Up and on the road at 5:00 a.m., we had 2 items on our agenda: Lower Rock Creek and the “Van Halen” concert in Mammoth. Traffic between San Diego and 395 was smooth, arriving to one of my favorite highways in 2 hours. Breaky was in order, and the burritos-bigger-than-your stomach didn’t disappoint. Up through the high desert we went, bummed by the haze from the Rough Fire that didn’t make for great viewing of Mt. Whitney and the stretch of jagged peaks and mountains out the left side windows.
Nevertheless, our spirits were up, as we were going to ride Lower Rock Creek, a trail that had been on my list for a while. We parked at the lower trailhead lot a little after the noon hour and pedaled the road to the upper trailhead, a not-that-strenuous ride of a little under 8 miles. A view from the road of the lower trail section:
We stopped, stretched out our legs and then hit the trail. It was more than I had expected. Aspen groves and a few rocky spots had me smiling as we rolled along the creek, which was singing wondrous mountain songs.
It wasn’t long before we finished the 1st section and crossed over the road to the 2nd section, which was more fast descent with a stretch of Jedi-riding that literally had me laughing with happiness.
Back on the bike, we crossed over the road again and into the final section of the trail. We stopped to take a few photos of the trail here, which was the section of trail that we took photos of from the road above us.
Continuing on, we knew the chunky stuff was ahead, but unsure where and when it would greet us. When it did, it wasn’t a friend opening the front door and grabbing your bags for you. Instead, it was more like being a stranger and going down the wrong road and getting roughed up by locals.
If you like rocks, enjoy technical riding, and pushing-and-pulling while in the saddle, this is your kind of riding. All the while, you descend deeper and the walls rise higher above you, leading to inspiring mountain biking that leaves you, the rider, feeling a bit small.
Down at the bottom, the trees and shrubs closed in and the rocks were relentless. Perfect. I unclipped here and there, but not once did it frustrate me. It was/is the kind of riding that I prefer.
We noticed small clippings of branches laying on the side of the trail. Someone was out doing some brushing. A few minutes later, we came upon a woman and her dog. She had hand clippers. We thanked her, petted the dog, and wished them a good day.
The trail opened up, passing by some expensive homes. We were done, saying things like: such a great trail; I love the chunk; that is what mountain biking is all about; it had a little of everything–flow, fast, slow, rocks, scenery. We were MTB content.
Back at the parking lot, we loaded up quick and got on the road. The Atomic Punks, a Van Halen cover band, was going on stage at 8:00. They aren’t just any Van Halen cover band. No! They get David Lee Roth’s seal of approval, and won some big contest in Hollywood as being the best cover band in the world. We were not going to miss it.
Beers at the brewery, followed by double-fisting beers up by the stage, the band didn’t disappoint. Sure, it was like Spinal Tap, but we were singing along, heads were nodding/banging, and the people watching was superb!