Summer Interlude: Kings Canyon Flow

Campfires roared, flames holding back the darkness, a staccato of light around the grove. Around one gathered a group engaged in a lively contest of charades. The groups around two other nearby fire rings sat in more quiet conversation. There were other mini celebrations taking place in more distant sites, heard but not seen. Through the dark spaces between bits flicker of flame bobbed three white lights. A few hours earlier I watched as a stick tossed into the river bobbed around rocks, up and down over riffles, pushed by the visible flow. Now, the three lights reminded me of that stick; I knew they followed the road winding between trees and campsites, but those were unseen in the dark, and instead the lights seemed to flow in an invisible current.

I watched their progression as I had the previous two nights, having come to expect their appearance at this hour. One light belonged to a boy, another to his younger sister; I knew that much after the first night, the first time they rode past, when the boy, in no uncertain terms, told his sibling to stay behind him when she showed her spunk in attempting to sprint around him. The third light, of course, belonged to the mother, last in line, always the shepherd. It was their evening routine; the three would ride past, then thirty minutes or so later come back. I think they went for ice cream at the little store by the lodge, across the river, through the woods. When they did return, they did so quickly and in silence, wheels spinning, flowing up, then down one curve, two, and out of sight.

mountain bikes are overkill in Kings Canyon, as they are in most National Parks. the most dirt mine experienced was being rolled off the road to a dirt verge beside the river, to be propped up and posed before a nice background view.

one evening another mountain biker rode up to our campsite to talk bikes and trails, asking if i had found anywhere to ride. it was when he said he had ridden a part of the Don Cecil trail that things got awkward. should i have called him out for poaching a trail open only to foot traffic?