I now concede the fact that it was undoubtedly the five candy bars I ate in celebration of successfully getting across the avalanche debris field that caused the distress. I should’ve known better, but for a variety of reasons, it’d seemed like a good thing to do at the time. At least, I reasoned once back at home, the whole thing had taught me a good lesson.
A broken mountain bike handlebar in the Colorado backcountry leads to an interesting fix.
It was a long downhill and flowed well. I’d ridden it before and knew that, even though we were going down the valley toward Lost Park, I would need to pedal most of the way in order to keep my speed up. That particular section of the Colorado Trail keeps dropping slightly and slowly for miles as it winds its way down the mostly open Craig Creek drainage and since I’d ridden it before, I knew that it’d be fast, fun and effortless, save for the pedaling. Sure, there were plenty of obstacles all along the way- loose, unfortunately positioned rocks, encroaching Potentilla bushes, and washed out ruts, but only a few consistently tricky spots, all of which occurred where side creeks, thick with willows, came in. While the trail obstacles could be dealt with by using vigilance and technique, the creek crossings required something a little more involved. With their mud, roots, big rocks and water, they were simply best done on foot. Despite all of the downsides, it was Rocky Mountain mountain biking at its best.
Where did Garrett go? A misplaced backpacker out in the Wind River Range backcountry.
If all went as planned, we’d get to our campsite by late afternoon, which would give us plenty of daylight for setting up the tents, organizing gear and even resting some before cooking supper. Our backpacks were heavy, but being mostly young and fit, by lunch we’d already covered well over half of the 15 miles planned for the day. At just a little after 1 o’clock, we crossed the Roaring Fork and stopped on the other side to change out of our river shoes and eat our midday meal of tuna, crackers and gorp. Among other things, the stop also provided a nice break from the uphill grind we’d been on for several hours.
Climbing Huayna Potosi in Bolivia without a morning cup of coffee.
It was cold and restless sleep at our high camp on Huayna Potosi. As I think back, it was actually more like quiet time, except for the relentless banging of the tent flap out in the frigid, high altitude night. When I’d gotten up and gone out briefly into it, I’d marveled at how clear and full of stars the sky was. But that marvel was tempered by my personal acknowledgement that ultimately the clear skies would just mean even colder temperatures. At least, I reasoned, since there was no threat of snow, I wasn’t going to have to get up and shovel any of it away from the tent in the wee hours of the morning. Over and over again, I pushed myself deeper into my minus 25 bag and several times checked to make sure that the sleeping bag hood was cinched tightly down around my head. That checking and tightening, along with a persistent need to go outside and relieve myself, periodic dozing off, and a mental organization of the rope-up logistics occupied the bulk of my time. Continue reading “The Cup of Coffee on Huayna Potosi”