“We’re cultivating this weekend, a few weeks earlier than we normally do. It’s getting drier every year, and harder to grow grapes in a dry farm system”. This passing statement tickled somewhere on my brain stem as Steve’s words seeped in and we all gazed up at the Sierra Madres. I wondered if the mountains too might be getting drier every year just like down below at Condors Hope, the 20-acre ranch situated at the opening of Bates Canyon, the gateway into our four-day bikepacking mission.
Two years ago, nearly to the day, my friends Erin, Campbell, Ian, and I all came down to Condors Hope to embark on a similar long weekend trip to explore and experience the landscapes, otherwise referred to as the high steep broken mountains, that had, at the time, just been reopened to oil and gas leasing by the Trump administration. We returned from that trip two weeks before the world shut down from COVID, and well, you pretty much know the rest of that story.