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September 4, 2008

Squamish , The Plunge

Filed under: BC 2008, MTB Travel — anotherheader @ 11:22 pm

Sunday started anything but sunny with a drizzly rain that turned to a steady shower. Just when we had written the day off for riding and were running many errands, the weather started to clear and, by late afternoon, we were ready for a short ride.

We visited Corsa Bike shop, towards the southern end of Squamish, for some trail information. We talked to a younger guy who worked there and told him what we had ridden so far and what we liked so he’d be able to understand our level and guide us better. When we mentioned that we really liked Mark My Words, he said that was one of his favorites, too, though he thought that might be because the father of one of his riding buddies built it. It felt like a brush with fame.

The Plunge

After some discussion, our ride choice for the day was The Powerhouse Plunge, otherwise known as The Plunge. We were told at the bike shop that, at one point, The Plunge was voted as the third best trail in Canada, whatever that means. The trail is located to the east of Quest University, outside of the Garibaldi Highlands area where we had been riding so far. Not nearly as long as it’s namesake in Kernville, The Plunge can easily be done as a loop ride, albeit with some less than entertaining forest road in the mix. Looking at the map, it could also be done as part of a much longer shuttle or epic loop ride starting a trail in the 19th Hole Area up the hill. Given the

Cool shades, Alex

Cool shades, Alex

short time frame for the evening’s ride and the desire for some in the crew for a shorter ride with less climbing, we opted to set a quick shuttle.

With excellent guidance from the Pure Tube Navigational System, we were at the trailhead, armored up, and on the trail in no time. A short double track that turned to single track, The Ring Creek Rip, took us to the top of The Plunge. The Plunge started with a smooth descent on skid road that had grown in to become a singletrack trail. Just when we were wondering how this trail could be rated as black diamond in Squamish, of all places, the character of the trail changed dramatically. As the descent began in earnest, the tread changed to rock with some roots and turned steeper. The character of the trail was reminiscent of Butcher Ranch/Pauley Creek in Downieville before sanitization, though The Plunge is more consistently rocky-technical and steeper.



The tread on The Plunge was tricky enough that a couple of the crew members took impromptu off-bike excursions. By our estimation, the crew has not yet ridden a black-rated trail in Squamish without at least one spontaneous test of the Soil-Cushioning InDex (SCID) along the way. By measuring the distance traveled along the ground, which technically is referred to as the “SCID Mark”, we can rate the soil softness index. We are doing our best to provide as full an assessment of the trail conditions in Squamish as possible for the reading public. We hope that it is of value to others.

Lycra and body armor

Lycra and body armor

After rolling and dropping along the ridge, The Plunge ended with a rocking series of switchbacks that headed down the face of the hill depositing us at the powerhouse. Playtime was over too soon after the gently sloped Ring Creek Falls Trail took us back to our vehicles. The overall ride distance was around 4 miles and took us less than 1.5 hours to complete, which was good as it was after 8 pm when we finished. The Plunge is definitely one for us to add to our Squamish trail inventory.



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