2010/07/11

Location =  Jemez Mountains - East of Cuba  
Distance =  17.4
Time =  3:31:05
Ave. Speed =  5.0
Max. Speed =  25.5
Monthly Dist. =    42.05
Yearly Dist. =  700.19

Bicycle Camping - Day Two!

We left the cow pasture and climbed up a singletrack trail back to the forest road, and then headed in the general direction of the next night's campsite. I say "general direction" because Roger and Don had a plan for a detour that would take us to a viewpoint. The detour required that we stash our bike trailers and then ride up to some overlook. I told them that my raincoat was in my trailer pack, but they told me that it wasn't far and I wouldn't need it. That was a mistake. We starting climbing without our trailers, and the higher we got the colder and darker it got. It wouldn't have been so bad if they actually knew where the overlook was, but they didn't, and we wandered all over the place trying to find it. Meanwhile, the wind picked up and it started to rain. We were somewhere on the the side of the Valles Caldera at about 11,000 feet, and I was beginning to get a chill. Roger had a spare windbreaker in his backpack and I was very happy to put it on. Thanks Roger, you saved the day. We finally decided to give up on finding the viewpoint and go pack to where we had left the trailers, when like magic it appeared. We didn't stay very long, and I was glad when we descended a few hundred feet and it stopped raining. I'm a weenie when it comes to being wet and cold.

We made our way back to where we had stashed the trailers in the trees, hitched them back up to our bikes and then headed off into the wild blue yonder. There were a couple of places where the road became a little bit steep and we had to get off of our bikes and push them. That was hard work. Negotiating steep singletrack with the bike trailers would be brutal. Apparently, our campsite for that night was at the bottom of a steep singletrack so the plan was to stash our bikes again, and then walk down into a canyon carrying everything that we would need. I wasn't too thrilled about that idea but I was along for the ride no matter what it brought my way.

We rode for a while on some forest roads and then we found the singletrack right where their maps said it would be. We unhitched and unpacked our trailers, and then packed everything into our backpacks to carry down to wherever it was that we were going. The trail was quite steep and would have been difficult to ride on even without trailers. On the way down I slipped and twisted my knee a little bit. That would have been a really bad place to have a torn acl ligament, but luckily, I was all right. After about a mile or so of hiking we walked out into a really nice little valley, and began looking for a good spot to camp. There was a little creek that flowed through the canyon, but it was completely trashed by the cows. Instead of a creek it was more like a marsh. There weren't going to be any fish in this creek. At least there was enough water so that we could filter some for cooking and drinking. If that creek would have been dry we would have been in big trouble.

We finally decided on a place to camp that had a little bit of shelter from the wind. We set up camp and settled in to spend our second night out in the wilderness. Don tried to chase the cows away from our camp but he didn't have much success. I hiked up the canyon to see if maybe the creek was in any better shape farther downstream, but it wasn't. There would be no fishing this time. After a while we cooked up a nice dinner and enjoyed a small campfire, before settling down for the night. There would be no rain this evening, only the sight of billions of stars in the Milky Way that were visible on this moonless night.


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