Hinkle Lake?

I’m not gonna lie.  I’ve wanted to post blogs, write about adventures, share stuff.  The truth is, I haven’t really felt like I’ve done anything on a bike in such a long while that would warrant the amount of time it takes me to put an entry together.  I’m not the quickest at this sort of thing.

In reality, I’m not even sure this last weekend’s ride will catch anyone’s fancy.  But, I was so impressed with the fellas I rode with, and the determination they showed, that I want to share our little piece of adventure.

Having done the route 3 times in the past, and thinking people would love it as much as I do, I posted an open invite on Facebook.  I didn’t sugar coat it in the description.  It’s a lot of climbing over a short distance and the descent back down to the car can be pretty bumpy at times.  Maybe that’s why only 5 people, including Ruth and myself showed up!

We parked just over the California border at the end of Applegate Lake and headed for Carberry Creek Road at a little past 8 am.

Dan, Chris, and John enjoying the relative ease of cruising along Carberry Creek.


It seems Jackson County is suffering from overcrowding even at the Pet Rock Prison level.


5 miles into the ride, there was no hiding what we were all in for.


It wasn’t long after we started up the first big climb that Ruth’s bike experienced a mechanical issue.  After 10 minutes of me applying my vast (minute) knowledge of bike repair, she was forced to turn back and call it a day.  Though she was able to get a solid 35 miles of her own, there was no way she was going to be able to climb what was ahead of us without her granny gear.  She’s strong. But, she isn’t Shawn Dingman strong.


I’m never one to pass up an excuse to take a short break on a long hill. Hey! That flower and creek needed to be photographed!


Dan and Chris enjoying one of the few short interruptions in the 4000+ feet of climbing in the approximately 15 mile climb to Whiskey Peak.


Ok. We took a few breaks.


It’s a long while of riding before you ever get your first decent view of the day. Hey, Dan! Where are the Red Buttes?


However, once we started the final push up to the peak, the views just kept getting better. John was looking down on Applegate Lake while we were still looking at the Buttes.


Finally. The top! And, this was our reward.


I don’t know if this rock has a name, but it’s right at the top of the road. I’ll just call it Whiskey Rock. I’m sure others have a different name for it….


The road down the backside of the mountain is a bit rocky, a bit rutty, a bit overgrown. A lot fun!


I didn’t get any shots of the sketchy part of the road. I was too busy hanging on. I did get this one of Dan right before he hit all the ruts.


And, see!? We aren’t the only ones that think the road is a little bumpy.


With most of the climbing behind us, I tried my luck at talking the fellas into doing a 2 mile out and back to little Hinkle Lake.  My memory said there was a little bit of climbing, but it wasn’t bad.


Well, it wasn’t good.


With some stretches reaching 20% and more than a couple downed trees to get over/under/around, I might not have been the most popular host during that portion of the ride….


The trailhead to the lake is off the Fir Glade trailhead road. This broken down old building is on the way to Hinkle. I sure wish I knew what it used to be. For some reason it fascinates me every time I pass it.


Chris wasn’t very excited when I told him this short downhill part didn’t mean we were at the lake. I just meant we got to climb some more before we reached it! FUN!!!!!!


This is what all the work was for. Pretty. But, not a lot to do when ya get there. Just a muddy little puddle in the ground. But…Pretty. Yeah?


A slightly closer perspective to help you form an opinion.


When all the hoopla was over, there was nothing to do but enjoy the final 17 miles of mostly fast, bumpy, wrist-rattling descent.


Sometimes those bumpy descents do things to one’s tires. John fixes the only flat of the day. He ended up needing a good-sized repair boot inside his tire after a rock put a nice gash in it.


After the flat repair, it was pretty much, um, not smooth sailing.  But, sailing nonetheless.  7 hours, 42 miles, and 5600 feet of climbing later, we were done.


I seriously want to give a shout out to the fellas.  You guys are an inspiration, a joy to ride with, and just all around good dudes.  Thanks for making Saturday as awesome as I could have imagined.

Aaron Mock

Local cyclist, crazy mofo, and good-natured masochist, Aaron Mock, is a Team Cycle Analysis rider with a penchant for taking the road less traveled. Sometimes, that isn't the best choice. Follow his weekly blog series for the latest on his never-ending escapades and exploits!

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