Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Lucky Waterfall Owl Stars

Pumped up the tires for another off-road excursion into the wilds of Joaquin Miller Park last Sunday. Partly cloudy skies with plenty of sun presented amiable weather, but rain had pounded the area Saturday night, so this park was about the only one that I trusted to be dry enough for trouble-free riding. Joaquin Miller drains fast and it's mud doesn't stick bad, besides, at this time of year exposed sandstone dominates the steep sections. A dire lone wolf I howled down the opening stretch, glad for the redwoods and blue skies. Right away I noticed that the waterfalls were about as full as I'd ever seen them, plenty loud. I love that phenomenon where the volume of white water seems to increase in steps, so I carried that love to where it was headed and laid uncomfortably on the mossy rocks by the crashing agua, just to listen, awesome. Sometime around "good smell curve", so named for the time Quintan smelled some nostalgia charged "hot day in the woods odor" and we spent five minutes rooting and digging and sniffing around there, I noticed that my rear shock was low on air (bottoming out). I figured that I'd test it on Cinderella, and then see if I could make more loops without causing damage (forgot the shock pump). Cinderella laid herself out in her usual breathtaking fashion, but when I forgot about the low air and hit one of her revered jumps, the severe bottoming out convinced me to head back after her. Ate it up, didn't crash but got loose, got that life affirming adrenaline quiver with an unbecoming whoop or two at the end. Down at the bottom of the canyon, where the creek runs eternal, the sound of waterfalls got real big, again causing me to stop. This time it come from four sides, upstream, downstream, my side of the canyon, and the far side, soooo tight. The meadows were full of those little white mini-daisy flowers I used to like to put in my beard, and I kept expecting to see the Herbal Essence shampoo model bathing in the rocky pools. When I got to the top of the Bitch (Sunset Trail) an owl started hooting, and right then I realized that I'd been waiting for that sound for months, missing it, and there it rang so clear. Let me count those lucky stars just one more time. Gratitude opens so many mental doors.

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