Iron Horse Bike Ride, August 2012

Iron Horse Bike Trail
Date: August 3, 2012
Difficulty: 5 out of 10
Distance: 40 miles roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 2,000 feet
Time: 4 to 5 hours
Location: Exit 32, I-90
Users Group: Hikers, Horses & Dogs Only
Permits: Discovery Pass Required
Trail Conditions: Dry
Hiking With: Rick Massie & Jim Darmiento

I usually hike over the weekend, but a good friend and co-worker Jim Darmiento suggested we bike the Iron Horse trail along I-90. I met up with Jim and Rick Massie at Starbucks in North Bend, Washington for a little java and trail discussion. The beginning of this trail is very close to North Bend, on exit 34 off of I-90. The official name of this trial is the John Wayne Pioneer Trail; it’s an old railway, so the trail grade is very constant and gradual with the maximum grade at 2.2%. The trail is lightly graveled and thicker in some spots, especially over the numerous trestles.

Our destination was the Snoqualmie Tunnel under the Snoqualmie Pass, so we had 20 miles uphill and 20 easier miles downhill on the ride back. You can actually take this trail all the way to Idaho. Within three miles from our start I had a flat tire; Jim was caring spare tubes so I was back riding in 10 minutes.

We had a casual ride up to the tunnel and stopped to have a snack before we entered the dark, damp, cool tunnel. I took my helmet off and put my headlamp on and turned on my light as I entered the darkness, but for some reason it was still very dark to me. I actually stopped and looked at my headlamp to make sure it was working…it was, so I put it back on my head and started off again. Same thing…couldn’t see, so I stopped again, but this time I found the problem…I still had my sunglasses on!

On the way back down to the starting trailhead, Jim completely blew out his back tire, not the tube but his sidewall on his tire. He was close to exit 47, so Rick and I quickly cruised back to Jim’s truck to drive back to pick up Jim at exit 47. We ended our day at our usual spot, North Bend Bar and Grill.