Well, the rail trail conversion anyway, on our bikes. With an enormous and historic logging industry in Oregon and Washington, came trains to move the timber. Enormously heavy, the rails could not exceed a 4% grade, perfect for cyclists. As timber and industry rails fell out of use all over the country, “Rail/Trail Conservancy” groups, arranged public and private funding, to remove the cross ties, add gravel, signage, and best of all on some trails…..trestles safe for cyclists, pedestrians and horses! The conversion of rails to trails hastened with the federal government passing legislation promoting the use of railbanking for abandoned railroad corridors in 1983 which was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1990. This process preserves rail corridors for possible future rail use with interim use as a trail.
“Whoooo….Whoooooooooooo………”, we chug chug out our best train sounds as we cross the many trestles on the 26 mile rail/trail conversion between Sedro Wooley and Concrete. As it sits on the western slope of the Northern Cascade Range, the views when you clear the lush forests and creeks, and reach open meadows, is of snow capped peaks, wineries, and herds of bison and elk.
We loaded our bikes and took a free municipal bus in Sedro Wooley up to Concrete. The very nice locals told us of some aggressive feral dogs on the trail and gave us a canister of mace. We never saw the dogs but couldn’t get enough photos of these goofy llamas (also featured image) that had been shaved for the summer leaving oversized furry heads and lower legs.
With the best ever gluten free bakery, “5B’s” in Concrete fueling us before the ride, we lingered, enjoying our chat with Em, the proprietor. She has Celiac Disease, and has raised twin boys also with the disease. Instead of making her sons feel they couldn’t have baked treats, she became a fabulous baker.