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Big Basin - January 11, 2009

Distance: 32.6 miles Ascent: 4201 ft. Moving time: 3:55 hours

It was time to go to Big Basin again, so we did. What a treat! The air was crisp at headquarters with a temperature in the mid-40s but this warmed up quite a bit just up the trail a ways. The sky was clear blue with almost no clouds and the air was about 70 F for most of the ride.

We rode down Gazos Creek from park headquarters all the way to the bottom at Cloverdale Road. The ride from Sandy Point to the lower gate reminded us how steep this trail is and why riding up it is so difficult. As always, riding along Gazos Creek is very pretty. We also noticed that it was very cold. Another thermocline was settled in the creek's canyon, bringing back the crisp air we experienced at headquarters. Temperatures returned to "normal" (it turns out this was a record temperature for this day) once we left the canyon.

We rode down Cloverdale Road to the bottom of Butano Fire Road and started our climb up. The first half of this ride was very enjoyable as we made pretty good time climbing up the hill at a reasonable grade. We took a brief break at the airstrip. It has been quite a while since we rode Butano Fire Road and our memories were a bit fuzzy. We thought we were near the top of the ridge, but it turned out that there was still plenty of up and down yet to come. We were less than half way to the top, but we didn't know that. We continued on, but we were all starting to feel the cumulative effects of a long ride. We finally got to the top at the junction with the Cutter Boy Scout Camp, regrouped, and then headed to the junction with Johansen Road. Here, we split, with Don and I riding down Middle Ridge back to headquarters while Ken and Anna returned via China Grade and North Escape. This way was a bit longer but had few uphill climbs, which was better for Anna since her knee was bothering her.

All in all, this was another nice ride at Big Basin. The weather was great, it was nice being in the forest, and there weren't many other people out.

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