Saturday, December 18, 2010

Occasional Other Matters: Two Legged Adventure (Mount Wrightson)

If not for my inability to ride after dark, this day most definitely would have included my motorcycle. Alas a day in late fall is not long enough to comfortably confine all these activities to the daylight hours.

The activities, in order of appearance:

Drive to Madera Canyon, begrudgingly in the car.  Prior moto trip to the canyon discussed here.

Climb Mount Wrightson, the steep way up, the long way down.  (I know, I know...  "Stop.  Think.  There must be a harder way.")
Ascend Old Baldy Trail - 5.4 miles to the top, over 4000 ft elevation gain.  Hear me roar, I made it to the peak in 2 hours, 45 minutes!
Descend Super Trail - 8.2 miles back to the trail head.  The prettier of the two trails, in my opinion.  Solve geocache puzzle at Josphine's Saddle.

Find actual geocache.

Drive home.  Yep, it got dark before I got home.  Good call on taking the car. 

Photographic evidence:

Bellows spring was frozen.

A teeny tiny perfect autumn leaf as opposed to the gigantic enormous perfect fall leaf I'm holding in this post.

My spaghetti squash sun-dried tomato herb muffin (savory, not sweet) contemplates the view at Baldy Saddle.  Who says you can't put spaghetti squash in muffins or bread?  If you can use zucchini, why not?  (Recipes still under development, but I'm getting darn close...)

Arrival at the summit!  The frozen spring surely tipped you off:  It's cold!  I wore leggings, hiking pants, silk underlayer, turtle neck, "soft shell" jacket, gloves and hat, and didn't find myself wanting to remove any layers at any time.  I even wore my boots, which I never do.  I'm a confirmed Teva hiker, regardless of terrain, since boots invariably leave my toes all bruised.  Turns out this latest pair of boots is no exception.  Maybe some day I'll get hiking boots that fit correctly, but I'm not into buying pair after pair, only to find out these too don't suit my strange (narrow at the heel, wide at the ball) feet.  I can ride in them without a problem, I just can't hike in them.

The summit offered gorgeous vistas in each direction, and none of my pictures really captured them.  Here's a photo from the top anyway.

Making my way back down via the Super Trail.

A commemorative sign at Josphine's saddle.  On the date shown (purely by coincidence I was hiking on the anniversary of the tragedy), a boy scout troop camping and hiking in the area was caught in a freak snowstorm that dumped several feet of snow in the Santa Ritas.  Three boys died.  No one hikes Mt. Wrightson without checking the weather anymore.  This sign is one of five I needed to locate to solve a puzzle that would yield the coordinates of the geocache I was hunting.

A pretty spot not too far from my geocache find.  (The geocache itself was not on the trail, but further down Madera Canyon.)

The moon rises over the Santa Ritas.  Good night moon.  Good night mountains.  How lucky I was to have this day!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Safety Gear - not just for motorcycles anymore!

I'm an ATGATT rider.  That means "All The Gear, All The Time."  Ya never know, ya know?  This means helmet, kevlar armored jacket zipped to armored leather pants, boots, and 'roo gloves. (Sorry, but kangaroo leather is da bomb when it comes to keeping you safe and alive.)  I'm grateful to never have needed my gear for its primary intended purpose to date, but I've found other good reasons to wear it.  Like Reason No. 573 - an off course vulture directed like a missle into my left ankle.  Vultures are big.  I was glad I was wearing boots.  The vulture was probably not nearly as glad.  Or Reason No. 1232 - hail.  Hail hurts.  I can't imagine riding through it wearing a muscle shirt and Do-Rag.  Ouch!  (I can't really imagine wearing those items in any circumstance, come to think of it, but I digress.)  And, more recently, Reason No. 1791.  Bees.  Not just one (although I have been stung more than once whilst riding), but an entire swarm.  I know they were bees, because my bike, helmet and jacket were covered with bee carcasses.  Glad the helmet visor was down!

And there are times when I'm not riding when I find myself wishing I was wearing my gear. It crosses my mind when bicycle commuting in urban traffic.  Or when hiking a trail on which a mountain lion had been spotted an hour earlier.  In an area where mountain lions have been actively stalking hikers and runners.

But I was really glad to have it on hand when I learned of this unique riding opportunity at a local Christmas tree lot today...



We three kings, yo!  That's me hanging off a camel!  (The camel appears unimpressed.)

Thanks to C.Snood  for technical support.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

I recently did some more canning. This time, applesauce. It's probably a good guess that taking an attractive picture of applesauce is beyond my capabilities, so I'm not going to bother. I can tell you it came out a pretty pink color, because, thanks to my German Wheels, I was able to cook the apples with their skins, and strain the skins out after. Beats peeling 30 pounds of apples, hands (and peelers) down. When you preserve foods, you can use the jars and rings many times over, but since the flat lids will reliably vacuum seal only once in their lives, it's customary to use new ones each for each project. Who knew that the old ones would be so handy in a motorcycle tank bag?

Here the lid keeps the side stand from sinking into the soft ground, thus preserving my motorcycle from a tip over!  So much classier than a flattened Coors Light* can, wouldn't you agree?

*Coors Light is not my first (or second, or third, or fourth...) choice of beer.  Oh yeah, and I don't drink and ride, either.  Ever.