July 24, 2013
I awoke to soft rain this morning, and knew it was already too late to ride. It was only 6:40 a.m., and suddenly the phrase my grandma used to say popped into my head: “Rain before 7 quits before 11!” So, I rolled over and went back to sleep for a while, content because I knew I would probably get to ride later today anyway!
My grandmother’s wisdom held true, and after breakfast Hal and I looked at the sky. It had finished raining, and the clouds had gaps of blue sky between them. So, we geared up, lubed the chains on the bikes, and got on the road.
First we went to Blue Point Vista because we needed to check voicemail. There is no phone service at the lodge, so it’s either pay $1.75 to phone home, or drive somewhere to get service. We were traveling on the bikes already, so it was no big deal to go to Blue Point Vista. It was also a good opportunity to see what kind of weather was going to roll in.
At the end of Gobbler Point:
Phone calls made and voicemails checked, we set off down FR25 again. We wanted to ride to Gobbler Point. Last year this time we’d tried, but when a giant black cloud started to move in, we abandoned the idea and turned around. Today the weather was better, still a few showers in the area, but we made it to where it dead-ended at Trail 59, a hiking trail that descends into the Bear Wallow wilderness. We found the double track to be rocky and muddy in some places, and the vegetation very close. It was on the verge of being overgrown, and in several places we had to “duck” to avoid being slapped in the visor by an errant branch. What I liked about it best was its remoteness. At the end of the double track, where the hiking trail began, we found a box where people were supposed to sign in. One person, in the column where it asked for “zip code,” had written “Oslo, Norway.” The last person who signed in did so last November. I thought it was kind of dumb that there was no “date out” column. For all anybody knows, those people who signed in last November never got out.
We turned around and came out on the same road, eager to keep going on our quest to discover more trails on “our list.” We got back onto FR25, and soon after that, the rain started again. I stopped immediately and pulled on my rain gear because I had no desire to get soaked!
We raced down FR25 to FR24 again, just because it was super fun, not because we wanted to get out of there fast or anything. When the rain started, we talked about going back to the lodge, but by the time we got to FR24, the rain had stopped. There were just a few small drops falling by the time we turned onto 24.
We didn’t see any wildlife this time. We also rode this forest road very fast compared to how we used to ride it. I used to ride about 10 mph all the time. Seriously. This was not too long ago, maybe last year. Now both of us ride around 20-30, at least, depending on the condition of the road and the weather. It allows us to get a lot more miles in throughout the day!
After we rode 24 and the 576, we took Hwy. 191 north to another little road we had wanted to explore for a while, FR564. It turned out to be scenic, and few people have traveled on it, another plus. Then we came to a “y” in the road where a sign said Weir No. 2 was to the left, and “Weir No. 1” was to the right. We visited each in turn, but neither was as nice as the Thomas Creek weir. I got photos anyway, there were a couple of nice features about each. I find the little weirs very interesting.
Weir No. 1:
By this time the sky had darkened again, and thunder was rumbling all around us. We weren’t far from the lodge, so we got back on the bikes and headed out. Today was a short day for us, only about 50 miles.
This evening we went out for some photo opportunities, and managed to get some more elk shots. But the most spectacular shots were of the sunset, which I hope is a precursor to a nice sunny or partly cloudy day tomorrow. The plan is for horseback riding in the morning, so I hope the weather is good!