Windy Ridge - MT ST. Helens

Trip Date: 7/28/2007

Features:

  • Hyw 7
  • Alder
  • Alder Lake
  • Elbe WA
  • Nisqually River
  • Morton
  • US 12
  • Calrson
  • Coal Canyon
  • Randle
  • Cowlitz River
  • NF-25
  • NF-99
  • Meta Lake
  • Spirit Lake
  • MT. ST. Helens
  • MT. Rainier
  • MT Adams
  • MT Hood
  • Windy Ridge

Hazards:

  • NF-25 Horrible roads up and they are worse coming down. Loaded with intermittent dips, bumps, pot holes and gravel sections.
  • NF-99 some bad spots in roads but nothing like NF-25
  • Deer
  • I-5

Windy Ridge Ride
MT. ST. Helens WA

16:9 Widescreen (400Kbps 15.4 MB)

Road-Quest.com WA motorcycle rides roads destinations ride video Windy Ridge MT St helens Spirit Lake Washington

Trip Details:

Allot of my trips are spur of the moment but this time I actually planned this one over a week ago. I had been looking forward to this ride so much that I took yesterday off and rode the Johnston Ridge side of the mountain. I figured why not ride them both! If you want to see the devastation inflicted on the forest, rivers and lakes that surround the mountain you really need to see it from both sides. The Johnston Ridge side was mostly impacted by the actual land slides and mud flows. The Windy Ridge side was scorched by hot gasses that blew down most of the forest. Trees left standing were stripped of all bark, limbs and foliage.  If you really want that perfect view of the creator you have to closely watch the weather and the volcano cam when planning your ride. Even then you may not get a clear view. Regardless the ride is well worth it.

I originally was going to ride this one with three others but WIngMan backed out as he rode with me the previous day and he just couldn't handle too much fun! It was me and ST rider from our yahoo group. We met at Sprinker Rec Center in Spanaway WA at 9 AM and were on the road by 9:20 AM. The route we were taking was to take us down hwy 7 through Alder, Elbe and Morton. Once we neared the town of Alder there is a great bunch of twisties that can be a blast if you have no one in front of you. We approached about 5 other riders who were stuck behind a series of caged riders (cars) and in this area there is no passing unless you want to end up a hood ornament on some tourists mini van. none of this bothered me today because I had plenty of twisties the prior day and slowly rolling through the turns and enjoying the country was perfectly fine by me. As we rode through Alder and past Alder Lake I couldn't help but notice the lake level was very low and there was allot of stumps no longer under water. Road-Quest.com WA motorcycle rides roads destinations ride video Elbet WashingtonWe rolled in to Elbe and pulled over to get some coffee at a little Espresso stand. There is one on each side of the road and I bet they do good business during the tourist season. After coffee and jacking our jaws a bit, we headed down hwy 7 towards Morton. This is a nice stretch of road that produces some great views of MT Rainier. As we rolled in to Morton we could smell the fresh cedar that was being milled and stacked in the lumber yard. We turned on to hwy 12 heading east to Randle. Our turn off to get to NF-25 is right on the Randle town line. There is a little diner on the right that has good food. This is also a popular re-fueling point for riders. It wasn't long and we were in the forest on NF-25. I can't stress this enough. Be careful going up and specially going down NF-25.  The roads are poorly maintained and they are much worse then they were last year. There are allot of big dips, bumps, pot holes and 3 large gravel areas. I jarred my cup holder off it's mount twice on the way down. The forest goes from shade to open areas with direct sun light and the glare on your shield or glare in your eyes makes it hard to see allot of them. Apart from the bad roads this part of the forest is great! The miles of shade is nice on hot days. I have to say I was glad to turn off NF-25 on to NF-99 as I knew the roads were allot more forgiving. The day started out overcast and slowly turned sunny with patchy clouds. It was really nice riding the roads looking straight out at blue sky's with a few bright white clouds rolling by. We couldn't see the creator at this point because it had a big white cloud parked on top of it. We were hoping we would get lucky and the wind and sun would chase that cloud away. Unfortunately that did not happen. We navigated the turns and around bicycle riders all the way up to Windy Ridge. There must have been some race going on because the riders were wearing numbers and there were allot of them. We made the usual stops at the turn outs and view points for scenic views and photo's.Road-Quest.com WA motorcycle rides roads destinations ride video MT St Helens Spirit Lake Windy Ridge Washington Once of my all time favorites is the view point over looking Spirit Lake. Here is a piece of information I just learned from watching the documentary at Johnston Ridge the previous day. You may have seen all the grey tree's floating in the lake. Here is how they got there. An enormous amount of rock and debris from the blast fell into the lake causing a huge wave that went 800 feet up the sides of the hills and as it receded back into the lake it swept a large number of tree's back with it. It was another 6 miles and we turned into the Windy Ridge parking lot. As luck would have it, that big white cap was still hanging over the creator. There were allot of people up there some caged riders and some riders like us. As I looked around there was a wide variety of motorcycles from Harley's, Honda's, sport and Touring. We talked with a couple for a while about his work and their ride. Mario and Andrea were riding towards MT Rainier to find a place to camp. Nice Harley they were riding too! I can't say this enough. Part of riding motorcycles is getting our and experiencing different places and meeting different people. They seemed like great folks. Well it was getting that time to start up our Honda's and head down the mountain. I'm not going to go into much detail of the ride back but I will say the ride down NF-99 gives you some views you couldn't see coming up. The ride down through NF-25 had some really nasty areas in the road. Definitely watch your speed.

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