"It began like any other day........"
Purple at the trailhead. It was a cold, cloudy and fairly unphotogenic day in the dez, so not many pics were taken:
We only encountered two people all day. One was The Good Samaritan (more on this later), the other a dirtbike rider who forced me down when he hit my rear wheel coming around this curve. It took him about 100 yards to stop his bike, he then looked back to make sure I was dead, and blasted off again. Jerkweed.
Here's Purple again, waiting for me to clean my shorts at the spot:
Most of the riding was loose, off-camber soft stuff. Endless, though not particularly difficult.
This was at the end of the trail. Willy Boy was cremated by his people on the spot where he fell. In more recent times someone commissioned a headstone and placed fencing around the site:
A nice, easy ride to see something I'd long postponed. It's only 3 PM, and we got plenty of time to explore a bit before dark.
From here, things got a little weird....
If you look carefully in the upper right corner of this pic, you'll see the faint outline of what appears to be a goat trail.....
Being that we had this surplus of time on our hands, I decided we should have a look at that goat trail, which was at the bottom of this:
As we all well know, pics of a gnarly, dangerous ascent never appear all that gnarly. What you can't see is that this piece of trail is over solid ledges of off-camber granite and quartz, interspersed with loose D.G., with a garnish of soft sand. This is me after riding/walking Purple's bike down it. After the first 10 yards I realized my mistake, but I was already committed, and there was no way a TW was gunna go back UP that hill. Every foot of it was covered in skid plate scars and motor oil from others' attempts. I could swear I even saw bloodstains on the granite
So I decided to leave Purple and her bike there while I found an alternate route by which we could extract her bike. Unfamilliar with the area, I set out on several deadend canyons all of which appeared as if they would connect with the goat trail. Not a crisis situation by any means, but darkness and sub-freezing weather were definite on our short list of immediate realities. We had the situation in hand and all the emergency gear we'd need if anything went south. Purple and I have been in some tight spots before and I can rely on her to act calmly. rationally and logically on her own behalf if the situation warrants such. This was not yet one of those situations.
Enter The Good Samaritan. While I was searching for alternate trails I happened upon this woman who was riding a quad. In passing I related the situation, and asked her if she knew of a connecting trail that might lead to that spot. She said that she too was unfamiliar with the area and had actually been looking for Willy Boy's gravesite unsuccessfully all day.
Trying to be helpful she suggested that I sound my horn and that Purple would then sound hers as sort of a locating system, and that way I would know I was on the right path. I assured her that we had the situation in hand and thanked her for her suggestion, (which was a pretty good one)... but Purple is deaf.
We said adios and I thought nothing of it.
Eventually I found a way in. Predictably Purple had assessed the situation and had secured the bike and moved to higher ground in the event that she needed to solve her own problem. The route out was beyond her skill level, so I left my bike in the canyon and we rode double on her bike to the main trail. I sent her on her way back to the trailhead and warm truck, while I walked a couple of miles back down the trail to my bike, then rode out.
Meanwhile, back in town The Good Samaritan (God love her, wherever she is tonight) evidently promply called 911 the very instant she could get a cellphone signal. Purple was met at the truck by county sherrif's officers and a helicopter had been dispatched to search for some poor missing deaf woman who had apparently been abandoned and left to freeze to death in some innaccessible canyon by her psycho boyfriend. It didn't take more than a millisecond for her to figure out that the "missing" woman they were referring to was HER.
Anyway, she quickly cleared up the misunderstanding, the helicopter was called back, I was spared a zillion dollar bill from the county for Search and Rescue services and everyone had a good laugh once I returned to the truck and the cops were satisfied I wasn't an axe murderer.