Tour2014

Tour without a goal – 16 August 2014

Looking down into Antelope Valley

the crow silently flew off
 
-Hōsai Ozaki

apex predator
Another chilly morning, but once the sun hove into view it quickly began to warm up. Almost as quickly as I am on to climbing up a pass. As I turned left following 89, hwy 4 pealed off the route and went down a signed 24% grade. Sure glad I didn’t have to go up that. It was a pretty long hot climb up to Monitor Pass, which was pretty much exposed to the sun the entire time. The arid landscape was a riot of thorny bushes along the stream and seeing movement down there I spotted a golden-brown colored bear. The first bear sighting of the trip. He was just wallowing in the bushes, stripping off shoots and berries with no concerns for any other creature.

Bear

This climb was pretty relentless with only one flattened out spot as it curved around big alpine meadow. The views there were vast, as if I was on top of the world. Mountains marched on until hey were lost in the distance. At 8314′ Monitor Pass Has been one of the higher passes, but there is a succession of increasingly high passes over the next few days. Coming down from the pass the landscape went from arid, to desert like – all stone and barren hills dotted with the occasional stunted tree. The bottom of the valley was irrigated pasture land. I turned onto a new hwy at last, 395, and on the city signboards LA began to appear…

Monitor Pass

It was plenty hot in Antelope Valley and I pretty much just rode through it with short stops for supplies and lunch. At the other end it began the climb up to yet another pass again in a winding canyon. It had shear rock walls at many points and only along the West Walker River was there much signs of life. A strong headwind had come up to making is hot late afternoon climb extra fun. But I only went up for 10 miles or so until I reached Chris Flat Campground where I’d stay this night.

the bluejay in my camp
impatiently waits for me to depart

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