Monday, December 19, 2011

Free Ride Mountain Bike Trails

When my son Eric was three years old he got onto a bicycle and rode. No training wheels, no one holding him or the bike. He got on and rode around the street where we lived at the time. He has been riding ever since. For a time his passion went into motorcycle off road rides. Now he finds this area full of prime free ride mountain bike trails. How fortunate we live in the wilderness where riding in this way is easy and spectacular. I went into the forest with Eric yesterday to help groom some of the trails we normally walk on to create some special bike routes. He raked and shoveled dirt creating berms and jumps. He carefully clipped branches  out of the way. I raked leaves, took pictures and wandered off finding mushrooms and oddities in the madrone trees overhead. He worked all day on two different trails. A long hike together took us up and over and around all kinds of terrain. We threw rocks, sticks and branches out of the path. Arriving at the lookout spot a mile and a half from our house never fails to inspire. Out there, buried in the middle of the heavy forest is where we make our home under the shadow of the longest ridge line that remains a constant elevation. A week ago Eric and I found ourselves on top of that ridge driving along the road that runs the length of it. It was a daring move at this time of year when there is snow on top. But it has been unusually dry for many weeks with warmish days. We thought maybe we could make it over the top and wind down into the valley, a short cut in the summer from our trip to the coast. The most spectacular sunset colored our drive over snow drifts around icy corners and past the only road which could have been our destination down the other side. It was snowed in. This long ridge line was once a gathering spot for indiginous peoples long ago. They called it the race track. From one direction you can see into the Trinity Alps. Ridge line after ridge line of snow covered peaks. In the other direction we watched sunset colors play on the ocean. At one point we wondered if we would be spending the night up here in this remotest of all places. Thankfully we made it out and settled on the road to watch the rest of the blood orange and red sky. The hues took their sweet time fading. They held the sky for over an hour as we wandered. We made our way back to the main raod where we took another two hours to get home. If that road had not been snowed in we would have been home in half an hour. We travel very long distances out here to get anywhere.

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