Riding Sierra National Forest’s Bald Mountain

photo ©John Siebenthaler

My Best Ride Ever

Dirt Rider magazine offered up perspective on what it’s like to ride offroad in the Sierra National Forest just outside Yosemite for the first time. My first dual sport adventure remains a vivid memory, an awesome moment in time that rivals the perspective from another newbie to the granite slabs that are the foundation for Bald Mountain’s abandoned forest tower just east of Shaver Lake, California.

In 2004, digital photography was still chiseling away at film, and smartphones with cameras their equal weren’t yet on the horizon, which means my visual record of a one-time-only first time ride is a little sparse.

Atop Bald Mountain

One thing that hasn’t changed since my inaugural off-road dual sport experience in the dirt, at high altitude, with breathtaking scenary around every turn, was the time-tested, steady-as-she-goes Honda XR650L. Sturdy, dependable, predictable, and perfect for the task at hand, which was hauling a Big Twin and Sportster mostly Florida riding profile throughout the fir and spruce forests of the West.

With a nod towards a simpler time, when digital distractions were non-existent and Saturdays meant itching to get out of the house and on the road, this piece does a little off-roading into the unique geography that makes up the Oakhurst-Yosemite-Huntington Lake triangle in the Sierra Nevada mountain range.