Sunday, August 16, 2020

Beacon Hill First Timer Reporting

Back in December when we picked vacation days at work I picked a random weekend in August for a 4-day weekend as is my wont. I think everybody needs some time off in August and maybe we’ll want to go somewhere. We didn’t, as usual, (it’s just too hot) and sometime after I woke up on Friday I said today is the day - I’m biking to Beacon Hill! Finally, after who knows how many years of biking in Spokane, I’m going to one of the premier mountain biking spots in Spokane. I even got out of the house by 10am while it was still cool. Luckily, the forecast was for only temps in the 80° range.

The Beacon Hill trails start at Esmeralda Golf Course and I had hadn’t been there for years. I searched for a bike route there the night before: I didn’t look too closely but saw that Bridgeport will lead to the golf course. It’s about 5 miles away from our house. 

On Friday morning I headed east on Garland Ave, thinking for some reason it becomes Bridgeport somewhere east of  Division.  After Division I went a block south and took Providence Ave paralleling Garland; East Garland is a narrow 2-lane street with parking on both sides. I avoid streets like that. Arriving at 4-lane Regal Street, I said ok where’s Bridgeport and pulled out my phone. Google maps was now telling me to go down to Euclid and cross Regal there.  I headed south and found Bridgeport:

Well ok then, I headed to Euclid and didn’t follow the directions and found Minnehaha Park:

and then found my way to the Esmeralda Bike Trail

The Esmeralda Trail is a loop up to the top of Beacon Hill and back down. It’s mostly smooth with banked corners, a change from the alternately smooth and rocky trails I usually ride out at Riverside State Park. Evergreen East/Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance does a great job in Spokane developing and maintaining trails in the area. 

Big views nearing the top:

more smooth banked trail

and the top, after walking the last bit
Looking at my Fargo with its drop bars and no suspension reminds me that on the way up I went over a little jump off a rock and remembered just as I launched that this bike isn’t really made for jumping. Luckily, I made the landing without crashing or hitting my mouth on the handlebars. 

At the top there are signs for some of the other trails with names like Upchuck to explore. Plenty of trails to explore. Being out of shape and not sure how far afield the trails went, I took the Esmeralda Trail back down. It was a fun ride down and for once I was careful not to get going too fast for my skill level and bike. 

I got a sandwich at the golf course afterwards and eyed the bike and scooter-style carts available to rent. I’ve been thinking about trying a little golf again and next time I could do a mountain bike/golf duathalon.

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