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Ancient Lakes - Fred & Franks Loop

I was introduced to this super-scenic route and the complex terrain around the many lakes and ponds surrounding Ancient Lake area (fed by Columbia Basin irrigation water) by friends Fred Rose and Frank Wycoff in 2001. Fred and Frank had spent a lot of time poking around these parts, and had strung together threads of jeep roads and single track into an amazingly interesting and scenic loop. Unfortunately two-thirds of the way through my introduction to this loop, I hopped off a little rock shelf, lodged the front tire, and took a flight over the handlebars. The bike skipped forward with me and I landed on my upward-pointing handlebars. That cracked a few ribs.

I lay there moaning for several minutes and would have stayed there far longer had I had an audience, but Fred and Frank were out ahead enjoying themselves. In fact, they were quite unsympathetic of my plight at the next trail intersection where they had waited for their anchor to catch up. It had been a fabulous ride to that point—I remember thinking how varied the terrain was, how scenic the red rock was against the blue sky and the green cattails of the ponds we passed, and how surprising it was to have these chain lakes here in the desert. All I remember of the end of the ride, however, was holding back screams as we bounced over rocky terrain that rattled ribs. My notes of the route fell apart and it took me many years to get back to this specific loop with healed ribs and a good GPS to properly document what I consider to be one of the most interesting and unusual mountain-bike rides in the region.


Check these pictures for a better idea of what Ancient Lake mountain biking is all about. And print this guidebook report for a blow-by-blow accounting of riding this route.

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