The Bikin' Fools
First August Moonride
The summer energy was too great to contain only one moonride for the month. In advance of the scheduled ride, three intrepid riders and Belle set out to bask in the beauty and serenity of the August moon. It was a warm, bright night for the riders to transit the Wild Lilac route. Cirrus, Lucy and Eric met at RLS to play in the mystical lumens of the gracious lady of the night.
Although the moon is low in its ecliptic, the light was ample for the initial passage from the parking lot. The waning afterglow of the day helped to guide the three through the shade of the north-facing trail as it wound quickly up the hills towards the Table Mt. lookout. The trail was smoother than in the daylight due to the moon magic that evens out the bumps.
Time seemed to be compressed as the terrain flashed past. Notable landmarks slid under the wheels as the three rode deep into the mountains southeast of RLS. The big drop-in, though scary failed to cause any major stackage. The big technical sections did not stop the three from frolicking across the terrain to the divide that separates the watersheds between Cache Creek and Napa Valley. This spot offered prime viewing of the bright August moon. The surrounding scenery was draped in the cool light. The Napa Valley and views to the west were prominent as well as the rugged mountains and the Van Ness drainage area to the east.
The Wild Lilac is a delightful offering that challenges the rider. The first section shreds the clothing, arms and legs of the participant no matter how much effort is used to avoid the grabbing, clawing buck brush that lines the narrow path. The bushes had grown significantly since the last passage months ago and created an even greater challenge for the lunatistas. The trail crossed the top of the divide then descended sharply downhill along the creek. It alternated between open areas and the creek bed. The navigation was relatively smooth with one notable exception when Eric decided to try the "other way" through the midpoint of the descent. Although the trail was there, it was thick, overgrown and gnarly. When they finally rejoined the proper trail it was clear that they had exercised the double black diamond choice for boony thrashing.
The trail cooperated for most of the rest of the descent to Van Ness Creek. Belle was a major factor in keeping the troops on course. When doubt arose as to the location of things, Belle always appeared wagging her tail wondering what all the fuss might be. She directed the riders through the woods and down the final drop-in to the creek. Although it was only fifty feet across the creek, it required a huge effort to access the road on the other side.
Once on the Bear Valley Road the three quickly pedaled to the Tin Cup Spring for another break in the action. Everyone refreshed with the delicious spring water. A sense of great beauty occurred under the magnificent, elder trees that stood majestically in the cool night air. The stream below sang beautiful melodies as it cascaded down the ravine. The event was now rideable. All of the boony thrashing was past. Now the wheels carried the bodies swiftly towards the last part of the ride.
What could have been simply a boring climb through the Girl Scouts turned serendipitous when the three decided to take a midnight swim at the pool. The water was cool and invigorating. It refreshed the bodies and awakened the spirit to the fluid nature of the evening. It made the rest of the ride seem fresh and new. Belle led the way up the hill and guided the bikers along the proper line. She is good at that. Her dark fur in the night provided just enough information to help the humans determine the best path.
All too soon the last steep pitch to the parking lot appeared and the ride rolled to a glorious conclusion. Although billed as a mini ride, it actually was a considerable effort that included all of the best features of a moonride. There was boony thrashing, beautiful night scenery, camaraderie, a swim and benediction from the lady of the night who has cared so much for the lunatistas. It was a great warm up for the August moon series.