Centerline Gallery Addition. Oh, and A Ride In Search of Autumn...

First up, a new shot for the Centerline Gallery. I seem to remember saying something about how it might be difficult to find a centerline when riding the dirt. Well, you can always do it yourself with whatever materials happen to be available. Like deadfall:

Now on to the main bit. Yesterday was my designated day to ride in search of autumn - my annual out and back mountain bike ride from Manker Flat on the south slope of Mt. Baldy, up to Baldy Notch, down to Stockton Flat off the north slope, and back again. I could not have asked for a better day to do it. Unfortunately I had no takers to join me, so did the double climb and descent solo. The temperature at the trailhead was a brisk 51º, the sky was clear, and the predicted Devil Winds were breezing far below a devilish level. There were a few hikers and trail runners, as expected, between Manker and the Notch, but after that not a soul around.

The initial climb of the day has never given me much trouble; the ski resort keeps the road which services their operations well groomed, compacted and generally devoid of loose chunk. Heading down the north side of Baldy, though, has presented me with more problems in the past - I have just never been especially proficient on that fist-sized loose stuff. Past years I have ended  walking from Stockton Flat to the Notch far more than I would have liked. Truth be known, I have spent more time climbing afoot than climbing from the saddle on that side of the mountain. Not today though. I tell you what, when it came time to head back up, I relaxed, didn't let that loose stuff stress me out, and rode it all. It was brilliant I tell you. 

The question remains, did I find autumn? It's up there, but not a lot of it. I found it in a few deciduous trees and shrubs in the shady areas of canyons. I saw it in the ghost yuccas down at Stockton Flat, and in the bushy tails of local squirrels. I also felt it in the slight morning chill (which didn't last long).

some patriotic person visited desert view. they also know the mountain, placing that flag in a protected spot out of the prevailing wind

taking a little rest at stockton flat. it was sooooo quiet

dead yucca stalk

autumn yellow, stockton flat

mistletoe getting in on the seasonal color. unfortunately it is rampant over on the north slope - the oaks are being wiped out by it, and i noticed it at the top of many cedars

yellow amongst the green 

i have always liked these switchback views, so i took a shot of one...

and another...

and another.

That's it for the M-S-M Ride in Search of Autumn, until next year.


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