The fire station just off Black Canyon Road, near Hole-in-the-wall campground

Bicycle camping in and around Mojave National Preserve 2006

Day 3: Wild Horse Canyon Road to Hole-in-the-wall campground and back

23.38 miles, 2:43 hrs, 22.4 mph max, 8.5 mph avg

Elevation: 5500 to 4200 and back

I get back on the bike and leave the Hole-in-the-wall area. I start riding northward back up Black Canyon Road toward Mid Hills campground. The pavement ends and I acclimate again to the gravel, sand and washboard texture underneath of these roads.

Parts of Black Canyon Road are quite sandy

As I slowly climb up Black Canyon Road, enjoying the scenery, it suddenly occurs to me that I've gotten stronger and am now adapted to these roads. My trip is just beginning now. I never reach this stage of strength and confidence during those wonderful, but brief, long-weekend bicycle-camping trips that I do a few times a year in the Bay Area.

On the way up, Black Canyon Road passes through a cattle-guard, gets a little narrower, and then descends into a gulley where it winds around scenically for a bit.

Keep-out signs at the entrance to this property on Black Canyon Road indicate that problems with trespassers aren't limited to those of us who live in urban areas; the problem might even be worse here since most passers-by are in a car and thus have more mobility than city pedestrianss

I wonder if this stretch of the road is one of those areas that is more enjoyable on a bicycle than in a motor vehicle because it's slower that way. I remember riding this road five years ago at sunset and seeing several deer up on a hill alongside the road. Would I have noticed them if had been driving a car?

I reach "the plateau" at the top of Black Canyon Road and enjoy the wide-open views out across Round Valley again. I stop a couple of times to stand and stare out into the space beyond.

Back on the upper part of Wild Horse Canyon Road, I ride over "the four lumps" again on the way to the campground entrance. They aren't as tough as they were yesterday because I'm a lot lighter today without that full load of camping gear, and today's ride was a lot shorter.

I ride up the rolling hills of the road through the campground and am happy when I reach home for the night. Everything is quiet up here at Mid Hills, even though it's a public campground.

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