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Canada del Oro Night Ride - September 24, 2010

Distance: 9.4 miles Ascent: 2,052 feet Moving time: 1:31 hours

This was the last Rancho Canada del Oro ride for the year, but it was a great ride. The weather had warmed from 53F on Tuesday to about 83F for this ride. The moon was full and very bright throughout the entire ride. Don and I got a good start well after sundown, so we were able to ride the entire ride in the dark. There were lots of deer, rabbits, bats and crickets out. There were probably more animals nearby that I was unaware of.

The ride itself was not too remarkable. We made good time up the mountains. Don and I were the only people on the summit, which is a bit unusual. The full moon cast full shadows as we stood there with our lights off and it almost seemed bright enough to read by. Other than a bit of end-of-year dust, the ride down was fast and easy except for a minor surprise. As we came into the home stretch on Mayfair, Don came to a full stop and I rolled up behind him when we came across a skunk in the middle of the trail. It started waddling off down the trail, so we followed a safe distance back. It seemed to be a lazy skunk as it refused to move off of the trail. We discovered that skunks are very slow waddlers. Finally, it found a spot with a gentle slope off the trail and headed that way. We passed the point with some trepidation and then continued on.

One of the rangers brought an 8-inch reflecting telescope to the parking lot. We took turns looking at Jupiter on what was supposed to be one of the best viewing nights in 653 years or so. We could easily see Jupiter and four of its moons through the telescope. The Moon was easily visible, but far too bright to look at for long.

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