Elijah Bristow Park bike ride

October 7, 2006

The morning of Saturday, October 7 was cool and partly cloudy, perfect weather for bicycling. Our group of seven (four members and three non members) met in the heart of the East Springfield corridor where the old Weyerhaeuser haul road crosses Main St. at 48th St. This paved, privately owned road, paralleling Jasper Road but located higher on the hills north of the river, was once used to bring logs down from the Middle Fork drainage to the mills of Springfield. I had not previously ridden the road, now gated and closed to vehicular use, but had been told that it was a fine way to reach Jasper while avoiding heavily trafficked Jasper Road.

Our group certainly enjoyed this look at the backyards of the growing suburbs of Springfield and the segue into the lovely rural area of homes and small farms in this long settled area of river valley. After climbing a bit we enjoyed an easy one mile coast down Wallace Creek Rd. into Jasper. There we crossed the river and accessed the level, lightly trafficked roads that took us to our destination at Elijah Bristow.

After a break for snacks, conversation and shared laughter we reversed our route and made the trip back to the cars. The total trip time, with a relaxed pace and time for a couple of breaks, was just over four hours. The mileage turned out to be a bit less that the 30 miles I had guesstimated, maybe 25 or 26 miles would be more accurate. I’m still not sure exactly as I don’t have an odometer on my bike and I forgot to ask others to watch it closely. It would be easy to add considerable mileage to a ride using some of the more lightly traveled roads in this area. I would certainly recommend the old haul road as a great starting point to access the roads in the area without the dangers and distractions of high traffic.

If I had to use one word to describe our outing it would be “pleasant”. The route and pace were relaxed, the weather fine, the countryside bucolic and the company congenial. I want to thank everyone who joined me on this exploratory ride. I hope they all enjoyed it as much as I did.

Members: Pat Esch, Laurie Funkhouser, Larry Huff and Doug Nelson, leader. Nonmembers: Sue Carey, Darlene Mancuso and Kathy Sullivan.

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