Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Hike-a-Bike, with a twist...

If you mountain bike, you are no doubt familiar with the term hike-a-bike. If you are not, hike-a-bike is something you do when you come upon a section of trail beyond your ability; it could be seriously steep, or technical, it could be terrifyingly exposed on the side of a canyon with a long drop down. I imagine everyone has ridden along a trail which contains some aspect which has caused them to dismount, shoulder their bike and carry it, or push it along in front of them.

Well, today I discovered someone who gives new meaning to the term hike-a-bike. The family and I went for a hike into Icehouse Canyon. Instead of riding, something different, for a change. Anyway, we had made it back to the trailhead, and noticed someone riding up the road. He was pedaling along alright, but in his right hand he held a sturdy walking stick (the kind you see hikers with out on the trail) with which he was, at the same time he pedaled, pushing himself along. Two activities at once. I don't believe he rode up the Baldy Road like that, so suspect he was a local.

Icehouse Canyon road, the hike-a-biker by the furthest orange cone

here he comes now and you can see him pushing himself along with the walking stick.
had to have been expending more energy that way, than by simply pedaling.

A number of months ago I posted up a little bit about the Ladybugs of Icehouse, well today the attraction were Columbines. There is one section of trail in particular, for some reason well short of the so-named Columbine Spring, where the slopes, up and down from the trail are covered with a deep growth of the showy flowers. The stream through the canyon is very inviting, especially the deep pools, but the water was almost painfully cold. Icehouse canyon is studded with the ruins of old stone cabins, as well as a few more recent, and occupied ones. The first part of the trail is quite reasonable, following along close by the stream, and well shaded by majestic alders, oaks, sycamores, pines and cedars. Eventually though, the trail takes a steeper turn and climbs in earnest up into the Cucamonga Wilderness area. If you follow it long enough you can bag the higher peaks in the region, including Ontario, Cucamonga, Timber, Telegraph, Thunder, even Baldy, if you are that energetic. All are above 8000 feet, Telegraph almost 9000, and Baldy, of course, over 10,000 feet in elevation. Our goal today was Timber, one of the so-called Three-T's. We have bagged the other two, but still need this third one. Unfortunately, the boy started to feel poorly, light headed, stomach ache; we turned back at the Wilderness boundary, so the third T will have to wait for another day.

ruins of a stone cabin

hikers and a shady trail

columbines alongside a little seep in the canyon slope

columbine, waterfalls and a swimming hole (a small one)

a sign that it was time to head back

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