Friday Group Ride #386

Friday Group Ride #386

I have never been to Annadel State Park. Never been to Santa Rosa or Sonoma County despite numerous invitations and the foreknowledge that all the types of riding, road, mixed, mountain, are great there. Nonetheless, I have been thinking of Annadel this week, primarily because it just re-opened after the wildfires that damaged it so badly only a few weeks ago.

It got me thinking about how I would feel if my local green space burned or was closed for an extended period. For me, that’s Belmont Woods, actually a collection of small wooded patches connected by narrow corridors of trail, altogether only a fraction of what Annadel offers. Belmont is neither breath-takingly beautiful, nor charmingly technical in its terrain. Mostly, it’s just trails in the woods with graffiti-soaked abandoned buildings, a small, poorly-maintained pump track, and the sort of rooty, rocky single-track New England is known (and not revered) for. It is, full stop, a key part of my mental health routine.

I’d call it a “sacred space” if I was more of a hippy or less self-conscious about making semi-urban footpaths into something more metaphysical.

If I am a little squirrelly at home, I can be on dirt on my bike in about 9 minutes. If I have an extra 10 minutes in the morning, I can weave a couple miles of trail into my commute. Belmont Woods is the adult version of the small, BMX-themed trails behind my house when I was kid. It’s not much, but escaping to it improves my life immeasurably.

Wikipedia says: Trione-Annadel State Park is a state park of California in the United States. It is situated at the northern edge of Sonoma Valley and is adjacent to Spring Lake Regional Park in Santa Rosa. It offers many recreational activities within its 5,092-acre (2,061 ha) property.

I’m pretty sure that doesn’t capture it. I’m pretty sure, for many cyclists (and probably some civilians too), Annadel is a sacred space, and even having part of it back is a great relief to a great many.

This week’s Group Ride asks, where is your sacred space? What stretch of geography, if it burned or was somehow taken by extraterrestrials, would leave you saddest? Please note, if you do not have an answer for this question, then you need to move.

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  1. Michael

    The mountains behind my home in Flagstaff. San Francisco Mountain, Mt. Elden, the Dry Lake Hills, and the endless lava flows. There was a big fire on the back side of Elden about half a dozen years ago and the trails there have been dicey since, washing out in summer storms and then being rebuilt repeatedly. Much of the NE side of the Mountain is now denuded and sends big debris flows down the slopes. Still, most of the area I ride is still well forested and beautiful. Our area is so much bigger than what Annadel appears to be that it would be difficult (but not impossible) to burn it all in one fire.

  2. Miles Archer

    Pinehust road in Canyon CA.,-122.1652513,3a,75y,314.74h,97.28t/data=!3m7!1e1!3m5!1sihT4FtYHh11Nk3WjATNtaQ!2e0!!7i13312!8i6656?hl=en&authuser=0

    There are actually a lot of places like this in Northern CA, just not ones that are an easy ride from my house.

  3. John Kopp

    Mine is the Boundry Waters Wilderness between Minnesota and Ontario. But it is only accessible by canoe, and in the winter by ski or dog sled. On a bicycle it was Stagecoach Trail from Afton to Interstate 94.
    Now that I live in California, Montana dr Oro State Park. But Highway 33 from Ojai to Ventucopa is just breathtaking, and the switchbacks up the mountains would be a great ride. This area burns every couple of decades, but still is wonderful.

  4. TomInAlbany

    Any wooded area I can get myself into is sacred space. There’s a buffer tract between me and the small farm behind. I snowshoe there in the winter and end up in the drainages and small areas that no one but critters ever sees.

    In summer, there is a local preserve that we take the kids to so we can stomp in the creek and cool off. Additional fun, we take sticks in the winter and play ice hockey on the frozen section of creek using a chunk of ice as the puck.

    At work, we have a small wooded lot behind the building. I can get out and ‘disappear’ for a 15-20 minute walk during lunch. One downside, gotta watch for the ticks when I get back to my desk.

  5. Dizzy

    NE Ohio (Cleveland-Akron-Canton-Youngstown) has about 50K acres of parks. Just over 20K of that is in Cuyahoga Valley National Park (CVNP). Even though we have major metropolitan cities w/their problems and pleasures, that forested acreage serves for quick retreats that lock out the mayhem.
    Watching/contemplating the news reports of this year’s western fires, stirs wild emotions to think that we too could suffer that fate. My residence, like so many others here, would be quick tender d/t it’s setting amidst the trees.
    So in answer to the question, my sacred space is NEO’s green space, specifically CVNP. Loosing any of it in such widespread devastation as we have witnessed from afar would leave me the saddest.

  6. Tim

    I live less than a five minute ride from the Katy Trail a Rails to Trails state park in Missouri. It mostly follows the Missouri River. River, bluffs, fields and canopies etc. with connections to many other trails and parks. I would not call it mystical but it does encourage my soul.

  7. Graham McFarlane

    These days it is Yangminshan National Park, just north of Taipei.

    I live at the foot of the park and frequently enjoy world class road riding featuring long, steep climbs to incredible scenery including terraced tea farms and fumaroles. You can park the bike and set out on foot to natural hot springs and expansive grasslands. You will often see Formosan macaques, formosan mountain dogs and even water buffalo. It’s an amazing place.

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