Life is on high gear right now. Unlike the past hot months where I didn’t write because I was in a pathetic slump of not riding from the wrist being hurt, I am riding now, riding often and smiling every bit of the way.
There have been so many highlights on my rides as of late I don’t know where to start. So here is my random thought pattern of cool things that I have participated in over the past few weeks.
Kristin and I navigated four miles of the French Broad River from Hot Springs NC to Murray Branch. I didn’t bring the helmets because I got advice that this “Was a nice peaceful section of the river.” In retrospect, helmets are good in all situations. We made the trip with only one portage around a drop about 300 yards from our put in at camp. There were many other butt scoots and tricky maneuvers due to water levels being so low but what a great adventure for a Saturday morning. The weather was indescribable and I thought for sure the leaves were changing colors in front of my eyes. I set up the shuttle with a quick trip in the car and an even quicker five mile ride back along River road. There is nothing like using the bike to shuttle yourself down the river.
Kristin had a Hot Springs soak set up for us in the evening, it was superb and that’s all that needs to be said about that.
Shade always adds a little excitement into the mix and decided to go on a Blue Heron hunting expedition. Somehow Shad thought he could catch this bird even though it was 100 yards out in the middle of the river. With his leash still attatched he took off bounding through the river until the Heron took off and he was being whisked away down the current as I ran down the shore calling wildly for him. I wouldn’t have been so nervous had his leash not been attached. All was good as Shade is a quick swimmer and I think he learned a lesson about fast moving water. Buddy watched from the sidelines.
It just so happened that Jeff would be in Hot Springs so we both decided to bring bikes even though we had heard from the masses that the biking was minuscule. I got a rough estimate that the trails in TN would be better for us and took off with that knowledge alone. Jeff brought the single so we opted out of the four mile flat that I had ridden for the shuttle the day before and parked at Murray Branch for the following loop:
River Road -> Paint Rock Road -> Paint Rock Mountain Trail -> Chimney Rock Trail -> ???? -> Paint Rock Mountain Trail -> ???? Paint Rock road -> River Road
Limited on time and knowledge I had low expectations for this ride. I figured we would get some sweating in and maybe see a trail. However, we were still in Pisgah National Forest and she has yet to let me down. The climb was great, a good enough grade to make me sweat and just when we thought we were at the top, we were halfway, sweet!!
The trail turned into an immediate ridgeline with full views of the valley below. It continued that way until we hit Chimney and had a killer descent to the wrong side of the River. . . Uh ohhh, what time did you tell your wife again? Cus I think we have some climbing to do. . .
Climbing Paint Mountain from the backside was an incredible grade that kept me on my toes in the granny gear. I did my best to ride every piece of this beast but had to walk some of the steeper switchbacks. This is obviously horse country but most everyone we met was friendly and the Horse guys always know the trails well. I talked to one fellow that said “You could ride for days around here.” I now believe him and I will listen to the voices inside my own head before I let someone tell me there are no trails in a particular town.
We also witnessed a strange event. A couple on horses met us and passed when the second dog trailing along decided Jeff and I were much too dangerous to pass. The man would yell back in a southern drawl Mac, CumOnnnn Maaaaaaaccccc. This would entice the dog to rear forward but when he got close to me he would growl and then run back down the trail away from his owner. Eventually this guy realized the dog was not coming no matter how forcefully he yelled the dog’s name. So he got off the horse and sort of soft kicked the dog by us. Good times in the woods.
Double Dare coming this weekend, sweet I love Double D. . . what were we talking about?