at least the visual folks will be satisfied-
a day on hwy 1
more eye candy
high sierra trail
high sierra trail
on foot for once
at the start
house of prostitution.....nevada.
coming off the road at I-70
wilson arch, not in the park
this is what getting annihilated by a hail storm looks like 9 minutes before hand
rain and cold heading out of pagosa. a long trip looming.
things changed when i found out about a car ride to california. peter and brian are running the high sierra trail, and steph could use some company for the crewing. my dark thoughts about dust storms change to light hearted smiles about friends. i'll meet them in moab and get a free pass across the desert. doesn't hurt that i get to hang with some super cool folks that i can learn from!
hot and sunny by durango, replacing calories and a ripped tire.
phone call from brad smythe (leadville bound) brought joy in the afternoon.
the 15 minute talk meant, however, that i was still 15 minutes outside of cortez later when the hail storm attacked. ominous black clouds rolling east, just as i rolled west.
after getting annihilated i found an awning at the first available building and waited out the worst of it.
cortez offered food and a leaping off point for the evening's ride, but the a mechanical changed things a bit.
a bracket on the bicycle broke and instead of riding into the night to look for camp, i spent an hour in walmart fabricating a replacement. due to the late hour i opted for a cheap hotel room.
west to utah in the morning, i send post cards from yellow jacket, co. homage to the alma mater.
monticello offers a great meal of hummus and sprouts (once in a while i go without coke and candy...!)
the trek to moab sees dry heat yet again, and i guzzle the 55 miels worth of fluids i packed. wilson arch is really astounding, the red rock contrasted with the bright blue sky. i hike for a bit.
reaching moab i hustle to the information center and here about arches national park. the last minutes of the afternoon are whiled away waiting for a hitch across the "no bicycles allowed" bridge, with no knoweldge of the pedestrian bridge 300 yards away, over the colorado r.
i was livid after an hour and at least 50 empty pickup trucks passing me by.
after failed attempts to call police and sherrif's dispatch, a 911 call got me the requisite info:
police: "the main bridge over the colorado? there's a pedestrian bridge right behind you!"
me (thinking): "WTF! no one thought to annouce the pedestrian bridge with even a small sign!?!?!?!?!?"
me (outloud): ""wow, i wish there had been a sign, thanks for the info."
riding into arches park late afternoon, my emotions are dulled, and i enjoy the moonscape. so much of this trip is totally new to my eyes. as the sun sets i am still miles and miles from the park entrance, and i need to leave the park to camp (or do so illegally).
setting up a late night vantage point, i sit and contemplate balanced rock for a while.
next i head to the park headquarters and use my waterbottles and camp soap to wash off the road grime.
riding out of the park i consider an allnight trek to the interstate where peter and steph will pick me up in the morning, but i instead opt to roll back into moab and hit the denny's.
my hamburger is delicious after another 150 mile day....
around 1am i poach a campsite at an intown campground, and am out before 5:30am.
the ride up to the interstate is really nice. i get stopped by road construction for a bit and explain the trek to the flagger. she asks if i ever get tired of riding?
cruising in to the interstate exit i talk the proprietor of the lone store into letting me hose/shower off out back, and bring myself back to socially acceptable standards of cleanliness.....almost.
soon enough the subi pulls up, and i am out of the elements.
the ensuing 12 hours bring me up to speed on the boulder community, and the recent FKT knowledge. steph works in the back seat while i am googly eyed over the western landscapes. utah, nevada, death valley, and finally the sierras. we land in lone pine, and find that brian has already secured whitney permits for the trek, and peter/brian must get to sleep immediately.
4am and we are in the car again, me dropping off the guys at the whitney portal. i drive back down to the motel amd fall asleep in the front seat, not even making it back to the room to nap for the couple hours i can afford.
at 7 i wake up and panic for a moment thinking i've overslept. up int he room steph is basically ready to go, and we hit the road. a 5+hr ride to sequoia park is what this crewing epic needs....
the drive is fun for the conversation, and we get to sequoia intime to get a last minute campsite, and head to crescent meadows to start our own trek.
the plan is to hike in until we meet the FKTers, and then try to keep up with them back to the car. 18 is but an estimate for the trek. after several hours of hiking we find a glorious granite hillside and waterfall. steph meditates while i explore the mountainside. the haze from several prescribed fires is obvious across the vale, but the expansive views of these mountains continuously blow my mind.
after an hour's diversion, we trek on, finally deciding a mile or two before bear claw meadow that if we go much farther the return run is going to be a monster itself. the whole hike back we hope the guys will catch us near the cars, but they don't. we end up sleeping until almost first light in the car.
upon arrival, peter and brian recount the serious altitude issues brian encountered, as well as the accidental off-route excursion in the early morning hours. still, sub 25 hours is a FKT for the high sierra trail, and the guys are happy. we go sleep in the almost unused campsite for several hours and then pack up for a trip to denny's in vesalia, ca.
a dip in a river on the way out of the park is a highlight.
once in vesalia my next travel plans must be decided upon. brian recommends that i ride with them to his house on the monterey peninsula, and then continue the bike trip. i am excited for the 1,890,560th time this adventure, and agree.
evening brings us to pacific grove, and i am exstatic that i can sleep at brian's place. peter and steph head to their retreat (their kindness in including me is so awesome), and i cozy up for a decent rest.
i miss my early alarm (which seems to happen at least every 3-4 days :) - and get to eat breakfast with friends....very nice. thank you brian and sophie!
i cast off into the misty pacific morning, with the pebble creek 17 mile drive and hwy 1 in the plans for the day.
can life get better?
of course pebble beach and carmel are pretty, but the day really starts as i head south towards big sur.
the spectacular mountains sea are ispiring and i crank all day. the pictures will speak for themselves.
i camp at morro state beach, after finding a quarter machine shower near the marina. arriving in camp after 11pm, the guard shack is empty and although the campground is full, i find a spot to set up.
before 5:30 i am on my way again into town, hawkeyed for breakfast.
the ride towards fresno kicks my butt all freaking day long. i am back in the dry heat, and there are some hills, but the headwind is a monster. 30, 40, 50, 60 miles.....into this wind...with the worst traffic thus far, hwy 41 is not a good choice. yikes!
dan calls and offers to deliver me from my sins by drving to lemoore and retrieving me. thank god, 110 miles in these conditions is as much as i want. the last miles are ridden in the backseat of the audi, like a visiting business man.....except the smell and coating of road grime.
up next: a return to sequoia?????????????? and yosemite.....