Next Full Moon

Sunday, May 3rd Full Flower Moon

12 January 2012

roll with the punches

Are you clean?

Are you warm?

Have you been sleeping well?

I had the greatest shower of my entire life on Tuesday evening, followed by a deeply warm and soft 10 hours of delightful slumber. Fresh off 3 days/2 nights bikepacking in the 2nd(?!) largest State Park in California. Now it is Thursday and I am already taking cleanliness, warmth, and comfortable sleeping arrangements for granted.

I was to meet my fellow travelers out at ______ Camp wheneverIgotthere pm Sunday night. So I did like we do and made it to loaded about 30 minutes past full dark. This trip was to coincide with the Full Wolf Moon, and it was up in force. The last people were leaving the parking lot as I registered, and we saw no one else until returning to the lot 3 days later.

Heading out by my lonesome into the dark with a vague familiarity, a map, a full squish "test bike" from the shop, and a case of beer evenly distributed through my rig was...daunting. Thrilling. Satisfying.

86,000+acres of open space in front of me, all laid out in a procession of silvery ups and downs. My loose plan fell apart immediately (for the better) and I began to climb singletrack. And climb. And roll, and then climb. I did meet my party, much later than expected, and we partied. Camp was nicely chosen- out of the cold wind, and warm since it was well above the literally freezing hollows. Morning came right on time.

Play-by-plays are boring.

Some thoughts pierced the haze of joyous exhaustion, though:

*don't worry about having the perfect gear set-up. Just find a workable arrangement and get after it. You can refine your rig through trial and successssssssss!
The other 2 bikes had some slick custom rackery (and mocked my idiosyncratic jury rigging?), and their loads were tight...but it was their snacky ways that were the True measure of bikecamping mastery. Salt and pepper cashews?! I have so much to learn.

*and in that vein...make sure your food situation is not just adequate but fucking delicious. I still underestimate the boost some tasty snacks can give. My sweetie helped me plan my food, and it was nearly perfect- very little left at the end of the trip=no waste(d effort). I was well pleased with the dehydrated tofu; it filled a hole in my protein bin.

*my saddle bag was buzzing my rear tire (well, it had all my cookware, food, bike tools/tubes/patchkits, and a 6er in there) the 1st night when in full travel mode. This did not happen after we strategically emptied those beers, but the point about distributing your load well was not lost on me. I had a saddle bag, a handlebar bag, and a pack.

*full squish was wonderful. The beating I took was so lessened. You don't think about the effort/strain it is to deal with compensating for all the (constant) vibration from riding rough stuff, to leave aside the jarring of larger impacts, until you have taken it out of the equation. I am very innerested in how the fatbikes will perform as a camping bike. I like the simplicity of no moving frame parts but a lot of cushioning.

*if you go to Coe, ride Cross Canyon Trail from East to West. The whole thing is kickass. Even the substantial ups.

We used the SteriPen to good effect. Until the water was too cold for it to work. Later, the battery crapped out. Tablets for back up are always a fine idear.

Esbits are trouble free...

I took my summer weight Wiggy's bag (made in Junction!), and figured I'd be fine with my clothes on, some down booties I swiped from my daughter, and a down coat...NOPE. I was so miserably cold the 2nd night.
Eye openingly cold.
I was up well before dawn for some moving around and some coffee. Our water bladders had frozen solid. There was hoar frost on the bikes.

My totem? The one legged chickenhawk in a climbing contest.

I saw a lot of this as I climbed and climbed and climbed.

It was a real fine time.Our finishing trails were singletrack that was good enough to merit being ridden for it's own sake- let alone ending a trip. I'm thinking hard about taking the kids out there for their Spring Break. We can slip around the ridges as much as possible. The park is SO big, a day's ride will get you well beyond the range of any but the dedicatedest backpacker.

Coming home was bittersweet. I will try to hold on to the good perspective suffering and hard fun have to offer.

Meanwhile, Full Moon back at the ranch...Suckers, liars- get me a shovel...those of us who rallied are winners. Those of us who did not, are losers.


Lord Hayden said...

Slip around the ridges?! Goddamn you're one suave fucker!

reverend dick said...

That chickenhawk was fucking delicious.

Gunnar Berg said...

" a case of beer evenly distributed through my rig" ;-)

Youth is not wasted on you.

Patch Kit Guy said...

Is that a breakfast Hamm's I spy in J's hand?

reverend dick said...

LOL. It was WAAAAAAAAAAAY too cold in the morning to sit around dressed like that. That was a late afternoon sit down beer.

Plus we didn't have any OJ.