The miles wind and snake and gritty crunch, achieving a clip and breeze until the balance tips and we can feel the sweat under our pack straps telling us that winter is someone else’s thoughts now.
Thread of dirt like the path of unusually ambitious and purposeful cows through brush, the Lime Kiln Trail. Push the bikes up to a sharp crag ridge, then a short fast drop and it’s dusty and snaking through rolling brush, mountains in the distance, a scene from a dozen Westerns and we open it up.
Endless traction sandstone, staircase drops through narrow canyon cuts, float across a wash, drift through mushy snowpatch. We’ll slalom switchbacks back and forth until the tap tap repetition is mantra.
That first day bright simple sunshine pedal into clay paths through palo verde and brush, distant orange rocks, upkick buck drift with my timing all off out of the turns and lofting the front wheel.
A trail that is a half finished sculpture, the figure’s pose clear enough but all the cuts merely confident drafts, a roll over a tree bowl here, thread through fresh hack there, soft soil or sand trap.
Brought a small duffel of essentials and attached a Tangle, seat bag, top tube bag, and harness. Switched the bottle cage to a fork mount and borrowed another for the other side.
J and I only have a couple of days left before we leave, so I’ve proposed something dead easy, maybe relaxing, a little scenic: we’ll resupply, pedal out to Kane Creek Canyon, spend the night, then curl around Behind the Rocks to return to town via Pritchett Canyon.
Can’t say how many times I’ve ridden this trail. But never in this light, the breathless excitement of fatigue and the end of our food, never with the whole desert rock sand cliff dusk warping wrapping around us like a well told fairytale.
We nohurry some more, marvel at the skying walls, then off again.
Set off into a radiance and wind afternoon.
An ascent is somewhere between a denial and craving for it.
Rappahannock County, rollered dirt road lattice, Blue Ridge on the horizon and our fingers and toes freeze but we don’t mind, what with the sapphire sky.
Photo by M. Coady No place else fills me with the same sense of vital creative focused energy, the tolerance and realization of difference, the excitement in the density of humanity, soaring history and iconography, […]