Fall-ing Out Of Summer

I've been in denial. I didn't want to face the fact that Summer is fading. I like Fall (when we HAVE a Fall instead of jumping straight into Winter), but I have so much fun in Summer. So I've been clinging to Summer - trying to making the most of my free time.

I had a lot of choices for today (Saturday, the big fun day of the week): The Utah Velo Club was doing a road ride up Hobble Creek Canyon and back, Mark was riding the Blackhawk trail up Payson Canyon, and my friend was taking his boat out. Making the planning more difficult was a wedding and my daughter's Homecoming date.

Each of the options presented some compromise or difficulty so I chose none of the above and went for a mountain bike ride up in the foothills near my house in Orem. There is a trail up there that Adam told me about and I've wanted to try it. I also wanted to GPS track some of the trails I'm missing and take some photos for the trails documentation project Adam and I are working on.

I set off around 8:30 am and was surprised how chilly it was (yet another inescapable sign of Fall), so I threw on some arm warmers. I went up the Water Tank dirt road and turned up the Ireland trail.

I've come down Ireland a few times, but this was the first uphill attempt. It was a brute! It has several steep ups followed by only a moderately reduced grade for recovery. I stopped a few times to rest since I knew I was in for plenty of climbing today and didn't want to flame out at the start. At the place I usually start down Ireland I kept going up - the trail continues up a shallow draw. It was a nice section of trail and a good climb. It connected into upper Crank and I continued up (shamefully more stopping).

At the top of Crank I was close to my destination - a trail Adam and his riding buddies call Area 51. It climbs to the north east as it crosses the lower flank of Little Baldy. It climbs quite a bit at first - pretty nice climbs, though I had to stop and rest once. Then the trail traverses - this part was good fun. After close to a mile it joins into the Great Western Trail (GWT) and I took it down to the Altar (the 4-way intersection of 4 trails marked by a big cairn [pile of rocks]). The GWT was fun, but littered with loose rock - I was glad I went this direction - it would be tough to climb that section of trail.

At the Altar I met 3 other bikers. We chatted for a bit then all of us went down Betty. I stopped at the start of Crank and we talked some more. I went up Crank part way then peeled off left where Adam put the cairn marking the end of the Crank TT. This took me across Ireland and down the front (west) face. I don't know what this trail is called, so I'll call it Firing Range because the trail ends near the gun shooting range and it's labeled "Firing Range" on the USGS topo map. It was a good downhill with a few get-your-attention steep sections and good views of the valley.

On the way home I ran into Kerry (Yamabiker) and chatted with him about the ride I just completed as he rode toward BYU (he had to work the football game today).

At home I got cleaned up and Jolene and I went to the wedding of her niece. It was held outdoors in a park near the American Fork temple. Dutch oven chicken and potatoes for lunch. Got to visit with the family and met a college buddy I hadn't seen in years.

Back at home I called my friend with the boat and arranged to meet him at the Lincoln Beach marina of Utah Lake. The boat is a classic 80's MasterCraft with a new carburetor that needed to be tuned up. We got out on the lake and worked the rich/lean mixture until it was running good then I went for a run on the wakeboard. The boat pulls up a good wake and I made a few wake-to-wake jumps and a few air 180s. Then we pulled his kids in the tube until the sun touched the horizon. The ramp was jammed so we had to wait a while so by the time we got the boat out it was getting dark. The mosquitoes were out in force and extremely aggressive. The swarms were unreal. We packed up quick and got out of there. Driving away at 35 mph the swarms were so thick they sounded like rain hitting the car. I had to stop at a gas station and clean the windshield because I couldn't see very well from all the bug splats. Crazy.

So, a pretty good Saturday as I desperately slurp the last swallows of Summer out of the nearly empty bottle.

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