Willing or Not!



The winter storms remained relentless as the Bikin’ Fools faced the late December moonride. Saturday, Dec. 29th was chosen as the night. The selection was the Church of the Holy Spoke. This vast room in the rocks of the Maacama mountains provides an ideal spot to camp out of the weather. This giant saucer shaped cave looks across a deep canyon to the Oat Hill mine road. It was the perfect time for the moon. She would be bright and provide the energy and guidance for the wayward souls who would defy logic, comfort and good sense on this stormy night. The camping event would be half walkers and half bikers. It was a rare Bikin’ Fools event blessed with the inclusion of a woman. A woman daring enough to hike ten miles into the wilderness, in the midst of a major Pacific storm, and at night without any lights.

At mid afternoon, Shawn and Megan departed on foot. They began the arduous ascent to the palisades. Shawn was carrying a huge dry bag that looked like a thirty five gallon trash can with enough provisions (beer cube) to get him through part of the night. The hike to the Holmes place takes two to three hours. It is six miles of steep, rutted old mine road, Towards the top, the road becomes all rock, mostly covered with green slime. In the rain, footing is treacherous at best. This is no ordinary hike in the park. The Oat Hill mine road represents a huge endeavor. Add to that the boony thrash to get down to the bottom of a steep canyon, then scramble, slide and struggle up the other side. Once off the mine road, the trail to the cave is tricky. At times it requires travel on all fours. It crosses rapidly flowing streams and loose, crumbly hillsides. The light was fading fast well before they got to the top of the mine road. The worst, the off road boony thrash was yet to come. Megan and Shawn had already been in the rain for three hours. They became totally soaked after having to brush through the thicket to the cave. Each bush was laden with water, ready to dump on the slightest touch.

Lindsey wasn’t able to arrive for the event until eight o’clock. His business had an emergency meeting of the beered. One advantage of the late start is the high position of the moon. Despite the thick overcast, much light arrives at ground level to illuminate the way. At least partially. Mike and Lindsey started six hours after Shawn and Megan. They grunted for hours in the footsteps of the two ahead. In the subdued light of the rainy night, the trail became a dreamy fantasy land, filled only partially with light. The travel is slow but steady. Part of the reason for the early departure for Shawn was to gather wood while there was still daylight The plan didn’t bare much fruit. It was dark upon arrival. It was nearly impossible to find wood in only the moonlight and the wood he was able to gather was soaked. The legend of Dave loomed strong throughout the night. At least all of their gear was dry.

By the time Linz and Mike arrived there was fire, but only enough to roast one marshmallow at a time. It never blazed, but no one froze. The four sat and enjoyed the evening until sleep time approached. Megan, Shawn and Mike rolled out their sleeping pads while Lindsey prepared to hike back to civilization, alone. The magnitude of such a hike is impressive. Under ideal conditions, in the day this bike/hike outing is a massive undertaking. At night other factors add to the ante. Few people venture out at night under any circumstances. For good reason. The predators have night vision. Even in a group, the gestalt changes dramatically from the day. At night, many things lurk in the shadows and in the landscape of the mind. Lindsey’s solo trek rivals anything ever done on a moonride. The L-factor illuminated the imagination by facing fear and genuine danger and pulling it off. It was truly one of those events that Linz wished he was at his truck when he was only half-way down. When he did get to his truck, he got to bask in the sense of great accomplishment. Relief and major fatigue followed the exuberance. He faced his fears and in so doing, powered to a higher, stronger Linz.

For Shawn and Megan, this trip was another in a series of adventures. It was their boldest escapade to date. They not only survived but had a great time challenging the adversity of the season. They returned to town with Mike on Sunday morning. The four Bikin’ and hikin’ Fools continued a string of moonrides that has spanned nearly a decade without interruption. On each outing, the attendees have experienced the special quality that is offered by the moonlight. Communing with nature in this intimate setting stirs something primal and valuable in the spirit. It is a hard, but refreshing excursion from normal living.