Just East of the West with the Compact AIR EXP 10
Perhaps one of the best-kept secrets about the Pacific Northwest is that hiding just over the mountains from the lush, green, tepid (i.e. soggy) coast is a crisp climate with four seasons. October is the gateway month. Over the course of three weeks, I worked my way up the east side of the Cascades through Leavenworth. After that, it was on to the Methow Valley before finally crossing up and over Highway 20 to return, however briefly, to the San Juan Islands before departing the islands for the winter.
Along the way I fully enjoyed the wonderful hospitality of friends and took advantage of the fantastic weather to share great meals and ride my bike on some fantastic trails in Leavenworth, including Rosy Boa.
The loop goes up Ranger Road, topping out 1400 feet later at around 2800ft before defending Rosy Boa. Rosy is a fast single track with downhill feel and XC character.
Rosy Boa is aptly named because it winds like a serpent nearly all the way back down to town with a character so friendly and fast that the crisp October air makes your cheeks a little rosy. Or, maybe it's named for the trail rash of an overzealous rider going just a little too fast…Fortunately, I packed up my Deuter Compact Air EXP 10 with my bike tool, patch kit, a tube, and pump to fix the one front flat that happened just about the time I was flying over the handle bars.
That little pack came in handy as I moved north up the least side to Winthrop, where I encountered my first snow of the season. A snack, an extra layer and some water were all that I needed to get through a quick hike up into the snow. Winter is here!
–Tom Murphy (Outdoor Ambassador).