We did our annual solstice ride yesterday. (It was a couple of days late, because it was dumping buckets of rain on the actual solstice.) Every year, there is a group ride on an 18 mile loop of trails in the mountains west of town. We meet at Wolftone Creek, and ride up the North Fork Deer Creek Trail, then loop along Mars Ridge and come back down Howard's Trail. The ride starts after work (usually around 5pm) and then we all have a cookout at the campground where we park. This year, we had a group of about 17 riders.
The beginning of the ride was interesting, as a quarter mile of road on the way to the trailhead was washed out by the creek jumping its bed at a bend near the road. It was shallow enough, and the gravel underneath stable enough that we were able to ride through the stream, and we only hit one deep spot where our feet got a little wet. I was smart to bring extra dry socks with me.
The weather was perfect, and as long as you were moving at least at a walking pace, the mosquitos weren't any problem. Our problems did start after a stop to regroup about 5 miles in. We hit the trail again, and were probably about 6-7 miles in when the drive chain on our tandem broke on a steep climb. Carlos and I waited for the next rider to come up behind us, to see if they had a spare chain link with them. Normally we have one in our packs, but we also use our hydration packs in the winter for skiing, and take out all of the bike tools. Unfortunately, the master links didn't make it back into the camelbaks this spring. The next rider up the trail was Nathan, and he did have spare links. Carlos sat and fixed the chain, while I held up the bike and tried to keep the mosquitos from eating Carlos as he worked. We got it fixed, and rode for a ways before it broke again on another steep climb (the section of chain Nathan gave us had just popped out completely) We walked up the trail pushing the bike (to avoid mosquitos), until the next rider caught up to us, but he didn't have a link, so we had to turn back. The nice thing about all that climbing was it was mostly downhill going back to the parking area, and we were able to coast back without any trouble.
Since we got back early, we got the campfire started, so when the rest of the group made its way back in, the fire was burning merrily. Normally, it is too dry for a campfire, but with the month of rain we had, there was no danger of the fire getting out of control. Everyone brought something to contribute to the cookout afterwards, but the elk and antelope kabobs were by far the highlight of the fare. We made our way back home around midnight, took showers and fell asleep almost immediately. An excellent way to spend the day/evening with friends! Carlos and I plan on going back with just a couple of friends and doing the whole ride, since we didn't get to finish it yesterday.
I have always loved making things with my hands. It has always amazed me that I am able to take an image in my mind and make it come into form. Like magic!
I will never have enough time to create all the wonderful things waiting to come to life from my imagination, but you can see a few of the lucky ones that actually get made here.
I hope they bring a bit of joy to your day!
Thanks for looking!