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Winter Drought

It has been a dry winter in California. I did a ride at the end of March when reservoir levels should be high due to rain and ended up riding in the lake bed.

It has been dry...very dry. We should be at the end of the local rain season, but we have had only a few days of rain. The local reservoirs should be near their capacity, but they are all very low. I did a little exploring on this trip to see the impact, but I expect it will be getting much worse this summer.

After a nice ride up and over Fremont Older, I headed over to Stevens Canyon Reservoir. I headed down the boat ramp, got to the end and kept heading down until it got too steep and loose to head down even further. It was amazing how low the water was, but this is a fairly steep slope directly to the water and no real path along the current "shoreline", so I head back up and over to the picnic area near the base of Montebello Road. I was able to get down the the water here.

I headed north, across the finger in front of the quarry. This area was dry with huge cracks running in all directions. The trick here was to ride across these cracks and not parallel to them since they were all easily wide enough to swallow my 2.35" tires and bring me to a very sudden stop. I made it across and back and then headed "up stream" along the original creek bed that still has a little water flowing in it. Initially, this was a 20 foot deep channel, but a bit further upstream there was a 1 foot wide channel that was easy to step over. I rode on the other side of the creek as I continued to head up stream. It got a bit more challenging because now the cracks, though less numerous, were hidden under short dried out weeds that had once been underwater. One of these cracks swallowed my front wheel up to the hub, but fortunately I was prepared and had no problems. I continued up stream to Stevens Canyon Road.

I headed up the road and then up Redwood Gulch. As always, this is pretty steep with grades up to 21% but I made it up without too much problem. I then started a fast descent down Highway 9 on my mountain bike. I think I topped out at 37.2 mph and I just didn't have any higher gears to go any faster. It was very nice as I didn't have any cars behind me all the way down!

It was an adventure to ride on the bottom of the lake, but it would be better for it to be full. It is going to be a long, dry summer.

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