We passed through Nile, then it was time to climb again - on a much smoother road this time.
Starting to lose sight of the tallest of the Cascades.
It was dry and hot as I led us along a more rolling ridge.
still rocky but not as bad and our pace was quicker now
Very beautiful still, looking East to the plains.
Here, the trail was steep and loose - a nice 2nd gear standing climb. Bernie and Shawn watched as I ascended the prominent hill.
Then they started up.
The trusty ride
We began to cross over a series of ridges, zig-zagging our way Northeast.
Ponderosa became scarce, replaced by sage - the scent becoming powerful.
The trail became a rutted two track, someone had torn it up pretty bad during mud season. Dry now, it was still a challenge to stay out of the ruts. We had a few technical miles ahead of us. Eventually ruts gave way to a few serious climbs - steep, loose, and rocky with a few roots poking out in the worst spots.
I biffed pretty good just before cresting the last hill, a tree root sending my back tire out and turning the bike 90 degrees in the trail. Once the rear tire hooked back up I shot right into the sage brush. I got er back up and finished the climb in time for Shawn to come putting up behind me. He dismounted and went back to spot Bernie.
Who did just fine.
It was at this point, looking out from the prominent viewpoint, I began to notice quite a bit of smoke blowing South from a point ahead of us.
I hoped for the best as we pressed on.