On Monday, we headed out for a sequence of trails off of the Diamondhead Peak area. Though you can ride your bike up the service roads to the upper trailhead, the climb is long and often steep, loose, and unpleasant. We opted to shuttle.
The bike shops had suggested that we ride a new trail, Angry Midget, otherwise known as Angry Little Person. We didn’t get the full story about the politically incorrect trail name beyond that it referred to a particular bike shop employee in Squamish. There must have been a tale here, but we thought better of probing further. On the map, AM is sometimes used to designate this trail.
To get to AM from the top of the shuttle we took P-Nuts Wild Ride. Tedward Shovelhands, a local trail builder, praised P-Nuts in the latest edition of Mountain Life (Summer ’09 issue). This black diamond/advanced New School trail was designed to be pedaling free with plenty of jumps along the way. The trail was fun enough for us, but our airtime skills weren’t cleared to take full advantage of this type of trail. Though P-Nuts Wild Ride wasn’t really our style of trail, it was fun to see.
P-Nuts connects into 19th Hole. 19th Hole, rated as a double black diamond, is in the process of being rehabbed with high banked turns and big airs. For us, we could cruise past the big jumps on the bypasses and then only hope to ride some of the remaining blown out rooty sections. These root sections were handful. Hang on and bounce around through the web of roots. With luck we’d be upright at the bottom. It’s not to say P-Nuts and 19th Hole aren’t good trails. It’s just that full on New School trails aren’t within our skill set.
At the bottom of 19th Hole we took a left turn on the old logging road and climbed up past the top of Recycle to AM. AM is a blue square/intermediate trail that flows and winds on a loamy tread through the forest. No big features here, just the occasional ladders crossing drainages and the ever-present root challenges. The trail passed sweetly beneath the tires.
At the bottom of AM, we cut over to the short, intermediate rated connector trail, Another Man’s Gold. Another Man’s Gold is one more fun loamy track the twists down to the top of the Powerhouse Plunge. Quiver’s fun meter was on zero at this point so she bailed to the shuttle retrieve vehicle. Knobs and I continued on down the Plunge with eyes towards splitting off and riding a new trail, Hoods in the Woods.
The Powerhouse Plunge starts relatively level with tons of roots and rocks to make things technical. That sounds much like the description of many trails in BC, but the Plunge is different. This trail has more rocks than roots. And the rocks, rather than being rounded, smooth slabs of granite, are broken, sharp boulders that make for a different kind of challenge. With the narrow ladders and the rocks, the Plunge is definitely an advanced trail.
Midway down the Plunge we reached a clear-cut area with the logging road that would take us Hoods in the Woods. The day was hot, the logging road was sun exposed, and Quiver was waiting at the bottom so we decided to continue on the Plunge to the bottom. This was the faster route. We would save Hoods in the Woods for a later ride during our stay.
The second half of the Powerhouse Plunge is hardly a consolation prize. Dropping down hill in a series of switchbacks, this portion of the Plunge has more gradient and exposure than the upper portion. For me, this is the best section of The Plunge and The Powerhouse Plunge is cemented on of my list of Squamish favorites.
At the bottom, near the namesake powerhouse, we peeled off the body armor and rolled on the connector trails back to the Knobs’ Subaru. About forty minutes latter, we had the truck back from the top. Our campsite was a short distance further on. On a warm day with the air conditioner out on the trailer, Nick was performing his security duties in the shade in front of Knobs’ Sidekick. With plenty of sleep he smelled our tires and figured that we had a good time. He let us know that he was ready for his travel adventures to begin.