I stop just long enough at the Lava Ridge 642 trailhead to point it out to Joel (easy to miss while riding) then rev and start climbing. It’s a fun bit of narrow trail, an easy warm-up for obstacles I know await us above.
I pause where the trail levels a bit and turn around in my seat to get a picture of the others coming up. It’s odd that I don’t hear engines. I trace the trail back to the road below and see the others still parked there. Hmm, something must be wrong. I’ll wait a bit for them to sort it out.
There isn’t an easy way to turn around so after several quiet minutes, I begin descending on foot.