On our way up, we saw that most of the upper trails were still covered in snow, with only the rocky peaks poking through. None of us had ever been on the trail before and the only info the pilot could add was in relation to where he usually drops riders. He identified a safe landing zone and we unloaded under a hot rotor system. Despite working on a helicopter for 10 years, having a heli lift off while you are under it never gets old. As we gathered and waited for our bikes to be dropped on the third trip, we noticed a thick layer of clouds headed over the ridge we were on. Just as it was approaching, the Pilot popped up from the valley and made a quick drop of our bikes. Then there was silence on Goat Ridge.
We identified a large lake on our way up to the drop off, it was one of the main features that ties the Britannia trail system together. Because the upper trails were snow covered, we chose the drainage that looked like it had the least snow and made our way down. The snow proved for some good crashes but receded quickly as we descended onto some of the best alpine single track in the world.
As the clouds chased us down the ridge, the primitive trail wound through alpine scrub pines and scree fields. It truly felt like we were deep in the backcountry. A crystal-clear lake met us at the shoulder of the ridge where the map showed two trails. One trail would take us directly down into Britannia and the other looked to wind around and possibly head toward Squamish. What we didn’t realize is that the trail we choose was about to drop 3000 feet in a mile and a half. At one point, I looked down to see moto tire marks in a near vertical chute. Only later after talking with some locals did we find out that these trails were established and now maintained by an active group of trials riders. Thanks for the heads up guys!
It didn’t take long to realize that this is an 80% trail where you have to hold yourself back a little because if you get hurt, it’s going to take another helicopter to get you out. After a few near-death experiences and some serious brake fade, we came out into a fresh logging cut that paralleled the trail. We must have linked back up with the Disneyland trail at this point, because it truly lived up to its name. Roots and loam with rocky chutes and steep granite rollovers put this trail pretty far up my top 10 list. After 4 hours of riding, we came to a glacial river and jumped in to cool off and soak the hands. It was a quick ride down a paved trail to Britannia Beach, where there’s a fish and chips place with cold beer at the store next to it.
You’d be hard pressed to find a more memorable way to spend 175 bucks. It was a genuine, unfiltered adventure. The experiences had may not have been “earned” in the traditional sense of climbing to the top, but the hours-long descent in remote terrain embody everything we love about mountain biking. Being in the wilderness exploring with your friends and having fun on two wheels. I’m ready to go back.