Sunday, October 21, 2007

In search of Fall colors

It has been feeling like autumn around So Cal, so it seemed prudent to try and find some changing colors. Some parts of the country you can't go outside without being enveloped in red and yellow leaves, but we have to look pretty hard to get that experience.

This one mountain has a unique mix of oak trees which turn color and drop their leaves. Not sure what they are. We always called them an Eastern Oak...have no idea if that is right, but they have these large, round acorns and fluted leaves. They are not at all like the typical oaks we have in the foothills and valleys. This ride gets up to around 5800' onto Liebre Mtn and rewards the 7-8 mile climb with great views and a singletrack return. Ahh, the good life.

However today, the winds of change were blowing in the form of Santa Ana winds from the north. That means gusty, windy conditions in the foothills and cold windy conditions up higher. The clouds were hovering on the crest of the mountain (it was in the high 30s with the wind chill) and it was misty all the way up. Every once and a while the clouds would part and allow for a great view.

Once on the top, we were surrounded by hunter's encampments. Great. None of us are hunters, so we were pretty clueless as to the time of year for all that Elmer Fudd-run around with a gun stuff. As we geared up for the singletrack descent, shots rang out on all sides of us, muted somewhat by the mist and clouds. Nice, and not one blaze orange windbreaker among us.

We were glad to get off the top of that mountain. The single track winds through the oaks and pines at the top, sometimes just a tunnel of trees that feels like the Star Wars forest scene on the speeders and then it will open to grassy slopes before it dives into chapparal. Very sweet. Definately a good day despite, or because of...not sure which, the weather. I rode pretty well, the knee did ok and I did not end up on some hunters truck hood.

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