Monday, May 15, 2017

Eureka Valley

Feeling the need for a long, tough road ride I elected to ride to Eureka Valley and back from Big Pine yesterday.

I knew the flower display on the lower slopes were likely to be dramatic too, so it was easy to convince my wife, Mary to come along to sag, sniff flowers, and take pictures.

Starting the climb up the Waucoba Road out of the Owens Valley with the snowy Sierra behind.

Waucoba is a long relatively gentle climb.

Mary did a little scrambling to catch this great pic of me riding the narrows.

Nearing the top of the Waucoba climb.

Next up was the plunge into Eureka Valley. The remote and rugged desert scenery out there is incredible.

"Going out to where the pavement meets the sand" is a Neil Young lyric - that's just what I did!

The roadside flowers were truly amazing below about 6000' with the species gradually changing as I descended.

The climb out of Eureka Valley is tough. It gradually and imperceptibly steepens, so it gives the rider the impression of weakening. Then the road enters this valley where there are some steep ramps.
 
After a bit of tough climbing the grade eases and Joshua Trees appear.

Suffering and smiling.

The Evening Primrose was the only higher elevation bloomer.

The Joshua Flats section is magical.

Almost to the top!

The ride is almost 65 miles with over 8,100' of climbing. I encountered about one car every half hour - at most! Bring lots of water, (or have a great sag like I did), your climbing legs, and enjoy this gem of a ride.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Green Lake/Brown Lake

I had the pleasure to ski with my friend Jason today up in the Green Lake/Brown Lake area. With the warm temps of late we got a fairly early start - which proved to be wholly unnecessary owing to the high winds and cooler temps which kept the snow firm well into mid morning.

Jason nearing Brown Lake.

Since the snow was taking its sweet time softening we headed on up to the Green Lake area.


Yep. There's a lot of snow up there.

Occasionally strong gusts kept us on our toes!

Surveying the scene.

Nice chute at the head of the drainage.

We relaxed for a good bit on this rock to allow time for the snow to soften. Generally comfortable except for the random strong gust that would pelt us with ice crystals.

Headed up and found nice snow.

Had a short but excellent run here.

Skinned back up after and skied the bowl above Brown Lake which was a mix of hard snow and soft snow, however the run down to Parcher's was in perfect shape and skied very well.

Not done skiing yet!

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Tinker Classic

Last weekend I rolled east out of Bishop towards Beatty to race in the Tinker Classic 100k mountain bike race. Friday was hot so I elected to do a ride up near Lida Summit.

Pretty country.

Came across this spring. Could be quite handy for bikepacking or a big loop ride.

Ruins. Looked to be an old feed barn for a cattle operation.

Headed down Highway 95 to Beatty. Wasn't too hard to locate Spicer Ranch, the venue for the race and the trailhead for a real nice trail system.

Nice sunset at the ranch.

I rode down to Beatty for the start of the race. Tinker front right, me back center with white helmet.

Lifted a few pics of the race course off the interweb.


Good riding for the most part. I suffered a little here and there but felt strong overall.

Ended up second out of  eight in the Master's division (50+). Dunno what happened to third place dude. Missed out on some nice prizes.

Great event. Very well organized with a well marked and fun course and terrific aid stations.

Spicer Ranch is swell too. Sweet mountain bike trails, pleasant camping and nice bathroom and shower facilities. Check it out!

Monday, May 1, 2017

Kid Mountain

As good fortune would have it, my friends Nicki and Isaac visited this weekend and wanted to go ski touring. I met them last year on the Haute Route (click here) where we had a good old time.

They had done a big tour the day before and I hammered with the boys on our gravel grinder, so we were all in the mood for a more moderate tour. Kid Mountain fit the bill nicely.

We enjoyed easy booting right from the bottom along with warm sun and a light, cool breeze.

Higher up the slope steepened a bit and the snow became wintery.

All smiles on the summit plateau.

We walked over the summit to enjoy a fine vantage of the big peaks at the head of the South Fork of Big Pine Creek.

The winter snow, an inch or two of faceted snow over a firm base, skied very well.

Nicki finds the best snow.

Isaac enjoys himself.


Sweet corn a little lower.

Truly fantastic skiing top to bottom. Really glad Nicki and Isaac made the trip over. Good times!

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Tablelands Flowers

I went for a light ride in the Tablelands. Heard the flowers were nice there.

Boy were they!




Quite fragrant too. Glad I checked it out!

This was just a little east of the southern end of Fish Slough.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Kearsarge Peak

My buddy Dave had eyed a nice route on Kearsarge Peak and after checking it out on the maps I figured it was a good choice for getting to the summit.

We got an early start under a pretty sunrise.

First light on Independence Peak across the canyon.

We found nice booting up through this grove of Foxtail Pines.

A party of two had recently climbed the same route and their boot pack made for fast travel.

Dave heads up with his home town, Independence, behind him.

We experienced gusty winds and an occasional cloud rolling over.

 We found shelter from the wind here at this old miner's cabin site.

We left our skis at the cabin site and traversed the east ridge to the summit.

Dave took this one of me scrambling up to the summit.

And another of me sitting on the summit. The big block behind me sheltered us from the wind perfectly.

Meanwhile along the Sierra Crest, Dragon Peak sat in inhospitable weather.

Looking south up the Robinson Creek drainage.

Dave peruses the summit register.

Nice scenery along the ridge.


Back to the cabin site.

Dave enjoyed good skiing right from the top.

and the corn was even better down here.

Great skiing.

Smiles!

The snow was pretty thick here but still skied alright.

A view of our route from the valley. The cabin is right at the top and we skied diagonally down and left just below the sky line.

Another truly great day in the mountains! Thanks Dave.