Centennial Trail (Mar 27, 2015)

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centennial_trail_coverConditions: day cycling trip
Gear: nothing special
Map: n/a
Area: Snohomish to Arlington
Reference: n/a
Stats: 42.1mi, 633' gain

I've been trying to get back into cycling. I need to mix up my activities some. Why? To use different muscle groups, break up the monotony (the horror!) of hiking, try new things, meet new people...

I'd biked a long stretch of the Centennial Trail earlier in the month. I had the day off and this time, I wanted to bike even further. My goal...Snohomish to Arlington and back.

I like starting at the Pilchuck trailhead (milepost 26.9). I'm not sure why...maybe going under the bridge and finding the parking area right beyond it helps. I see the bridge and I know I'm almost done. So...about 10am I arrived at the parking area and settled my gear and off I went, heading north. The great thing about a weekday trip on this trail is it has just a fraction of the crowds. I never felt like I was constantly yelling "on your left" before I passed. The downside of a weekday trip is that towards Arlington, it seemed like there was more street traffic...and I hate cars close to bikes.

The morning started out a bit chilly but it wasn't long before I was warmed up. In only about 16 minutes I had biked the 3+ miles from Pilchuck TH to the Machias TH (mp 24.2). I wasn't out for setting some person time trial. Someday maybe...but not today. My goal...just to have some fun.

I took a short break and then time to head further north. The trail is an old rail line converted to trails (Rails to Trails) so the grade is really nice. In no time, it seemed, I was at Lk Cassidy (mp 18.3). I like stopping here. On weekends the trailhead is crowded. The dock teaming with people. Today...I had the place to myself. It wasn't a long break and then time again to head further north. I passed Getchell (mp 17.0), then a long stretch in some new territory for me and then I arrived at the Armar Rd junction (mp 12.0). But, no big stops for me yet, I wanted to keep going. Based on how I was doing I thought I might as well try to make Arlington by lunchtime. I'd have a chance for a decent break for lunch in town.

I hit the outskirts of Arlington and here, the trail isn't as pleasant. Instead of a trail that follows creeks, swampy areas blooming with skunk cabbage, coasting down hills with views of farmland...the trail instead turns into more of a wide sidewalk, crossing intersections, traffic whizzing by. This was expected of course. I finally arrived in Arlington (mp 7.9) about 12:30pm (and about 21 miles from where I had parked my car). So, I stopped at La Hacienda for lunch...tacos...but it was a quick lunch. It was pushing 1:00pm and my trip was only half done.

There are a couple of long stretches on the way south where the grade is a slight uphill. At first, I was doing fine despite the headwind. About 10 miles from Pilchuck, around Getchell), I started to "feel" it in my knees. Knees are doing awesome! This ride was a bit of a 5th birthday present for the knees...something to celebrate. The knees did well but cycling is just different than hiking. Finally, about 3pm I was back at the Pilchuck TH. Not as tired as I expected, but very happy to have accomplished what I set out to do.
Centennial Trail Slideshow


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Copyright Janet M. Putz
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