Initial ride to lake unusually light on passengers
There were few takers for the very popular summer swim. This delightful ride has entertained, wowed and offered unusual experiences in the moonlight. This night was no exception. Dr. J. (transit manager) drove the van with Michel and Eric to the parking lot at Lake Sonoma. Patrick was there. Within moments Dan and Katie arrived to make the pack six in numbers.
Dan and Katie arriving in the adventure zone
The attendees loaded the bikes into the van. The now loaded van made steerage towards the Skaggs Springs parking/view spot. The newest addition to the concept had no idea what she was getting into. To some degree nobody else die either. The bikes and bodies poured out of the van at the trailhead (legal) at the Island View overlook.
Warm up exercise
The best part of the ride is the very beginning. For once in a mt. biker's life the trail is downhill at the start. It descends for half a mile all the way to the lake. Then across the stream at the bottom the workout begins. The trial mercilessly climbs. It is rarely level at any point on its meandering journey next to the lake. The drops can be scary and steep with lots of exposure. None the less, the woods are enchantingly beautiful and the presence of the body of water adds depth to the sense of the event.
Dan coming in hot
The sun had set and the sky was still bright and provided uninhibited visibility. The air was warm and pleasant, the lake was calm and mostly quiet. The ride to the rock above Island View proceeded swiftly and without incident. A required break forces the visitor to take some "agog" time to look at the serenely beautiful scene. The fading light painted pastel colors across the hillsides and doused the scorching heat of the day, leaving behind a pleasantly warm evening. One lone boat plied the waters below. They had the entire lake to themselves.
Doesn't get any better for those guys either.
La Luna's glorious entrance with attendant light spirits
The next part of the ride carried the lunatistas across undulating terrain that was fast running. The climbs were less intense and the single track was in good shape. The group made such good time that the turn to the water entry was missed. Half of the pack took an extended tour while the others waited, then chased the errant group. Eventually the party reformed, took a short break then proceeded to water's edge.
Everyone on same page again
For the next twenty minutes each rider blew into the plastic air mattresses, swim ring and mini swimming pool. All of the devices would carry the bikes and packs across the warm, calm lake. It is not clear if Dan had informed Katie about this part of the ride.
Preparations for the voyage begin
The water was pleasantly warm. As the swimmers proceeded towards the middle of the lake, the moon appeared over the terrain and sprinkled magic rays on the shimmering water. The scene bordered on the surreal. It was quiet and no other hint of human activity was present. The passage was swift and fun.
Reaching the further shore
Quickly the rafts were deflated. Fears of a chilly breeze were unfounded. The air remained unusually warm as the swimmers dressed and proceeded to the nearest campsite. Wood was fetched and a fire was soon raging to cook an assortment of culinary delights.
There was a reluctance to leave the campsite. The great food, friendship and the warm pleasant evening under the strong influence of the moon conspired to make the scene exceptionally nice. Eventually, however the long arduous trek up to Liberty Glen began. The hill was so steep that it was mostly a hike-a-bike. With each step the view of the surrounding terrain unfolded in magnificent fashion. Below the shimmering water of the lake rested in the folds of the forested hills. No cars, boats and only one jet aircraft accompanied the group. There was a sense that the entire park belonged to the Bikin' Fools.
The last climb
It took nearly three quarters of an hour to grunt up the steep jeep road. At the top all assembled to begin the last dash down three miles of pavement. The road was smooth and fast. Occasionally shadows covered the highway creating situations of "riding into the void". All made quick time in the rapid descent. All too soon it was over. The half dozen reconvened at the parking lot. All that was left was the car shuttle.
Dazed and happy riders
The August 09 moonride came to a rest somewhere around 2:00a.m. Although there was a dearth of riders, this compact group managed to gorge the evening with a surplus of fun and camaraderie. The conditions were among the best ever experienced in nearly two decades of moonrides. La Luna shed her grace and generosity on this fine group of riders allowing once again, a passage for the select few to slip the surly bonds of normality.