There are a few areas on the east shore of Draper Lake I hadn’t explored last year. Yesterday was the right weather for resuming that. The map shows a substantial peninsula connected to SE 119th Street. The lavender numbers indicate the location where I took the following images, and also indicate the approximate route of my wandering. Please note the image shows a higher water level than I found yesterday.
That street isn’t actually open to motor vehicles west of Stanley Draper Drive, but it’s still clear cut through dense woods. I shot this image back up the hill from the shore of the lake. Aside from patches of bare sandstone, the ground is just fine-grained sand. I was standing right in the curve where the trail drops south. To the right of where I stood taking this shot was a large hollow where the Parks Dept. had pushed soil up on the side of the road to inhibit vehicles from accessing the shore. While it’s been dry quite some time, it still had some residual moisture, making it a thick mud hole. I was just barely able to skirt it. I had to push my bike across a lot of soft sand to another steep rocky climb like the one in the picture.
The satellite image is a few years out of date. It shows a trail chasing the shoreline that is no longer visible. You could probably discern a roadbed in the terrain, but it’s socked in with trees and shrubs, not to mention lots of thorny vines. I did get to Point 20, but not that way. Just a little further up and over the ridge is a trail that has seen some use in recent years. To block it, Parks Dept. put down a pile of truck tires; you can still see them if you zoom in on satellite images. They weren’t much hindrance to me pushing my bike past them.
There is where the adventure began. In the satellite image above you can see an open field just off the road on that trail. That’s where I had a the first flat ever on these hybrid tires. So I stopped, pulled my tool bag of the handlebars and inverted the bike. I carry a spare tube, so didn’t try to repair the flat one, just swapped them out. I also carry a very small hand pump that works well enough if the user is patient and persistent. I checked the tire and found no foreign sharp object; it must have been from some of the metal debris dumped out there over the years. Back on the trail, the way was just barely passable, but I rode almost all the way back down to the shore. I missed my intended turn toward to the far end of the peninsula, though.
Instead, I wound up on the shore almost straight west. I was treated to this delightful view of a collapsed bluff. I was able to walk all over it, but because some of the rocks wobbled under my weight, I didn’t feel safe trying to carry my bike over it. Instead, I had to navigate the thick underbrush to go around this.
This next image shows how the bluff cuts off the shore. But the shore was quite ample and clear beyond that and I decided not to try an immediate return back up the trail. I just kept going around the shoreline. It was a delightful choice at first, with numerous places where the underlying bedrock extended out into the water. But I had to walk the whole way, because there was just too much loose sand.
So I kept trudging, hoping to glimpse a trail opening. Keep in mind that I no longer have my iPhone, so I didn’t have access to GPS and satellite views, only my memory of out-of-date imagery. I never saw a usable trail leading away from the shore. I kept walking all the way around the peninsula, clambering over the rock outcroppings.
I did encounter some black sandstone here and there. It’s harder than the red stuff, but still just sandstone. There were places where it lay on the sand in large fields of fist-sized stones. I was ready to get out of there long before I was able. I ended up having to hike all the way around up into the deep swampy inlet you can see on the south side of that peninsula. It happened to be dry enough to walk on yesterday, and just as the shore turned back south is where I finally found a navigable trail. It was mostly ridable and I was glad to get off my feet. I came out onto the route marked “Westminster Road” which looks just like SE 119th above. At this point I wasn’t exactly sure where I was on the map because I had no map. I was actually just a hundred meters from where I had first rode off into the woods.
Still, I turned south and stayed along the shore I hadn’t yet explored. Eventually it led me to SE 134th and I knew then where I was. I was very whipped at that point and faced a long slow ride home northward on Stanley Draper Drive (which turns into Post Road) because I also had a headwind. But I did okay, and felt as tired as I normally do after those 50-mile rides.