Squamish was still smoldering under the BC heat wave. We were looking for an easier ride, after a long ride on the previous day, so we headed to Hoods in the Woods. Hoods was the new trail that we skipped on our first try a few days ago. Both the Corsa and Tantalus bikes shops recommended Hoods. And Tedward Shovelhands, in Mountain Life, praised this new trail. How could we miss this one?
We set a shuttle for this ride. It’s not like the climb on the gravel road is that long or that steep. It’s just unpleasantly dusty and loose with lots of traffic. Why bother?
From the drop off point, we rode a short way up the hill to the top of Another Man’s Gold. This intermediate-rated, short connector trail drops through the forest on a snaking, loamy tread with good flow. Quickly we were crossing Ring Creek on the bridge (this one has handrails) and climbing up Ring Creek Rip to the top of the Powerhouse Plunge.
We reached the beginning of The Plunge only to discover that one of the suspension pivots was missing on Quiver’s Stumpjumper. The Plunge is anything but a smooth, buff trail so there was no possibility for her to continue on the ride. She had to back out on Ring Creek Rip to the truck, which she brought down the hill for us. Quiver, despite two chances, was never able to drop The Plunge on this visit to Squamish.
Knobs and I continued on down the Powerhouse Plunge. You’d think it would have been easier the second time down, but it was just as hard as it was on the first pass. At the big logging road cut, we turned off the Plunge to the right and rolled two kilometers on the sun-exposed road. The logging road ends at the forest edge and Hoods in the Woods begins under the lush green canopy.
Hoods is in the same style as the recently constructed trails Angry Midget and Recycle. All of these trails are flowing, fast, and loamy. The maps show all three routes as blue square intermediates and, technical difficulty-wise, they are all on the easier side of the Squamish version of this rating.
Hoods in the Woods is particularly fast. The distance between the turns is longer and the tread is wider and smoother than the usual Squamish standard. The trail passes rapidly beneath the tires in the blur of the fern covered forest floor. There are a minimal number of easy bridges and wooden structures on the trail along with a couple of good-sized optional jumps with questionable landings.
Hoods is a fun, fast, well-constructed trail. This trail may have the best flow of any trail that we have ridden in Squamish. But trails of this type are not the reason we like Squamish. We seek the trails in Squamish that are technical, challenging, pick and chose your line type of operations. Our average speed on descents is often less than 5 kph. We’ve gathered before that the locals really like the fast and flowing trails because there are so few of them in the area. We were told that another trail in the area, Skookum, is popular amongst the locals for this reason. If I lived in Squamish, I might feel the same way. And, I will certainly be happy to ride these trails on future visits. They are nice breaks between riding the intensely challenging, high exposure trails that draw us to Squamish.
After cleaning up, we headed over to downtown Squamish to watch the Bed Races. The Bed Races are part of the Logger’s Sports Festival, which was ongoing during our visit, though the connection between bed racing and logging seems distant. For the races, locals, dressed in various costumes, push a gurney loaded with a “victim” down the main street course, stopping to complete various, often amusing, challenges along the way. Everybody at the races was having a good time, but I’d guess that knowing some of the participants had to increase to the amusement factor. All I know is I don’t want to find myself on a gurney in Squamish. It looks like it would be pretty scary. I’d better keep the rubber on the dirt.
Pictures from the Bed Race: