It never fails, getting out of town seems to take an eternity. All the while running errands and tying up loose ends i'm trying to actually take my time so as to not forget something essential to a weekend trip for a group ride. So rolling into my Uncles vacant duplex abode around midnight wasn't unexpected. But having super noisy nieghbors having sex at 5 in the frikkin morning was pretty odd. Actually tapered off and i almost nodded off at 5.30 in the morning, then wham wham wham, aaaaahhh forget it, i had to move to the couch in the living room. So off to do the vaunted Angels Staircase near Winthrop Wa. A ride i've heard mentioned in high regard by many people. At an elevation of 8000 feet up at the summit of the Staircase, i figured the thin air and lack of good sleep would dog me out a bit, but after getting on the trail i just set into a groove and forgot all the excuses and grabbed a good rythym. Out and Back Crater Creek/Martin Creek 17 miles, cumulative elevation 3000 ft. Starting at Crater Creek Trail and Campground where many of the group had camped, you start at 4800 feet. Quickly we spurred into Martin Creek Trail and that's the trail where the majority of the group spent our time on. The trail was in prime shape, only a few spots a little mucky from melting snow but most of it super tacky and packed down. i had been told that the trail is usually pretty dusty from moto use, but not this day. As you can see once we hit around 6000 feet or so, snow was predominant. Brilliant gold larches, the sound of crunching fresh snow under the tires, and birds making wierd calls probably wondering what the heck all these weird people are doing up this high this time of year. Well finally rolling into Cooney lake (7200 ft.) the group made final decisions on whether or not to press forward for the loop or just turn back. Only four decided to press on, i personally wanted to summit Angels Staircase by dumping the bikes at the base then hiking up to the top. (trail ascends to the left low spot in the middle of the peak behind riders) Well after talking a few people into it, by the time everyone settled into a decision everyone backed out and there was no way i was going up and down there alone especially after seeing more clouds start rolling over the mt.. The four that pressed on are true crazies and i give em props for adventuring further. Did i forget to mention that the trail was in prime shape? Man the upper section we got to descend for at least a mile in snow, it was so fun. For me personally it brought back memories of sledding downhill as a kid, but HAVING DISC BRAKES! woohoo! i'm not sure what the final ride count was but i'm sure it was well over 20 people. Always great to meet new people and get to run into riders from past rides. Further down we were treated to fast tacky fun. Rock is not an overatted trail feature in my book. Good times. Oh did i neglect to mention the trail was in prime shape. Speed is your freind. A nice warm campfire at the bottom was just the ticket to warm up the piggies. Man it felt like my feet turned into hooves my feet were so cold and numb. Everyone gathering round the warmth of the fire talking about the usual mundane stuff, y'know the secrets of the universe kinda stuff. The approaching dusk gave me motivation to seek a shower and warm bed. So back to my uncles abode, and i honestly don't know if the neighbors got busy because after a fat steak dinner and a hot shower an old skool Greek orgy wouldn't have awoke me from my deep slumber haha. So i didn't get to climb the Staircase, but it'll be there for me next year. It appears as if the magic mt. bike number in Washington state is 8000 feet, since there are only a few spots you can legally ride that high. It'll be a nice little goal for next season.