Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Wednesday Dirt: Marshall Canyon Immersion...

I really felt like mountain biking today. I really felt like doing so last week as well, but put it off for some reason or another. I am talking about a really strong pull to get up into the canyons. It wasn't until I got back home that I realized why. I had not been on a fat-tyred bike since the 2nd of February. And, while the skinny-tyred rides are filling, that is still a long, long gap.

i have no idea where this washed down from, nor that the
stream carried enough water to wash a stunt like that along its course

my rig did all the modeling today

Anyway, as the post title suggests, I rode over to Marshall Canyon and immersed myself in its shady depths. For the entire length of trail along the canyon bottom I passed only three walkers and two dogs. With the hillsides and tree canopy enclosing all it was easy to loose yourself in the surroundings, melt into the trail, disappear into a beam of sunlight, transform while splashing through a stream and flow away. For those moments the world was elsewhere and it didn't matter, I became part of these woods. There was a heavy humidity in the air preceding an approaching storm, and as I rose out of the canyon and the deep wood a few drops of rain fell. I think our senses can become inured to life in a city; we shut some things out to keep from being overwhelmed. Those few drops were all it took for the senses to come into full play. The tactile feel of trail surfaces, vivid colors, play of light and shadow, muted sounds of silence, and primordial scents.

i never tire of views of the oak canopy

a rare, and endangered, Felt Tree. did you know the branches only bear fruit just
before they die. funny, this particular ripe one looked oddly like my own bike

yeah, pretty now. just wait till those thorns and needles dry out

again, i never tire of those tortured, reaching branches

At this point let me just say, I realized something today - the smell of fresh is nothing like what comes out of a washer or clothes dryer; no matter how much conviction fabric softener companies put into their ads to convince us otherwise. There is no comparison. 

Alas most good things eventually come to an end. When I made it up to the heavily populated portion of the route, the Claremont Hills Wilderness Park, I fell victim of that old cyclists trap of only recognizing people when they are on their bike. A trail runner was heading towards me and it was only after she said hello that I realized it was a fellow Psycho-list rider. We had passed each other by the time I finally managed to stutter out a hello in return. It was a take-it-easy kind of ride until I turned out at the top of Mills. At that point I fulfilled an urge to run with some speed, so I quickly swung off and through the Thompson Creek Trail gate and onto the short, rocky trail I unimaginatively call Powerline. Two months off the dirt was enough that I required some re-familiarization time with the Felt early in the ride. It all came together on Powerline though, and I was able to kick through it at full speed. Felt good (pun intended).

most of the stunts in this area seemed to be gone, but a few remnants remained

weathered planks

a final view over Claremont and the Pomona Valley. clouds above, some low hanging fog, Santa Ana's in the distance, and the reason I call that short section of road above Cobal Canyon, Little Sedona


  1. The surroundings and the greenery of the landscapes fascinated me, thank you.

  2. That is why Marshall Canyon is a favorite amongst mountain bikers. Thanks.


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