Exciting adventures with great friends.
Last Sunday morning, long time friend Chris Arriaga pulled up in front of my house, and I hopped in. We drove north. All I knew was he had been talking with his friend Jordan Lacey, whom I had met briefly. Jordan knew of a mammoth structure which were were hoping we’d get to ride.
We parked on the side of a highway, grabbed bikes and gear, and hopped a gate. “No Trespassing” was in large print adorning our entrance. The usual.
Jordan had been there years ago when it was very dry. So we were expecting an easy hike/ride through small scrub and a dry lake bed. Not the case this time. Recent rain had everything in bloom, especially the six to eight foot tall weeds and brush. We had to circumvent the desperately low lake bed as to not sink into the gooey mud. Didn’t really help. We spent close to 3 hours bushwhacking and desperately trying to remove the clay that was building up on our tires. At multiple points in our hike we had to stop and remove the gunk from tires so they would actually roll again. We laughed at how much effort we were putting into this.
After a long slow slog through the muck and brush we arrived below the mouth. I thought it would be faster to climb up and diagonally to beeline it straight to our destination. Chris thought staying low and traversing would be easier. Jordan followed me up the rocks with our bikes. BMX rock climbing is not easy. Chris was right. He beat us and found amusement in our suffering.
The first time my eyes focused on our destination I was in shock. I had heard of this thing for years. It’s legendary.
It’s massive! Let me say that again…it’s massive!
Jordan explained how to get in and he went for it. Slid his bike off the edge and watched it slide a long way down into darkness. He then slid down himself, picking up speed as his shoes were moisturized by the water left over from recent rainfall. I went next. Scary at first, but mellow once you get part way down. I used the “spider monkey” technique to get down without slipping.
My heart was pumping once I descended into the abyss. I think it skipped a beat when Chris called down that he wanted to drop in. I was nervous for him. I climbed back up to get his 50 pound camera backpack. He said he was on it. So I descended again with the pack and we all got ready.
Chris is a badass! He never even saw the entire run-out until he was flying down into the darkness.
Once inside we cranked in the darkness towards the daylight at the other end of the tunnel. Jordan quickly explained some intricacies and began shredding. Chris and I soon became comfortable on the massive transition and we were all having the time of our lives! At least, I know I was. We rode till our arms and legs were sore. Chris pulled out his media gear and shot some riding mementos.
Once done pedaling, we wanted to get to the cars before dark. No one wanted to deal with the hike in, so we found the main road to take back. The road was a blessing and a curse. It did make for easy travel and we did have fun blasting long downhills. However, a car pulled up behind us as we were walking up a hill.
The person in the car was shocked to see us, then, almost immediately, he was enraged. He was a worker who I think lived on the property to oversee/manage. We received the usual verbage about federal laws, trespassing, etc. We responded with mellow tones and apologies. He drove off mad.
As darkness approached, we descended the last few hills. We braked hard at the bottom of the road so as to avoid slamming into our exit gate. The maintenance guy who yelled at us was waiting on the other side of the gate. He was taking pictures of us. Just after hopping the gate, a sheriffs patrol SUV came in hot. I casually walked up to the officer. I did not deny anything and apologized. Then another officer showed up. The worker wanted trespassing tickets for all of us. Luckily the sheriffs were very cool. We were cool to them, they were cool to us. They did say though that there will not be a next time. We were told to never come back and to spread the word. So, I’ve spread the word, but I might be back.
I will be forever grateful that Jordan was cool enough to be our guide. Also thanks to Chris for carrying ridiculous amounts of camera gear so that we would have souvenirs.
Great times with great friends…perfect!
Riding photos by @chrisarriaga. Other photos by Chris, @_jordan_lacey, and myself. (Sean Emery)
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