14 May 2016

Frazier Mountain mines

Los Padres National Forest

For a second day of geocaching by bicycle, we decided on a bit of dirt that climbs up to an area of many mines, then drops back down again. This is easy to set up a shuttle for because it is nicely paved between the ends. The road is quite another matter. It does say it is easy for motorcycles, ATVs, or Jeeps. For bicycles, it is steep. The start rolls steeply and then it just starts climbing. All through, it is full of big, loose rocks. Trying to climb is frustrating as they slip out from under tires and generally push me about. If it is not rocks, it is sand. All the while, there are plenty of ruts to get caught in.

Lockwood Valley
Looking out over Lockwood Valley to Cuddy Valley. There are some advantages to climbing.

bright orange
Some very deep orange and often very short Mariposa lilies seem to live up here.

There are faint roads along the way. It is hard to decide if they are old mine roads or just people who cannot be trusted in their off road vehicles. Mostly, they seem to be mining roads. A few of the geocaches send us exploring down them to find the old digs. Filled in shafts and collapsing open pits with a little mining debris can be found. Much more common is the debris of miners. The chucked cans of many a meal had in some good view point can be found all over the place.

Frazier Mountain
Looking up toward Frazier Mountain. The mines are right up this way.

We reach the top, and it is a new challenge to go down. I just do not seem to want to embrace the ease of the dynamic balance that is needed. I want to be in control. I want to be able to stop if needed. This road does not allow that. Then again, what this road really wants to do as grab my tires and twist and leave me sprawled across it. It is a battle.

rock flower
More blooms and I thought the flowers were basically gone. There are plenty up here today.

Lockwood Valley
The other end of Lockwood Valley.

There is a bit of excitement as Bruce sets off the wildlife alarm. He has rather good reaction time to yelling out a warning of "snake!" I stop to find it before moving on. The big, black rattlesnake is climbing up the steep embankment away from the scary bikes. Not much further on, everything gets mostly flat and mild and sandy as we take the last mile or so out to the waiting car.

black rattlesnake
There goes a very dark rattlesnake.

©2016 Valerie Norton
Posted 21 May 2016

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