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August 25, 2009

Squamish—Bush Ape, Word of Mouth (Ride 21)

Filed under: BC 2009, MTB Travel — anotherheader @ 4:14 am

Knobs on a banked turn on Bush Ape

Knobs on a banked turn on Bush Ape

Quiver’s bike had lost a suspension pivot bushing on our last ride.  At the Corsa bike shop, they went above and beyond and pulled a bushing off of another bike and put it on Becky’s bike for free.  A side benefit of our visit to Corsa is that we learned of a new,yet to be revealed, trail that began near the top of Powersmart.  In theory this trail, which turned out to be named Bush Ape, was a secret.  It was a poorly kept secret.  Saturday was Quiver’s last ride of her visit.  Her ride pick was this new trail.

Saturday also meant that we could make a return visit to Squamish’s small Farmer’s Market.  This visit was quicker than our first visit, even with Quiver’s reconnection with the Pemberton Corn Guy.  During our first time at the market, Quiver did 30-minutes of work shucking corn and gave the Corn Guy one of our prized Trumer Pils in exchange for three measly ears of corn.  The corn was good, but I hope she ended up with the guys Social Insurance Number and mother’s maiden name as she usually does.

Trumer Pils:

Knobs cutting under the unused build-ups on Word of Mouth

Knobs cutting under the unused build-ups on Word of Mouth

We shuttled up to the drop off point on Diamondhead Peak.  We had been told that the new trail started near the top of Powersmart.  Our trail finding instructions were to bushwhack straight ahead on the road cut where Powersmart drops off to the left.  It turned out that that meant “Start on Powersmart and go straight when the trail turns left down the hill off the road cut,” and not “Go straight on the road cut that Powersmart turns off of to the left.”  It was all clear after twenty minutes of wading through the brush.

We entered into Bush Ape and the trail looked crude but promising.  Soon the path turned into a roughly hacked out hike-a-bike.  The going was rough.  Just as we gave up and turned around to go back two riders carrying their bikes came past.  The riders assured us we were going the correct way.  Things would get better shortly further on.  It was very rare for us to see other riders on the trails in Squamish, so this meeting was fortuitous.  Or maybe it wasn’t.  Soon after we turned around and followed the bikers, the hike-a-bike turned into a climb-a-bike as the crude path transited a steep walled drainage.  Ropes would have come in handy on this section of trail.  It was all we could do to get our bikes and ourselves up and down the steep slopes.  All this was unpleasant and we were questioning our decision to ride Bush Ape when things opened up.  I guess you get what you pay for when you ride a trail in Squamish before it has been finished and “revealed.”

The long, high bridge on Word of Mouth

The long, high bridge on Word of Mouth

When the slog through the brush ended, the usual high quality tread headed down hill on an old logging road cut that had grown into singletrack.  Bush Ape is a very fast, long and smooth, pedaling free downhill descent.  This was a very easy, brake-burning trail with only a couple of sections with any sort of technical challenge.  To us, Bush Ape was a little boring.  Perhaps when this trail is finished and connected to Powersmart, the unfinished first section will at least to be highly entertaining.  The terrain is so rugged in the area of the drainage that every conceivable trail alignment would either be exposed or challenging or both.

At the bike shop, we never managed to ask where Bush Ape ended.  Without a map, when the trail spit us out on a service road, we weren’t sure where we were.  With a little deduction, we bracketed our location to be on a main service road well north of the bottom of most of the trails in the Diamondhead Peak area.  It would have been a short pedal to cross over Mashiter Creek and return the Garibaldi Highlands area.  This direction would let us finish at the RV Park but not get us back to the retrieve vehicle.  Most likely in the future, if we ride the completed version of Bush Ape, this is the route we would take.  It would make for a great point to point ride.  On this days ride, however, the retrieve car was in the other direction.  Just as well as we wanted to ride another new, recommended trail, Word of Mouth (WoM).

The Rolling Stone's Mouth and Tongue logo designating Word of Mouth

The Rolling Stone's Mouth and Tongue logo designating Word of Mouth

Lower on the mountain, WoM is an intermediate rated trail that runs for a good distance along a shallow ridge.  In this area, many tracks cross WoM.  To stay on the trail, you follow the Rolling Stones’ “Mouth and Tongue” logos posted at each trail intersection.

Another amusing and entertaining trail, many of the challenges on WoM come from ladders and build-ups.  The trail structures include gentle roller coasters, ladders, and a very long and high raised platform bridge that, thankfully, was three to four foot wide.  Unlike many of the trails in Squamish, the structures often were not required to bypass wet areas and other terrain features that would make traditional trails hard to build and maintain.  The build-ups were mostly there for entertainment.

A gentle roller-coaster ladder on Word of Mouth

A gentle roller-coaster ladder on Word of Mouth

Near where we entered the trail, WoM passes under a couple of large and truly impressively ramps and jumps.  These stunts were beautifully built yet not connected to any trail on their entry or exit sides.  They looked like they had been there for a while yet they never had been ridden.  So why were they there?  Our consensus guess was that these were set up for a future photo or video shoot, but who knows.

Word of Mouth finished all too soon and spit us out on another service road.  The roads and an optional sketchy singletrack trail took us back to the car completing a four hour plus ride.  This was our seventh day of riding in Squamish on our third visit and we are still uncovering great trails.   At times it seems that Squamish’s treasure trove of great trails is bottomless.


The adopt a trail program in Squamish:


1 Comment »

  1. […] Plum Smuggler, we continued on Word of Mouth.  This is a trail we’d done before.  WoM has a larger amount of split rail wood build-ups than is typical in Squamish.  The […]

    Pingback by Mountain Biking: Squamish’s Powersmart, Plum Smuggler, and Word of Mouth « Another Header — August 23, 2011 @ 7:14 pm

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