There were quite a few fallen trees to negotiate too - this one I ended up squeezing my bike & then me under (it's bigger than it looks - easier to go under than over).
As I continued traversing I was generally 800 to 1000 metres from the trail I wanted to be on, which I assumed would be on the top of the ridge. As I was starting to look for an easy route up, I came across what looked like a big fire-break. It was steep, but clear of trees & more importantly, snow so I decided to head up it. Part-way up this exceedingly steep slope, I realised that it was a ski run (probably blue or black) & at the top would be a chairlift & I should have looked for a more manageable service road. So for about half an hour I slogged up Great Flume, gaining 250m vertical in one kilometre horizontal.
I was glad to reach the top of the chairlift & have a snack. Views off the east of the ridge were to Washoe Lake.
I found the TRT & was pleased to riding along it for a while. That was short lived as the hard-packed snow patches got larger & larger. But with such great mountain scenery & a pick-up at the other end, I was more than prepared to battle through extended periods of hike-a-bike - after, when would I ever be back in Tahoe doing the Flume Trail? Hardly an opportunity to pass up, even if it was exceptionally slow & tough going.
Dropping down a little to the Flume Trail, I finally saw some other riders - they had biked up a much easier way from Incline Village apparently. As I expected, given the history of logging in the area, the Flume Trail follows the path of an old log flume that used to run around the side of the ridge. As a mountain-bike trail purely it's not particularly intersting, even in my slightly fatigued state I could cruise along it (slightly uphill in the south direction) in a high middle-ring gear (it seems two weeks at sea-level hasn't completely killed my mountain lungs). But the scenery is something else. With that damn snow still capping the peaks on the far side of the brilliantly blue lake it was gorgeous.
At the end of the Flume Trail, there's a little climb up to Martlett Lake. The lake must be full of snowmelt - as this is the trail.
Just as my socks were starting to dry from the previous snow crossing, they were soaked & cold again. But it was still warm out & I had many more patches of snow to avoid around the edge of the lake. With a mostly rideable climb away from the lake & the largest snow patch of the day to cross I was ready to leave the fireroad to Spooner Lake & find the downhill trail to Chimney Beach.
Definitely a ride I'll remember for a long time, with an average moving speed of only 8 km/hr it was plenty slow - but on such a stunning day & with gorgeous scenery & a brilliant downhill to finish, it was all well worth it. Just perhaps I'll return when it's proper summer.
|From late in the day, when there wasn't so much snow around.|