I wasn't prepared for the sheer tranquility and breathtaking views of this trail, nor its virtually relentless ascent. It is an instant classic and a new personal favorite. The routing is expertly contoured to maximize pedaling efficiency over the buff, rolling switchbacks and through the understory. The trail plays coy on the views you know are coming, building up the anticipation for the first point where the trees clear and it kisses the cliff's edge. And like the old widower with the thousand balloons attached to his house, the trail just keeps going UP! Eventually, you'll reach a saddle where the trail levels off a bit and transitions to a rolling grade, but don't get too comfortable, because it resumes its march to the heavens as it wraps back around to the east.
Once I had enough - at about the second-to-last marked viewpoint - I turned around, and for the first time shifted into a midrange gear. All the work put into climbing was rewarded with a nearly pedal-free pumpfest back down to the start. Permagrin all the way back to the car. I can't wait to come back.