Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Busy Memorial Day weekend

Wow, I'm so worn out from our Memorial Day weekend that I'm ready to go back to work to get some rest. We started out with a drop into the canyon on Fri night to get out of the house. The ride over to Drivers Flat and back is not far, but you do see the river which always means a lot of climbing. So, 12.6 miles and 2,800' of climbing later we were back home, nice afternoon stretch!

The Middle Fork of the American River

On Saturday we headed out on the Western States for a little singletrack fix. We had the trail pretty much to ourselves. The Western States 100 running race is at the end of June so we saw a few runners out checking out this section of the route. We managed to pass each other without issues and everyone was in a great mood, likely just happy to be out on a beautiful day. Got about 80 miles and 9000' of climbing in for the day.

Mary headed down Western States to the bottom of El Dorado Canyon

Pretty good stuff here!

A little tougher on the way back out!

On Sunday I headed down to Auburn to meet Todd and Roger for the start of what would be an 8 hour day for me. Roger was a no show and Todd only had a small window of time so he and I headed up to the top of the big Auburn Loop where we parted ways and I headed out for parts unknown. (Well, very known to me.)

I headed up Ponderosa Rd. and down Yankee Jims Rd. to Shirttail Canyon Rd.and up to Sugar Pine Lake. I've done this ride dozens of times but I am always happy for the solitude and beauty of these Sierra dirt roads. 

The North Fork of the American River

Sugar Pine Lake under puffy clouds 

From Sugar Pine lake it was back home via Western States and Volcano Creek.

Stats for the day
Mary and I had talked about going for a hike or possibly an overnight backpack trip somewhere on Sunday night after I got home from riding. I still felt pretty good and it was still early so we thought "what the hell, lets do it". 
We packed up our gear and headed up the hill to the Mumford Bar Trail. This used to be a killer ride down to the river and all the way to Sailor Flat just below Robinson Flat. Unfortunately a huge fire roared through the area about five years ago and wiped the landscape clean, this would be our first trip down the trail since the fire. We started our decent down the trail about 6 pm, neither of us could remember how far it was down to the river, I thought it to be about 3 miles. The road grade down to the trail had some of the best Dogwood trees we've seen this year, really stunning flowers down there. 

Dogwoods overlooking Royal Gorge. 

As we progressed the trail became more and more faint and overgrown, it was apparent that not many had come down the trail in the past few years, we could follow it fine in some areas, others were a bit of a challenge. 
The good....

The Bad....

The Ugly....

After a little over 2 hours, 2.6 miles and 2,800' of descending we reached the river and a nice little spot to camp. We quickly set up camp, hung out a bit and headed for bed, tomorrow was going to be a bitch!

Mary showing her fire making skills.

Someones ready for bed!

Packing up with a view of the river

We both awoke fairly early, Mary had slipped crossing a log and tweaked her ankle a bit, during the night it swelled up and freaked her out a bit as she knew we had a tough haul out of the canyon. Just as we were getting packed up Mary noticed something stuck in Sasha's tail. As she went to remove it Sahsa turned around quickly and I could see it was a piece of fishing line with a three pronged hook on it. Just as Mary was trying to get the hook out of her fur, she turned an the hook flew right into Sasha's mouth and stuck all the way through her upper lip.... shit! I'm usually a gadget freak and always have some sort of tool for such things, but in our haste to leave the prior night, I had nothing. 

We tried and tried to pull the barbed hook out of Sash's mouth, it was clear she was in pain but there was no way we could leave it in there as she would just get her tongue or lower lip hooked on the remaining barbs. After what seemed like an eternity we still hadn't removed the hook and all of us were pretty shook up. It was apparent to me that I had to find some sort of mechanical advantage to be able to get the hook out. I finally settled on the handle for one of our pots, so as I held Sasha down Mary proceeded to grasp the hook with the handle and pull as hard as she could.

 It took a few shots, but finally it came out. We were all exhausted, but Sasha seemed no less worse off for the incident and was her happy self pretty quickly. 

The offending hook, f'ing fisherman!

So we were off on our adventure, Mary's ankle was hurting quite a bit, but she soldiered on and we made the top in under three hours with water and picture stops, not bad for people who don't hike unless we have a bike over our shoulders!

All in all a pretty stellar weekend, but boy were we sore on Tuesday. I was pretty much shot for the entire week and took it easy on the bike till the following weekend. I needed a vacation from my vacation for sure!