Waking up on bike tour is a delight. Solo is even more delightful in some ways. You can look around, see that the sun is headed your way, the birds are awake, and decide to keep sleeping. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat, until the sunlight heats your bag and you have no choice but to get out of bed and make some coffee.
That blackened stump has been out there for several seasons now. We set it alight accidentally back when we were using the Esbits. It is a reminder to be careful with fire. I pulled it out of the woodpile for use as a stove base (again), but this time I soaked it first.
I enjoy using the Kelly Kettle. I like the ritual of gathering and busting up little twigs, which don't seem like much and yet there it is- your first boil in 5 minutes. It's quiet. Solo, you can lollygag your morning with an extra round of coffee, and not even think about other people's unspoken agendas. You all have them.
You can waste your precious time lounging in the sun, eating breakfast at a leisurely pace, and speculate with the map about potential loops from camp sans gear.
Someone had left this deer skull in the tree next to the fire ring, but I thought it would have more impact mounted on the cabin porch and covered in wildflowers...
I settled on a fun route and hung my gear up in the shower with a note asking folks to leave it unmolested. Then it was hottt climbing, only with the feelings of extra power. When you are solo, you can also feel fast.
Seems like every time we are out there, I kick myself for not having tools for trail maintenance. This time was no exception, but I did put some work in by hand. I think it will help a little. No one can do everything but everyone can do something. Thank you! to all the volunteers who put in the good work on those trails.
The dried creek beds were full of deerweed/California Broom (Acmispon glaber) and surrounded by fields of CA poppies, and lupines in shades of purple, blue, yellow, and white. The buckeyes are going insane and smell wonderful. It was some real grasswhacking singletrack, but the ticks were not bad at all. For Coe. The bugs are out, but not bad yet. I have itchy ankles from mosquito action in the early evening. I reckon another week and the flowers will be all gone; it looks like last week would have been ideal.
I'll take what I can get.
I like these mariposa lillies (Calochortus venustus).
I also appreciate, for name alone (?), the wally baskets a.k.a. Ithuriel's spear, a.k.a. grass nut (Triteleia laxa). See also the white globe lily, a.k.a the fairy lantern (Calochortus albus).
My gear was still hanging when I got back. It is such a luxury to have that cold shower! Hell yes, I took advantage of it. After lunch I packed up and began tying the fun singletracks together in as fun an exit as I could devise.
There is a lot of good hillside singletrack out there.
I saw this Northern Pacific Rattlesnake (Crotalus oreganus oreganus) about 6' before I ran it over. At speed (hella), all I could do was unweight the wheels as much as possible and let out a quick, shrill scream. I stopped and checked it out. It seemed totally unfazed. The range of coloring for these is surprising, and I really like the colors on this one. I guessed it to be about 24" long. I was glad not to have harmed it. Snake magic.
What a fun trip. "Jumping" the snake would have been ...better with a podner, and illustrates the wisdom of traveling with (capable) friends, but damned if the whole thing wasn't a Fine Time. I came home dirty, salty, and tired. That makes me appreciate the home life as it should be appreciated.