New Trail Day! I love exploring new trails and getting to know a trail network better. Today started as one of those days where I just couldn’t get motivated to work so instead headed for a workout & re-energizing trip to the forest. I needed something challenging to get the energy flowing. I first hiked Torrent a few years ago with a much fitter friend and I remembered how exhausting yet exhilarating it was. It was a whole new part of Mount Elphinstone that I hadn’t seen before. Now that I’ve explored many more trails in the area, I decided to try and find it again.
Torrent is a black diamond downhill mountain bike trail. This is a steep cardio climb, but it was also very exciting to see how much fitter I am now than the first time a couple of years ago. Before, I never would have made it without my competitive spirit to try and keep up with my friend. Today I made it up in one hour and felt great at the top. One major rule needs to be observed when hiking a trail like this…this was made for mountain bikers and they love flying down it. If you’re hiking, you must be alert to give way to an oncoming bike. There is nowhere for them to swerve to miss you without crashing…you must get out of the way. Today, though, I had the entire trail to myself.
For hikers, the bottom of Torrent is within Sprockids Mountain Bike Park and is accessed from Sidewinder very near where Sidewinder breaks off from the yellow/orange trail. It heads off outside the park, but you’d never know that. When you reach the top (where mountain bikers start the trail), you’re at the intersection of Pressure Drop, Ridge, Sidewinder, and the yellow trail that becomes the Summit Trail at this point. Talk about choices!
I am all about hikes with rewards at the end. There is no major viewpoint to the ocean on Torrent. The forest is much to thick. However, as you near the top you will find significant rewards. These are the trees that literally will have you saying “WOW” while you hike. I see trees like this and I can’t imagine how massive these west coast forests must have looked when European settlers arrived 150 years ago. I love these spiral trees! This one is so tall, I couldn’t get it in the camera frame. It’s huge! Spiral trees were left behind when the rest of the area was logged as they didn’t have ‘any value’. Boy do I value them today.
Check out this massive tree that fell years ago. There is an entire forest sprouting up out of its massive trunk. The entire length of the tree has new trees growing from it.
So I started this post with ‘new trail day’. At the top of Torrent I saw this piece of art. (can’t believe the photo turned out fuzzy). How do you resist a trail marked by a painting?
Ridge is another black diamond downhill mountain bike trail that runs just west of Torrent. Luckily, I was hiking down to explore this because an hour of steep climbing is enough for one day. Gorgeous hiking..and sure enough…it lived up to its name and I found myself on a ridge with drop offs on either side where I could here rushing water from a creek. Ridge intersects Sidewinder again and I realized I’d been at this part of the trail lots of times, but never realized that it went up at this point. It’s another major trail junction of Sidewinder, Fuzzy Hugs and Ridge…just a short distance from the bridge over Gibsons Creek. I took Ridge further down and realized I had hiked this section many times. It’s fairly easy hiking in the lower section and connects to a lot of fun biking trails…Technical Ecstacy, Rock-n-Root, Skoolz Out. Nice easy hiking and the reward of knowing that I’m really getting to know my way around this fabulous park. One of these days I’m going to set aside the time to hike the Summit Trail. I’m told the views are spectacular.