Next Full Moon

Sunday, May 3rd Full Flower Moon

04 November 2010

jazzed up hoodlums

In which our merry band continues on the Birfday Tour 2010. Day 2:

Woke up quick. The sun is a long time getting down in the valley where we'd camped, but the change in light was enough to bring me around. Thankfully, though it was chilly and some middling dew had visited, there was no fog.

I like to have my morning constitutional 1st thing, so it was off into the underbrush for me, right away. Then I took creepy pictures of everone's sleeping set-ups. For future reference.

The Skipper:
I've had passing interest in bivy set ups. Looking at how wet C____ seems to be, my interest is passed. I'd sooner use a tarp in any one of several configurations.

N___ and K____. Peacefully slumbering unawares. Bet y'all feel different, now.

Travelling light really pays off. KB was extra crabby upon the early wake up. If I had not been gonna be out for the 2nd night alone, I'd have skipped the weight of a tent my ownself. But sleeping in the woods alone is too scary for me to go tentless if I have a choice.

I'm chicken.

Folks got up and at it well. We had a lot of ground to cover that day. Much of it on the uphill.

I was able to cook on the fire, both the previous evening's dinner and this breakfast. You know how that pleases me.

There was a lot of overlap in people's coffee set ups. This worked both for and against me. I contributed grounds to the general fund, and this earned me several cups with no effort on my part...but ended with someone packing my grounds away with their own and leaving me (gah!) without coffee on my 3rd Day. You know how that affects me. I was not to know this until I'd set up my little ritualized outdoor kitchen the following morning. It took several (increasingly) frantic searches of (all) my gear before this really sunk into my dim bulb. I got angry then.

Back on the road.

Back on the climb.

Big country. Clowns to the left of me.

Looking at the road bed dead ahead. See it? Indians Road is like that all day.

Looking over my shoulder, riding sweep.

Looking down. I saw a lot of this.

And jokers to the right. Ventana Wilderness.

The Spring is just before this slide.

It is a welcome sight. Sure beats the last time I did this, and it was running much better.

You really have to pick your way across that.

No pictures from Hanging Valley. It's not spectacular and I was going way too fast to trifle with documentation. They would have been blurry photos, what with all that speed.

You're looking at me, I'm looking at you.

Around the corner and down to the water again.

People's touring bikes!

N___. He's a freeborn man. His home is on his back. He knows ever inch of highway, ever foot of backroad, ever mile of singletrack. I tried to convince N___ that he'd have more fun stashing the trailer near the campsite and retrieving it later so he could ride unencumbered by gear he no longer needed, but he wouldn't crack.

The Skipper*. Notice how his bag of HQ is gone? That thing must have weighed pounds. All of his "achievements" are now void because he opted to stash his bag near the campsite to be retrieved later. Asterisk for you.

The incredible lightness of J__. What the?! Did T___ carry all your stuff? I mean, aside from my pillow and my notebook, I had only essentials. I even left the rope swang and BB guns at home.

K____. Seemingly demure, yet filled with __________s.

KB. Now check the suicide front shifter.

Picnic lunch at Indians Campground proper.

Then miles of pedaling through the thankfully mild Fort Hunter Ligget.

Gratuitous water crossing action shots.


More miles. Picture rolling oaks. Picture oddly burned patches.

Brief stops at the turns.

Miles and miles of this. Kind of hot miles.

We're headed for the back side of that, at roughly the same elevation as the far light blue peak. Now put your head back down and pedal ragged circles, alone.

Penultimately, we passed out of the military's joint (the checkpoint was unmanned for the 1st time in my experience) and began to climb up into some cool continuously contoured climbs. I abandoned my party when it became clear none of them had any more beers in their gears, and thus it was not a party but a loose grouping holding me down. I totally soloed that climb.

That's the only photo I got of that. There are 2 points of false hope on that climb- but I know them for what they are now, and so these days they just encourage me.

The top.
I had stashed the cooler and bag of snacks in semi-hiding when I dropped the racevan off, on Friday night. They were fairly easy to spot, because it was dark and cold and there may have been monsters around when I was there by myself in the dark cold. And also because there really is no good cover at that point. Anyhow, the USFS had found them and left them along with a nice note requesting we remove all our party trash.
Excellent. I have to trust that the majority of folks who make it to places like that are cool enough that they will not wreck our stashes. It's worked so far.

Beers were so cold they hurt your hand. And, plus K____ was handing them up before people could put a foot down.


All too soon it was time for the little doggies to get along. Sun don't wait.

They had to get down the pave, as there was not enough day left for them to attempt the planned (Ha! plan.) trail. There's still 5ish miles of no joke fire road from that saddle to even reach the trail head. The racevan awaited them at the base for to take them back home, while I would stay the night on the ridge and ride back the following day.

My plan (Ha! plan.) had been to ride part way down a technical trail, all things working out, and camp at one of the sweet spots. I had been rethinking that one from the start of the day's climb. At this point there was no question of doing that given the light, even if I had still wanted to do it. Honestly, it would have sucked. I could have gotten badly hurt riding that gnarly trail loaded (even with fresh legs), and with no buddy around it would have been foolish in the extreme. I'm not smart but I am dumb, so I decided to find a spot a little ways up the dirt road and hunker down for the night in the trees. By the time full dark had fallen I was relatively comfortable on a small rise, tucked in for the night. I hung my food bag from the center pole, so as to discourage mice from chewing their way into the tent/bag, and went to sleep.

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