Headed to TJ Meenach Bridge and explored the loop I've found - take either the Centennial Trail or Trail 100 up to the Military cemetery, climb up Houston Rd, through Ponderosa Park, swing back on Greenwood to Deno Rd, up Mission Rd, to Old Trails Rd for a few miles to where it becomes, turns into or collides with N Inland Rd just past Marchand Rd. Turns out the elevation gain is similar to the first part of the Ephrata Gran Fondo and is good practice.
At the Old Trails/Inland Rd point there are a few different loop options - Trail 25 crosses here, so my idea is to take it east down to the Bowl and Pitcher for a short version. Or go west skimming the ORV park for a longer ride. Or continue on Inland Rd, down to State Park Rd to the Deep Creek Overlook area and then to the Centennial Trail again. It's a flexible loop.
I figured Trail 25 was still icy and snow covered in spots, so I headed on Inland Rd towards Deep Creek. But I got waylaid by another sign for Trail 25 just off Inland Rd. I've been on this trail a few times, and was still wondering how it could be Trail 25, too, when 25 just crossed Inland Rd a hundred yards back. Imposter trail? I can't just ignore a sign for The Trail, so I took it. It sucks me in.
I'm pretty sure this isn't Trail 25. I think maybe, just maybe, I've figured out the trail signs. This might be old hat to people familiar with trail markers, or I could be completely wrong which wouldn't surprise me. If the marker has an arrow pointing up, as in the above picture, it's a sign saying "ahoy, this-a-way to Trail 25". If the arrow is pointing left or right, you're on the trail, and it's pointing which way to continue. This way of looking at the markers matches the trail up with the Riverside State Park map produced by the Inland Empire Back Country Horsemen. Might have to talk to a ranger next time, or maybe somebody can clue me in.
But of course, this trail doesn't lead directly to Trail 25, it heads around the ridge down to Inland Rd/Seven Mile Rd. From there you go to the State Park Rd to The Trail.
Arriving back on Inland Rd, I crossed it and followed another trail down to the creek:
Didn't feel like wading across, so I headed back to the State Park Rd, through Deep Creek Overlook area to the Centennial Trail up to the Carlson Rd Trailhead. Last year I rode Trail 25 from Bowl and Pitcher to Wilbur TH to the Carlson TH but lost it there. There's a bit where 25 and 402 are the same trail and somehow I continued on 402 up to the Trailhead instead of looping around on 25. I'm not sure how I did it as I found Saturday the signs are pretty clear.
It's easy to see looking at the Horsemen's map how The Trail turns around here and the east and west sections are also connected by 402. 25 is the red line:
|Just another sign for 25 further up Carlson Rd.|
NW corner of the trail
I rode, walk, slipped, and tumbled my way down the icy 25 trail to Deep Creek, then managed to climb back up. Almost slipped back down to the creek once or twice. I tooled around the Carlson area for quite awhile, going back and forth trying to familiarize myself with the trails in the area.
Time for a bike pic.
By now I was out more than the couple hours I planned, but not having any other obligations that day, I explored as much as I could. I finally got tired of it and headed home. I think I have Trail 25 mostly figured out now - of course, I thought that before and was wrong about it.
The whole confusing garmin map is here. Turned out I was out for 5 hours. Afterwards I thought that's a little excessive - I think I'll keep my rambles to 2-3 hours tops from now on. But I think I'll be able to survive 6 hours at Ephrata.