I clocked off work at five and scurried to pack what I thought I'd need for a spring evening and morning on the bike and for camping in the hills above town. The weather was cool and cloudy with a bit of wind, but by the time I was cycling east of Bonner, it's all sunshine.
|Heading up Schwartz Creek.|
|At the head of Schwartz Creek, nearly to Hollowman Saddle|
It's ten miles and a few thousand feet to Hollowman Saddle, the sun is mostly out of reach and cool air begins moving down drainage. Larch forests and varied thrushes brings on night. Around a corner, I bump a ferrel horse in the road, part of the Mount Baldy herd, or so I am told. The mountain is too steep on either side, so I bump him and bump him, a half mile or so, until he finds one of his trails and darts towards the flat ridge above.
I fill my bottles from what I think is the last stream and head over the saddle, cold and almost dark now. I'm sure I will bump a black bear as I sail around a dark wooded corner. Instead I find a wide spot near a brook and set up camp.
|Elk on a salt lick.|
|Preparing the morning sheng puerh tea.|
|Crossing the California Street Bridge, back to my home on the Westside.|
There were a few logistical considerations that arose once the rubber hit the road. At camp, I pulled the top of my handlebars slightly above my saddle to help relieve some shoulder pain and to give me a better view of my surroundings. I do not want these tours to be a pain in the neck, or to be about pounding out mileage. These tours should be explorations of the local landscape, like a jaunt by Ralph Waldo Emerson, I want to be the big eyeball, absorbing all that surrounds me. Also, I'm going to need a kickstand and an easy access camera bag, for quick pull-overs without having to lay the bike down and rummage around in the saddlebag. For camp, I'm gonna need a water bag so that I camp were the views are spectacular, not simply where there is water. I'm wondering if a sprung saddle would be helpful for more pedaling on bumpy descents of fire roads. I'll probably switch to my wider tires (50mm, as opposed to 40mm) once the roads are dry and dusty, and I don't need my fenders anymore.