When I wrote that post a month ago I had no idea I'd get myself into this kind of a lookout trip. In fact, I didn't even know me and Nathan would be riding fat bikes up to the West Fork Butte lookout a few days ago, but we stumbled upon the option to borrow a couple last minute, and went for it. A few weeks ago in Island Park, I had got a feel for how 3.7-4.8in tires work on flat snow-packed trails with little elevation gain, but the road to West Fork Butte is the opposite. It's all uphill, and I was curious to see how the Mukluk and Beargrease would perform.
We couldn't have asked for better conditions. The glare ice which has been prevalent on the lower section in previous Februarys, was covered with a groomed snowmachine surface. The bikes held their own on the climb, and we only walked around .75mi. Way less then we had envisioned.
Shaun and Jeff had snowshoed up the previous day and were waiting for us at the top. Both were stoked to get a chance to ride a fat bike for the first time. We rode the packed down singletrack off the lookout for awhile. Then stomped down a fresh trail on the steeper wind-loaded eastern slope, although we just kept wrecking into the soft powder over and over (which made everyone laugh over and over). Looking back we should've let the trail settle for an hour or so, like making a quinzie.
The ride back down in the morning was the most fun I've had on a fat bike yet. It was a novel feeling to notice your back end slip when going 18+mph downhill and actually be able to correct it every time. The sun even made an appearance and I was finally able to grab a few well-lit, blue-sky shots with the new lens.
All-in-all, it was a great weekend.
Thanks again Dave and Kevin at Hellgate Cyclery, for letting us take out the Salsa Mukluk and Salsa Beargrease for the weekend.
All photos by Casey Greene
Cover design appropriated from one of my favorites, Alpinist. All design by Casey Greene