|Click for full trail map.|
Just when I think this place can’t get any better it presents another one of its gems to me.
That is what happened a few days ago when I finally took on Old Lion’s Trail, the longest and toughest of the marked mountain bike trails here. I had been putting it off, making excuses for myself such as I am not fit enough yet or am not experienced enough with cleats, generally just being a wissy. On this day it was high tide in the morning which meant no waves to get back to before lunch and I had discovered on my previous ride that I can now go over the handlebars and unclip at the same time, so there were no excuses left. I hadn’t actually intended to do it, but I have a tendency to get lost and then keep telling myself just around the next corner there will be a trail marker. Only this time just around the corner became just over that ridge and beyond that giant cactus I’ll find the trail again.
I could see the trail to my left luring me further and further up the ridge with the promise of connecting to it. By the time it did connect I was already a third of the way up the mesa and feeling fit so I decided to keep on going, besides I had an energy bar with which to reward myself when I made it to the apex of the trail which is also about half way. The first section of the trail climbed along a ridge over loose rocks with cacti and other pricklies leaning in to deter me from putting a foot down and to keep on climbing. Eventually the trail got the better of me and my pace was not quick enough to make it over a couple of larger rocks so a foot went down and I took the opportunity to look back over the bronzed landscape with splatterings of green and purple towards the camp and out over the Pacific where I could see the lines starting to form for and afternoon surf session. Ahead of me was a barren, golden sand face standing tall, surely a whiteness to countless adventures over the years, edged by two ravens circling their territory. Onwards.
Making it to the apex I excitedly took off my day pack to get out my energy bar, digging around among spare tubes and water bottles I pulled out an open packet thinking I must have left a half eaten one in there from a previous ride. Closer inspection revealed that it was not I who had eaten my energy bar but a furry critter who obviously found it to be good roughage as had left the remains of the bar littered with little black droppings. I refreshed with some water. As if knowing my snack reward had been soiled the second half of the trail presented itself to me as just under two miles of undulating single track downhill bliss. It had it all from rocky sections wanting to flick my rear tire from under me to compacted sand track hugging the side of a face I didn’t fancy sliding down. As if the trail itself wasn’t challenging enough, the views vying for my attention were enough to put even the sturdiest biker off their guard so it was a with smile of excited, exhausted relief that I reached to bottom intact.
Following more familiar trails back to camp, I found myself composing this post and glowing at how this place keeps getting better. The day was concluded surfing the lines I had spotted from the roof of the trail leaving my body aching from exercise and aching for more.
|Windsurfing till the sun goes down 🙂|
It is days like these, fringed by days like today where the morning was spent SUPing on glassy small waves; the pre lunch crinkle-cut waves consumed with long boarding and then windsurfing into the evening watching the ocean turn to purple around me in the sunset, that give me comfort in my decision to enjoy this lifestyle and question why I didn’t do it earlier.