So you missed riding Sweetwater Summit with TBSA this year. Too bad! You really missed out on a great outing. We had one of the largest turnouts ever, easily the largest in recent memory and we’ve pictures to prove it. How large? Well, some said 52, others 54 people. I wasn’t about to count rigs … too much math for a kick-back weekend a’ riding. You know what else was neat? No single age group dominated. We had almost perfect age distribution from diaper-clad young’uns through nice, almost gentlemanly, laid back old fart’s. School age, teenager, young adults, middle age, and retired, you name it, they were there in numbers. Wasn’t so long ago we were wondering where the younger generation was to fill our ranks. This time it was a wonderful mix. Yeah!!
Some, many actually, showed up prior to Friday afternoon to get a head start on the weekend. Since Linda insisted working Friday, we didn’t get there ‘til dinnertime Friday. Upon arriving we’d learned it rained daily mid-afternoon and that in spite of hot day’s it’d snowed the previous day up on Mt. Patterson when several of our riders were much too close to the action for comfort … funny how lightning does that. Oh, back to the story. Throughout Friday night we had rigs pull in … including a few showing up after most were in bed. We even had a good turnout of folks new to TBSA.
Saturday morning found us with a quickly warming day and 3 rides planned. One was to Masonic (ghost town south of camp), another to Pine Grove (ghost town northeast of camp), and the last to explore jeep trails up near Mt. Patterson.
Just to set the record straight, I went on the best ride … never mind what others say. 6 of us took to exploring the Silverado mining camp west of Sweetwater Ranch and seeing how high up we could get on the jeep trail. We stopped in Silverado a moment and had a few fun moments ‘for moving on. We really got high up … just below the salmon colored summit visible from camp that is left of Mt. Patterson. We had a great view of the valley below (and camp) and a unique perspective of the summits surrounding us. Thereafter we took the oft’ taken clockwise loop up to Mt. Patterson and around back to camp, arriving in time for the swap meet that was planned. We won’t talk about our tangle with gun-slingers hell-bent on us not being in the vicinity of their camp … some folks just aren’t very hospitable. Wonder if there isn’t a Harley half-miler in there for Bob Smith opting to argue with 2 men who’d fired their pistols to get our attention. Hmmm.
‘Course we were probably suffering altitude something-or-other ‘cause a short while later the 6 of us tried to stage a drag race at the airfield near camp. After blowing the start two consecutive times we realized we hadn’t the competency required and so headed back to camp for less strenuous tasks.
Saturday night was one of the best pot-luck dinners ever. There must have been 50 things to choose from and, yeah, Le brought his canned peaches! Thereafter we talked long into the night but couldn’t have a campfire for obvious reasons. Oh well.
Sunday morning we were treated to yet another treat. Jay Whitehead who’d come down from Oregon fixed a terrific pancake breakfast with lots of help from Ron Cottrell. In short order it was riding time again, and yes, I got in on the best ride again.
I was contemplating options; liking one ride as much as the other, when Bob Hampton mentioned a ride not to be missed. He’d heard one ride was doing a counterclockwise loop up Mt. Patterson after exploring trails not ridden before in the area. Sure enough, 4 of us chased one dead-ended trail after another before Dan Kelley found the right one that took us up a new and sometimes steep trail to those summits. We saw mountain brooks aside our single-track trail, cattle grazing atop high mountain meadows amidst low growing tundra and Aspens starting to turn their fall colors. Eventually we were in this bowl with two single tracks, each steep and reaching to the top of the ridge surrounding us. We opted for the one to the right and after a bit of challenge had lunch on top. We also had plenty of entertainment while there ‘cause another foursome from TBSA was following us but two among them were apparently vying for that Harley half-miler. You see, they hadn’t re-jetted their XR600’s and we were climbing this wall in the vicinity of 11,000 feet elevation.
In due time we moved on, in the process climbing several other challenging climbs until eventually we were sitting on Mt. Patterson once again. Thereafter we descended and returned to camp … with a memorable ride safely behind us. Oh yes, others contend they had the best ride, the ladies told us about their trip(s) to Bridgeport for lunch, and our kids explored trails closer to camp.
Monday everything wound down and folks headed out … some for home and a lucky few off to Idaho for trail riding there. Here’s a few photo’s to give you a taste …