last weekend a friend and i went for a hike out in “Stub” Stewart state park out near Vernonia. i picked the hike primarily because i always tend to do gorge hikes, and was curious about the newest state park. of the offerings, none seemed especially difficult or lengthy, so i picked the one that looked to provide the greatest challenge: The Bumping Knots Trail.

it ended up feeling largely like a stroll through a park, and was mostly a pony trail. some elevation change, but nothing more than moderately strenuous. even after the six-plus mile jaunt, i still had the energy to pick up said friend and give him a piggy back ride for a few dozen yards. these feats of strength, i cannot resist them.

there was a nice viewpoint along the trail with a little bench, but nothing to write home about. honestly, the most compelling thing about the hike was the discovery of the Banks Vernonia Trail, a portion of which runs through the park. it is nice and wide and flatish and very beautifully paved. and i suddenly wanted nothing more than to go for ride.

wednesday was my day off so i tossed the old trek up into the rack and motored out to the trailhead. the weather was less promising than it looked from inside my bedroom, grey clouds were in a looming mood. also, i seem to be not so much with the map reading skills, and though i tried to find a trailhead where the path was paved (which it is for all but 3 of its 20 miles) i managed to park in a place that left me 2 miles from the asphalt. to be fair, the trail is still in excellent shape, well maintained and covered in gravel, graded, and still a very good ride. the problem is that i have the narrowest tires in all the land on my bicycle and so there was a serious amount of vibrating, nerve-wracking, anxiety inducing bumpiness on my way.

once on pavement it was a lovely speedy cruise. i think i came up on some horsey-riders a little faster than they would have liked, but i was all ipod and momentum. i think it failed to occur to me at first that i would eventually pay for all of this speed…

the weather remained sort of gloomy and grey for most of the ride, but it was cool enough to keep me comfortable for most of the trip. i went as far down the trail as i could, but some construction on the pathway turned me around at about mile 15. i’m hoping next time i go, i can start at the Manning trailhead, do the entire 20 miles and then come back.

one highlight was the trestle bridge about midway through the ride. if i hadn’t been so worried about the impending rain i was sure would fall at any moment, i would have gone off the trail long enough to get some scenic trestle bridge photos. as it is, i just got this shot of my trip across it. a few more weeks from now i’m sure the foliage will be glorious…

coming back, i was to feel the flatishness wasn’t in fact as flat as i had led myself to believe. there was sweating. oh, yes.

coming back through the unpaved portion wasn’t as tough as going out was, though i did dismount AND carry the trek down the last grade since it wasn’t worth my life to take it on the wheel.

and, happily, the rain did not begin in earnest until i was safely tucked in the drivers seat and imagining with glassy eyed pleasure the turkey burger i was going to get at Burgerville when i went back through Hillsboro. plus also a blackberry milkshake.

and i am pleased to say, even considering the bumpiest portions of my trip, i was decidedly ungimpy after my ride. hoo-ray.