Sunday, April 30, 2006

Here's mud in your eye

Believe it or not, this is a photo of a paved road. Highland Way is a few miles east of Highway 17 along the summit of the Santa Cruz Mountains. This particular landslide is about two miles west of the entrance to the best mountain bike spot in the area, Soquel Demonstration Forest. The only other way to access Demo is to either drive all the way around, through Corallitos and up Eureka Canyon, or to bike up from Nisene Marks in Aptos up a grueling 12 mile fire road climb. In short it sucks.

How long it will be like this is anybody's guess...the slide is still sliding and has what amounts to a creek running through it. An old slide area that had the same road closed for nearly a year is about a quarter mile east of this slide and doesn't look so stable either. There's definitely been some slumpage of the hillside. What little vegetation had taken root is now gone, and a couple Volkswagen size boulders have rolled off the old girl and onto the road.

This is a photo of the old slide...the tree in the center of the frame is probably 70 feet tall and looks poised to come crashing down any time.

The county road condition website lists the road as "closed indefinitely," which makes optimism a little difficult. When the old slide was still on the road, bikers, eventually wore in a sketchy hike-a-bike where you could carry across the slide, then ride to the trailhead. I imagine that will happen here too, but with as wet and active as the new slide is, it probably won't be for a while.

While this all bums me out, it's also one of those reminders of how small we are and how powerful nature is. And that's totally cool.

Despite some wether related challenges, our out-of-town guests Lyle (right) and Lisa (middle), along with Troy here, were happy campers.

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