This is a long 6.5 mile grind with very few breaks (I think the first one comes about mile 4). The ground is loose and gravelly making the climb that much harder. Once you arrive at the "saddle" take the fork to the North and ride as far as you can. You will at some point have to leave your bike behind and continue on foot. My husband and I both really began to feel the altitude at this point. The climb on foot is about 20 minutes but the reward is spectacular. No Trees this high, just lots of rocks and a view of both the Ogden and Ogden Valley side of the mountain.
How we got down: Derron, Eric and I decided the best way to ride this was to ascend from the Divide and descend the Liberty side (where Debbie and I hiked the week before see blog). We left a car in North Fork Park to facilitate our choice. The descent was beautiful but very technical. I went over my handle bars once and had several other near misses. This is definitely not a beginner ride but it is manageable for the less skilled (like myself) IF you go slow and dismount when necessary. The biggest problem for me was fatigue. The climb takes quite a bit out you. Having said that, I loved the ride! It was tough but worth it!
How to prepare: The top can be pretty cold since it is super high. You may want arm warmers or a light jacket. Bring plenty of water and a snack for sure. The ascent took us about 3 hours (Debbie happens to be "Queen of the Mountain" so she took only 1 1/2 hours). If you clip into your pedals (which is highly likely since those who don't probably are not at the necessary skill level) you may want to bring along some light shoes for the hike.
Wildlife we spotted: Once again, and in about the same spot we saw five moose on Ben Lomond trail (one big daddy, two females, and two babies). There were also hunters near the top of the peak with binoculars were eying mountain goats on the opposite slope. Best of all, on the top of the peak were some native Washingtonians wondering how anyone could be allowed on a trail with a gun (of all things). They were a bit afraid of being shot while hiking. Luckily, Debbie was there to explain that during hunting season people are not on the acceptable for shooting list!
Get out soon the leaves are fading and falling!
More on this climb under "trails-Ben Lomond Peak via North Skyline".