Six points … Five choices … Two Destinies … One Magic Night

Right after reading the severe weather alert for Friday and Saturday, I received

an email from Hunter with the subject of “Tammo Ammo” and he said let’s do a

tamarancho loop tonight. Russell and Dana were already in. Somehow I

twisted everyone’s arm to change the ride to an ancient path called “Liberty

Gulch”. We decided on a dirt route through 5-corners and on to the meadow club.

We met at Russell’s house at 7pm – no rain. We did it on Tuesday and we’re

gonna do it again. Beat the devil, baby. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

We ride up to 5-corners and everyone’s feeling good. The usually daunting climb

doesn’t feel too bad. Fuzzy even had a bit of speed. We did 5-corners twice on

Tuesday, why not do it again?

Then on past Elliot and up towards the gate.

I hear my buddies yelling. Flash of amber lights.

“Ranger! Lights off!”

He’s lying in wait for us at sky oaks. He sees us and starts to turn his truck

around. That’s it for Liberty Gulch. That’s not going to happen. Destiny has

something else in store for us.

We turn around and head back on Shaver to 5-corners. Lights are off, can’t see,

must turn lights back on while descending at 15 mph, why do they make you do a

double click? With winter gloves on? Can’t find button. Looking over our

shoulders – no ranger yet. At 5-corners, we head straight up the brutal short

climb that Mo calls “thingo” (the name does it no justice), and on to the safety of

the singletrack called “Bald Hill”. We will ride to 6-points, which as it turns out is

an intersection of 5 singletracks (5-corners is an intersection of 6 trails, if you

count Elliot – go figure). My three companions sprint out ahead and I’m alone on

Bald Hill trail. What’s that I see out of the corner of my right eye? Amber lights!

The ranger is on Concrete Pipe across the canyon and he can see exactly where

we’re riding! When I finally catch up to the crew at 6-points, I say “Dudes, he

totally knows where we are – he’s been watching us”.

“What do we do?” I ask.

“We’re totally safe here,” Russell says calmly. “He can’t drive his truck here, and

if he hikes it we have 4 escape options”.

So of course we had a party! The longer we stay here, the better. They have no

way of knowing if we tried to exit or not. The rangers would have to cover three

different exits of the park, or play roulette and guess which exit we would take.

There’s no rush, mate! Have some Fuzzy’s elixir or some Maker’s Mark. Kick

back and snicker about the lack of rain. When it does sprinkle, pretend it’s just

the wind blowing drops from the leaves. It’s warm around the little fire-starter

brick, a technique pioneered by the Tuesday night fireman’s ride and carried forth

by Russell and Hunter. We’re happy. If it wasn’t so cold, I woulda taken a nap.

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Russell, Hunter, and Dana at six points

We ate, we drank, we drank in the night and got warm. We were not supposed

to be there. We were supposed to be on Liberty Gulch. But destiny and magic

of the night intervened. Russell saw it, but didn’t know what it meant. Hunter

walked up to the signpost that said “Bald Mountain”. The arrow on the sign

pointed straight up to an object and Hunter grabbed it. Fuzzy and and Dana

didn’t see.

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Stir it up …

Finally time to bolt. No decision as to which of the 5 trails to take. Even if the

ranger could read our minds, he wouldn’t know which trail we’re gonna take. If

the ranger is Matt Circle, he knows that he’s screwed and he gave up. If it’s John

McConneloug, that braggart brother of the #1 female mountain biker in the US (“I

know every single trail on this mountain, yada, yada, yada”), he will stupidly try to

guess which trail we’re taking.

Yolanda to Phoenix lake is rejected. Must ride right by the ranger station, maybe

he’ll call it in. Hell, let’s do just what we did on Tuesday, Yolanda towards Worn

Springs road and then Deer Park singletrack.

Joy of singletrack. No real mud, just some standing water. Spray all over the

place. Slimy rounded waterbars. Do not look to your left down the exposure.

That’s all bad. Focus on the trail. Let it roll. Ride the stairs – this trail is like

magic, it will save you if you let it save you. Something has happened to Hunter.

The magic has hit him hard.

Now on to Deer Park singletrack. Switchback city. All look hard, but not actually

hard. Fuzzy tries to cross a creek around a switchback and has a minor crash,

or maybe it was just a major dab. Picking himself up, he notices the fabulous

waterfall just up the creek. Must take photo!

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This is why we ride!

What a beautiful creek to fall into!

We’re down to the schoolyard, and no ranger. Sorry, Matt and John, better luck

next time. You were a part of our destiny. We needed you.

Fuzzy made spaghetti for everyone at Russell’s house. Hunter left to have

dinner with his sweetheart. I didn’t bother to look at the time when I got home.

Next day, I received the following note from Hunter:

Gents - That was such a great ride that I proposed to Leeta after.

I found a ring on the ride on top of the sign post that read BALD

MOUNTAIN with an arrow pointing up to a nice gleaming ring that was lit

from my head lamp. No shit. I have been wanting to propose to her for

a long time however I was stuck on what kind of ring to get being that

she is a designer/artist. Last night was truly magical.

Sopping wet, muddy, and smiling I offered her the magic of the night and

proposed for the future.

She accepted.


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Congratulations Leeta !! Congratulations Hunter !!