Friday, December 26, 2014

Summer Singletrack

by Greg

Further attempts to catch up with our year, as the door comes swinging rapidly closed.

We spent much of our summer seeking singletrack. For us, summer riding usually meant late afternoons, the heat of the day beginning to break, fading toward night on the rough local desert trails. Or excursions into the nearby mountains, where we sought the green rush of smooth alpine trails hidden in secret valleys.

Satisfaction came from exploring new trails, or from trying to see familiar trails with fresh eyes. And from chance encounters with wild plants and wilder creatures. But also from the near quiet, from motion powered by muscle and sweat, from rolling over the broken texture of an ever-changing planet.

When we look back at these photos, we re-experience some of that satisfaction. And we hope that those who know, too, will understand.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

FEB: Water Stops 4

Words by Greg
Photos by Greg and Trina

Our quest for secret water in southern Arizona ended when water found us. We left the higher country and headed for the lower, classic Sonoran desert. For the prickly companionship of ocotillo, saguaro and the dog-dreaded cholla. We set up our tent on dry gravel under a sunset-reddened sky. And woke to a hard, pounding rain. Breakfast was aborted. Wet gear and damp dogs were thrown in the truck. Raindrops gathered into trickles in the gravel. Trickles quickly turned into runnels. Runnels into streams. The truck tires splashed down the track and onto the relative safety of pavement. Into the relative safety of civilization and the charms it offered. Hot breakfast. Warm drink. Solid shelter.

The rain played down on and off through the day. Ephemeral creeks turned to frothing rivers. Displaced boulders scattered across the highway. We flowed along a slow, wending course toward the end of our time in Arizona. Eddying out to delve into desert gardens, both wild and exotic. Washing briefly through the small lives that persist in harsh conditions. Gaining momentum that pushed us onward. Toward home.

FEB: Water Stops 3

Words and photos by Greg

Another wet stop on our path through southern Arizona. This time, a trickling creek, messy with sycamore trunks and leaves. Again, butted up against mountains. Again, small creatures and evidence of others. Scat from coati. Perhaps from bear? Stealthy scorpions made vibrant green in the darkness by the light of our UV flashlight. A raccoon washing food in the night-time creek, tantalizing our leash-bound dogs.

This time the mountains offered a well-structured but little used trail, and we were able to ride upward. Away from the curtain of creek-side forest. Into wider views. Through incised and etched granite. Toward the higher peaks, reachable, but not reached. Warm sunshine on our faces. Sharp grass seeds in the socks of humans and fur of dogs.

High enough, we turned and returned to the creek. To another quiet evening and night made quieter by the music of water.