 32 km return
– my total travel time was 6 hours – this included a number of delays (Darren’s mechanical, Ryan had cramping issues), lots of stopping to enjoy the scenary and time hanging out by the ocean.
– there is a bailout point at Middle Pond (see map below).
– I’ve tried riding to The Spout before (and failed) and it is now apparent that the only way to ride there is after snowmobiles have made the journey. Some rain a couple of days before the ride followed by some really cold temperatures helped solidify the trail.
Green balloon = Shoal Bay Road trailhead, red balloon = Middle Pond trailhead.
Jim W sent me this great picture of Ryan and I on the barrens on the way home.
A week later and I’m back again, this time with Darren and Tim, seen here.
Here is Tim’s Strava documentation of the ride. Note the big downhill (and subsequent uphil) to the ocean. Tons o’ fun. To zoom in on the map click here. Note the different return route from the previous week.