Meet at 7PM, after work at The Bicycle Shop. Change socks, a shot of lube on the chain, and a couple of cold beers into the framebag. Ride down Northern Lights Blvd. to Earthquake Park, ride the Coastal Trail to Pt. Woronzof, then look for access down to the beach. That’s the plan.
Christina, Alan and Paul meet at the shop. Jamin and Charley are coming from the other side of town and meet at the coast.
Just past the wastewater treatment plant on the Coatsal Trail, there are several lookouts. The second or third one down is adjacent to a gully with a passable trail.
We spill out onto the flats, minutes before sunset. The surface varies from solid ice and shallow windblown snow, to flaky layered ice and freezing mud. Morning and night may be the best time to ride out here, although it is rideable any time of day right now. Sections may be muddy mid-day. Right now, Pt. Woronzof to Kincaid is free of mud entirely. Earthquake Park to Pt. Woronzof is ridable, with a few short pushes off the bike. Around the south side of Kincaid, the trail can be muddy during the day, but is drenched in sun and ridable.
Several sloughs make for a brief technical challenge on an otherwise mellow evening cruise. Studs not necessary, but helpful.
At the point, we encounter a group of friends enjoying the evening with a fire and some beach games. We stop to warm our fingers and trade stories. The “where are you from” game is always fun in Alaska. Most often, its not here. The answers include New Haven, CT; Bemidji, MN; Las Vegas, NV; Cortland, NY; Kenai, AK; some place near Chitna, AK; and San Francisco, CA.
As light fades, finally, we continue around the point. This southern exposure soaks in sun all day and is more dirt and gravel than snow and ice. This time of night, it is fast and free of mud.
We shoot for a steep access trail up to the sand dunes at Kincaid Park, near the motocross track and the Jodphur TH. There is a small sign on the beach (not sure what it says), but the trail turns up here. This is about 2 miles from the point. The hill is short and steep. Charlie says, “Last time I did this I was pushing a bike with a lot more suspension”.
I think, “last time I did this I was pushing a bike with a lot more stuff on it”.
The easiest way off the beach is near the point, onto the last section of the Coastal Trail before the big hill up to the Chalet. This is also near the end of the Middle Earth trail.
From the top of the hill, we ascend the sand dunes and connect to the official trail system. Several riders have split off already, leaving four of us. Late in the evening, we ride the Kitchen Sink trail and lose another rider towards home. The three of us continue on Tower Power and Middle Earth, descending back towards the Coastal Trail, and home. Lael meets us along the Coastal Trail as she has just gotten off work. The group splinters across town. Past midnight, we arrive home to a gently bubbling pot of carnitas in the kitchen and a smoker outside the front door with freshly smoked Alaskan salmon– a fitting end to a proper Alaskan adventure. I am continually amazed at the opportunities for adventure from the front door. All it takes is a few hours and a fatbike.
Thanks for the ride! Let’s meet again soon.