17 September 2007

Mnt Meru Machetes

The very first ride on a mountain bike was from my house up to the forest road on the slopes of Mount Meru (15,000'). I had bought my son Seth a mtn bike to go back and forth to school. He used it also on weekends too to get around to see his friends. One weekend in mayber 1995 it was sitting there and I took it up to the forest. I had to push it quite a bit the last couple kms and rested for 1/2 hour at the top. It was probably a 5 hour ride for me and I went home and vegetated on the couch the rest of the day. I now do that ride in under 2 hours.

Sunday I rode that route and continued to the end of the forest road.

Times change and the forest is not what it used to be. I used to have no fear and talked to the farmers up there. Now days they are growing marijuana somewhere and there are some young men walking around carrying menacing looking machetes.

I moved up at normal pace and past the ring road I stopped at 10 years ago through Sambasha. They have clear cut some more areas and the nicest part was now clear cut. then through the ravine and across the small river.

This is where I met the first person who unsettled me by asking where I was going.

As usual I walked the last part down into the river and up the other side. The other side is usual so lush and through native forest. a fair amount of the big native trees have been taken out.

The forest is supposed to be closed to logging right now! I wish that were true . I saw lots of sign of logging during the past few days.

the ride out of the ravine and up onto a plateua is usually very technical and some very steep slick sections. It by passed the impossibly steep section this time and it was not slick so i could ride the whole thing, but i was gettting wobbly at the end. picture>

I stopped at the top for some dates and two young men came along. All the young men carry machetes. A bit unnerving. That first guy i had met in the ravine had one with a very sharp point. These two seemed more benign and we chatted a minute.

I left the single track and now was on one of the maintained roads switchbacking up the mtn. Unfortunately they did some maintenance and the road had alot of dust. Before long i was at the the next small plateau that used to be the jumping off place for climbing Meru for me. A lot more clear cutting up here, but some fields that were farmed are now 10-20 year old trees and a dense forest. I had more dates and water and took some pictures. I had gone 16km and averaged only 10kph!

Because of the deep dust in the road or maybe my age I didn't fly down the mountain like i remembered. Maybe it is a memory thing. I took the short cut and there was no dust but the trail was moved around a bit. and then some of the best parts were logged!

I made it home pretty fresh after the hour of coasting down hill.

I had had this long interesting thought to share with the world but i cant even remember what it was about. Commuting, consuming? beats me.