Experimental music, photography, and adventures

New year, new terrain

Tuesday, January 4th, 2011

My friend Dave and I had been trying to connect for a ride all last week, but schedules and conditions conspired against us. We did, however, get out for a New Year’s Day ride. He came up with a great idea that would take mixed terrain to the next level. Here’s a map.

Even though temperatures the day before had climbed to nearly 60 degrees, it was in the 30s during our ride. However, the strong south winds remained.

We rolled out.

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Along the way, we ran into Doug, a friend of Dave’s who I’ve ridden with a couple of times before. We talked to him and his wife for a few minutes before going our separate ways.

There were some good hills, and nice views, along Ketcham Road.

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After about nine miles, we reached the Cedar Bluff Nature Preserve.

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We locked our bikes in a ditch …

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… and headed out on foot to hike the trail. I guess you could call this a mixed-mode adventure!

The creek was high …

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With pervasive evidence of beavers …

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The trail became more rugged, involving careful rock-stepping alongside the creek.

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Here I am making my way across some rocks (photo by Dave).

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Looking up at the bluff.

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The bluff is a very narrow point.

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I was testing some new hiking/biking shoes. I’ll write about them later. First impressions are positive.

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This was my first time on the trail, while Dave had hiked it many times before. His knowledge came in very handy. He knew the best place to stop and skip rocks in the creek.

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Now we had a scramble up the back side of the bluff, on wet, leaf-covered, mossy rocks. Needless to say, they were quite slick. We made it up without incident, with Dave making it look like a breeze.

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The top afforded us excellent views.

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It’s odd to see the cedars growing right out of the rock.

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The back side of the bluff had a ravine with a creek in it.

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We enjoyed a snack while we took in the views. What a great spot!

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Now, it was time to walk back down the way we came. Once again, it was tricky.

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Here I am coming back down (photo by Dave).

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Once again, Dave made quick work of it and got down off the bluff well before me.

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Now we had to retrace our steps back on the rocky creek shore.

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Dave pointed out this very funny pair of trees, known as the “upside-down lady.”

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It wasn’t a long hike, mileage-wise (maybe 1.2 miles) but it was a tricky one, and we took time to explore.

We got back on our bikes and rode back, taking a different route that added a few miles but had fewer hills.

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Soon, we had a tailwind. Sweet!

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We turned onto Gore Road, a new road for me and a great find. Thanks to Dave for showing me this alternative to Old State Road 37!

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We still had to spend some time on Old 37, but Gore Road avoided a few miles of it in fine fashion.

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We made our way back to my house. Ride + hike together totaled 21 miles or so, but neither part was easy. This was a lot of fun, and we already have ideas for other, similar outings.

I took a break from biking and hiking the next couple of days, and spent some quality time with my wife. The break was much-needed, as was our time together. Now I feel refreshed and ready for all the craziness that this year has in store for us.

I hope everyone is having a Happy New Year!

9 Responses to “New year, new terrain”

  1. David Crowell Says:

    Nice ride & hike. That’s a great idea.

  2. Tim S Says:

    Great in every way. I love visiting NPs on my rides. There are some around there, but none so rustic. And how can you forget, “Pervasive evidence of beaver”. Nuff said, there.

    (Nice Keens. Look forward to the review)

  3. the flat tire Says:

    Okay, so I won’t mention beavers.
    And I won’t mention the Upside Down Lady tree.
    In the same sentence.

  4. Chris Says:

    Reminds me of my eighth grade adventures with my best friend. We’d ride, hike, ride, hike…just exploring the outer reaches of our endurance. I guess it doesn’t ever get any better than that.

    Looking forward to the shoe review.

  5. John Romeo Alpha Says:

    Ride and hike is an excellent combination. I need to do more of those myself…in the new year. 🙂

  6. wil Says:

    Hey, are those Keen’s with SPD? If so, let the opinions fly. I have been eyeing a pair for a couple years now but haven’t done it. Thanks, Wil

  7. Apertome Says:

    Wil: They’re Keens, but not clipless. In fact they aren’t sandals exactly, either, they’re Newport Trail shoes. I’ll post some comments soon.

  8. Dave Says:

    This was a great time! There’s plenty of opportunity for this in our area; we’re regularly passing through two state forests and one national forest. I’ll consider this “mixed-mode” riding in more of our planning – I thought it was a blast!

  9. ryan Says:

    Wow – great photos as always – I agree with Chris, this is the sort of trip that brings back memories of childhood explorations for me…whether modest or epic, the best adventures always seem to rekindle that sense of freedom and discovery.

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