The Crew: Dan, Scott, Brian, Becky, and Dave
Every time the topic of what trail to ride comes up, my standard response has been Pemberton. Today, the bluff was called and The Crew headed out for the short trip up the road to Pemberton. After some advice and a map purchase at the LBS, we headed over to the aptly named Mosquito Lake area. We parked in the gravel lot, and headed over to the bottom of Happy Trail for the start of the climb. Happy Trail is a tight, narrow trail that keeps you on your toes as you switchback your way up the hill.
At the top of Happy Trail, we took the brutal fire road climb up the hill until we reached the top of Overnight Sensation. After an initial logging road portion, the trail turns into twisty with healthy sized rock and root drops followed by rutted, dusty slots that wind the way down the hill. Too bad all the altitude we suffered for on the road climb disappeared so fast. The trail was fun in only the way that an environmental nightmare trail can be!
From the bottom of Overnight Sensation, we took the dirt roads over to Mosquito Lake. From Mosquito Lake, we climbed dirt road to the top of Econoline, which, in turn, we took over to Freak Boy. For Brian and myself, this was a return visit to Freak Boy. Last year, Freak Boy was the trail that really turned us on to
Pemberton as a riding destination. This year’s visit did not disappoint. The trail remains feral and steep with many significant rock and root drops. The tread remained often as a slot groove. The higher moisture on this side of hill gave better traction so there was less surfing than on Overnight Sensation. Hang off the back of the bike and you can ride most of it!
Puff off of Econoline and dropped the combination of Cream Puff, Ramble On, and Main Vein to the railroad tracks. There is more rock on this section of trail and the big fun was dropping the steep lines on nose of the rock 30 or 40 feet down and then repeating shortly as the trail steps down the hill. It is a little like Gooseberry Mesa placed on the side of a hill.
The last drop on Main Vein is a rock sequence that extends close to 100 feet down and ends with line that would only be rideable by the best of riders. The very end of this sequence was difficult to walk down—basically a narrow rocky ledge with rock spines paralleling the direction of travel, followed by a very steep and narrow solid rock switchback that is a natural feature in the rock. This section leads to a turn drop for the last 12 feet or so which requires a huck from the crossing ledge over a 4 foot gap onto the curved banked wall to finish. Not for us to ride in this lifetime!
Tired and hungry from a good day of riding, we headed over for a good meal in Pemberton before making the short trip back to Whistler. I’m already lobbying for another day there!