Full Frontal.

I’m about 3 miles into what is going to be a tough, rugged hike through Savage Gulf, on a new-to-me trail. I’ve just gone through the Great Stone Door, and I’m heading down into the gorge, which is a steep, treacherous descent. I round one of the many switchbacks heading down, when suddenly, there’s a topless girl standing right in front of me.

So, I’ll get back to that in a sec, but, yeah, Savage Gulf IV. Pretty soon, I’ll have as many Savage Gulf trips as there are Fast & Furious films. Technically, if you count the motorbike ride, I’ve been there 5 times, but we’ll treat that like Tokyo Drift; it’s part of the canon, but wasn’t really in the spirit of the other films, and there was very little Vin Diesel.

Savage Gulf adventures - click for larger

Savage Gulf adventures – click for larger

Anyway, after a not-at-all-surprising false start on Saturday (and a wasted opportunity), I headed north early Sunday morning, after a few hours at the gym. Turns out it’s only 44 miles, but it’s a slow roll, up and down mountains, through twisty – but scenic – roads. And because it’s in a different time zone, I actually gained an hour getting there; so I left at 6:00 AM; got there at 6:00 AM. That’s some real Star Trek time-travel sh*t.

Laurel Canyon - click for larger

Laurel Canyon – click for larger

As it always is, Savage Gulf was spectacular. I started off at the Great Stone Door Ranger Station; I’ve never started here, but I did hike in here from Greeter Falls a few months ago. It’s an easy hike to the Stone Door, so I decided to hit Laurel Falls first, which is a somewhat rugged loop trail near the ranger station. The falls were nice – not the best I’ve seen at SG, but worth a look. And the Great Stone Door – well, it’s just amazing, and the overlooks immediately preceding it are some of the best I’ve ever seen outside of Cloudland Canyon. Now, I’ve seen a lot on the trails – walked up on a mountain lion; was stalked by a bear; nearly stepped on a rattlesnake (twice!); and numerous other critters. But I’ve never walked up on a topless girl before (otherwise, I’d go hiking waaay more often). The girl and her two companions were taking a break on the trail, and didn’t hear me coming because they had music on their phone playing. Of course, I averted my eyes, but really, she didn’t seem to care too much – if you’ve got it, flaunt it, I always say. So, we had a nice chat – they were woefully unprepared for the gorge, and were asking me questions about the trails, the falls, etc. I left them with my map (I also had it on my phone, so I didn’t need it as badly as they did), and gave them required trailnames: Cool Breeze (because he was super-chill); No-Map (because she didn’t have a map); and – obviously – Tits McGee, which they all found hilarious. So, yay, new trail friends.

The Great Stone Door - click for larger

The Great Stone Door – click for larger

Following that encounter, I didn’t see a soul for the remaining 7 or 8 miles of the hike. Big Creek Gulf is not for the faint of heart, or the inexperienced hiker. More than 1000′ in elevation shift, and if you go down that far, eventually, you have to go back up. Because it’s a difficult trail, and therefore, less-travelled, it’s considerably more rugged. More so, the side trail to Ranger Creek Falls. This was about a mile (one way) off the main trail, but was so worth it.

After Ranger Creek Falls, the ascent back out of the gorge, and a quick 3 miles across the plateau back to the trailhead. Not a moment too soon, either – I was talking to the rangers for a few minutes, and it just started pouring. So, I hung around until the storm passed, so I wouldn’t have to drive back down the mountain in the rain. Easy-peasy, and a great adventure. With any luck, I’ll go back this weekend, and tackle the North Rim. It’s the last significant trail I need to hike at Savage Gulf. It’s long; about 15 miles, but no ascents/descents, so it should be no big deal for me. All dependant on Mother Nature.

motorbike-622
Speaking of Mother Nature, I got the motorbike back today. It’s been in the shop for the past two weeks, but now she’s home. The weather was too mediocre to go for a substantial ride today, but the quick spin I went on – wow. Much, much faster. With any luck, Friday night will be nice, and I can go downtown and hang out with the cool kids, or at least get out and open her up over the weekend. We’ll see. Next: I need to get a new saddle, but holy cow, are they pricey. My wish list is getting longer by the day – but, as they say, you can’t take it with you. And really, I need to stop watching motorcycle crashes on YouTube. Of course, at least I usually run my GoPro in case I ever have one (which the Laws of Probability dictate I most likely will). What’s the point of getting creamed on the highway if the world can’t enjoy it?

mustang
Addendum: I decided to splurge on a new saddle for the bike. The stock one suuuucks, and I’ve got too much ass for it to be sore after a long ride. These Mustang saddles are stupid expensive, so hopefully My Huge Fat Ass™ will appreciate it. Seriously, crazy expensive. I could have bought an entire La-Z-Boy, although I’m not sure how I’d attach that to the bike.

Oh, right.

Oh, right.

As if that wasn’t enough (is it ever?), I went ahead and ordered a set of Highway Hawk Fat Crash Bars. The purpose of these is to (hopefully) help keep your legs from getting crushed if you get broadsided, or to help protect the innards of the bike if it falls over. These are much heavier that standard crash bars, which is just what I wanted. You’ll see in their stock photo (below), there are highway pegs [footrests] installed in the crash bar – I dunno if I’ll do that; I always thought dudes with their legs all stretched out looked a little dopey. That, and I like to have my feet closer to the actual controls.

Hopefully I'm not jinxing myself.

Hopefully I’m not jinxing myself.

I think that’s enough shopping for today – it’s amazing how much money I can spend sitting at my desk. Oh, wait – I also need a luggage rack…

Link:
Big Creek Gulf Photo Album on Facebook