Up In Smoke

Not a very original title.  I know.  Quite appropriate though, considering it perfectly describes my ride last Saturday.


I started out from our family’s camp site at Lake Siskiyou and headed up along the west fork of the Sacramento River, and what I hoped was out of the smoke.


Though the smoke wasn’t super thick at the beginning, it was still thick enough to obscure the view of Mt Shasta that is normally visible from this point on the ride.


While the campground was never quite full over the weekend, I was surprised by how many people were randomly camped in undeveloped sites along the river on my way up.   It made me miss the old days with my lumber mill buds and the late nights we used to spend camping and 4-wheeling in the middle of nowhere after working the swing shift.


The west fork of the Sac is absolutely gorgeous! So many cold, yet inviting clear swimming holes along the way. If it was warmer than 60 degrees that morning, I would have been tempted to take a quick dip.


Again, if memory serves me, one should be able to see Shasta from here. One wasn’t able that day.


After 12-1/2 miles and 2500′ of climbing, I took the little out and back to Gumboot Lake.


Gumboot is a pretty little lake. I was almost attacked by a little Shih Tzu there, but lucky for me its owner was nearby!


Nearing the top of Gumboot Summit, Gumboot Lake is barely visible in the center-right of the pic. The smoke is visible pretty much everywhere else in the pic.


At the summit, I noticed a trail off the side of the road. Being on the ‘cross bike, I got all excited. Then I saw the sign. No Bikes Allowed. Grrr.


In search of more miles, I was fortunate to find a couple gravel roads to explore at the top of the mountain.


I was just about to turn around on this road and head back when I saw a lake below me. Onward!


I had no idea there were so many lakes in the area. This one is Picayune.


I kept finding more gravel roads to explore. So many choices. So little time!


More gravel…..


And, more gravel…..and pine cones!!


Finally, I decided I better get back to camp. But, not before I found some crazy wildflowers.  Just wait…..


Crazier wildflower. I have no idea what this is.


I do, however, have an idea what these are. Alien pods!! We’re being invaded.  Probably not.  And, if not, then I don’t know what these are either.


So there ya have it.  The rest of the ride was just a bomb back down the hill.  Beautiful and fun in its own way.  I gotta say, I’m very excited to get back down to the area above and around Castle Crags.  Those roads and those lakes need to be visited by me.  On a bike.  But, maybe not in the smoke.

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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