The Summer SolsAss is a 50k and 25k fun run held annually on the summer solstice weekend that starts at the Grouse Vista trailhead of the Tarbell trail. It uses several trails through the Yacolt Burn Forest and features several highlights of the area, including Hidden Falls and Silver Star Mountain. The course features over 8000 feet of vertical gain, including the Starway trail, a 1.5 mile, 3000-foot climb near the end of the race. It’s also a very technical course. Ed’s Trail is mostly slate and includes and few spots where hands are required for scrambling on volcanic remnants. Ed’s Trail Arch, a natural rock archway, is the jaw-dropping portion for both its beauty and difficulty.
Being the first day of summer, views of the Cascade Mountains, the Columbia River Gorge, and the Coastal Range would be expected. However this is the Pacific Northwest, and June weather doesn’t always cooperate. This year would be encased by a thick layer of fog. Previous years have had hail and rain. 2015’s sunny skies proved it’s not always nasty weather. The meadows are always full of wildflowers, including hundreds of bear grass blooms this time of year.
2018 marked the sixth year of the race. Joe and Ann Yela, Bob Baker and Donna DeLay have served as the race directors. Bob grew up in Orchards has spent much of his time exploring East Clark County. Bob has also served on the board of the Chinook Trails Association. Bob and the other volunteers just ask for donations for the Volunteer Rescue team. In years prior, the race was on Ultrasignup, but this year was just a Facebook event.
The two aid stations are well stocked even with their remote locations. The second aid station not only had food but also beer and whiskey. There’s also a water only station just before the climb up Starway.
The Summer SotstAss is a challenging yet casual race, but you don’t need to wait once a year to run the trails. The Tarbell trail is runnable all year and early fall is a great time to climb up to Silver Star Mountain.