It's been difficult finding time this week to blog about the great overnight trip I had with Marshal over the weekend. In short, we traveled from Waterton Canyon to Kenosha Pass in 2 days. I'll get the data off the GPS in the next couple of days. In the meantime, here's the pictures I took (and some video too).
Marshal on Segment 1.
Great shot of Marshal on the start of the descent to the South Fork of the South Platte.
Segment 2 curves
Marshal on Segment 3
Relaxing @ Ute Ck B&B + Snack Store
More detour--Reminds me of the truck/trailer that tried to see how close he could get to us on the road...Jerk...
Segment 6 (I think)--almost to Kenosha (me)
Marshal pulling WAAAY ahead on the home stretch
Seg 1 descent
More of Seg 1 descent
I really had a great time on this trip. I was trying out a bunch of new gear (thanks REI, US Bank, and my previous employer for letting me use my CC for expenses which resulted in a huge dividend this year) including a new thermarest, a snow-peak stove, and a new seatbag. All the gear worked great and I think it all resulted in a compact setup.
The stove and thermarest were SOOOO much better than trying to get a fire going to heat up water and sleeping on the ground in the bivy sack. The stove and 100g fuel bottle fits very nicely inside my titanium cup and it boiled the water in short order even without the windshield.
I felt great for the majority of the day, but I ran into the problem of not continuing to eat when I felt good and wasn't particularily hungry. It was much more evident this time than when venturing solo on other trips because Marshal is so consistent even after being on-trail for a long time. As we approached Wellington Lake, I was really starting to feel slooowww. The food we picked up that the little snack shop was a great surprise! V8, yogurt, and Reese cups...mmmmmm...They didn't kick in soon enough to help with Stony Pass, but on the descent I started to feel better. The cow elk that jumped out of the ditch to cross the road RIGHT IN FRONT of Marshal helped wake me up...Wouldn't want to run into her on a bike! Before we got to our turn off, it was time to turn on the lights. We ended up missing our turn on FR221 and dropped down into this quaint little mountain getaway community. Marshal stopped short but I kept going trying to find the way through...When I returned to where I left Marshal, he was gone...I rode back and forth and in circles for awhile and then I thought someone was shining a flashlight at me from up on the hill...I thought that was strange...it took me a couple of minutes to realize THAT WAS MARSHAL going back up the road. If he hadn't turned around so that I could see his red 'blinky' light I might still be confused in that valley...HAHA! On the climb around this little community towards Goose Creek campground, Marshal pulled out in front again showing his dominance when it comes to endurance. We found a place to bed down just before the descent into Goose Creek.
I pulled out all my sleeping stuff and my cooking stuff. I had bought a freeze-dried Kung Pao chicken meal for dinner. I specifically chose that meal because it contained over 1,000 calories...Problem was, it was full of brown rice and HUGE portions...As Marshal said, 'calories are only good if you can get them down.' So true...But at least the additional can of V8 I had carried from Wellington Lake tasted SOOO good while laying in the sleeping bag. I tried finishing the Kung Pao in the morning without much luck...The fauna got a free meal at least...
***LESSON LEARNED***I think I need to pack more calorie-dense foods. The rice was good but too filling.
I fired up the stove and had a nice big, sweet cup of tea before packing up and heading down the road. After filling up at the creek, the next climb ensued through more of the Hayman fire area. The dirt road was over way too soon and we hit the pavement...and the endless dodging of potholes and patches. The Ute Creek store was a very nice surprise...but once again...I sat for awhile and didn't eat a thing...I did, however, drink a couple more V8s. Then it was back on the road towards Tarryall Reservoir. The later it got in the day, the more traffic there was. Most were considerate, but of course it's the jerks that don't give you an inch that you remember.
The next surprise was a small bar/grill/store just before our turn off onto Rock Creek Hills Rd. I wasn't sure I was going to be able to eat but we decided to order (and split) a Philly Cheesesteak and onion rings (plus a Coke)...WOW...IT WAS DELICIOUS!!!! Not only did it really hit the spot, but it went down very easy. The lady at the bar was nice enough to let me use her phone so I called my wife and asked her to meet us at Kenosha Pass.
Back on the road with a full belly (well, maybe not full but very content) only to have a couple more 'near incidents' in the last 1/4 mile of pavement...Two times the cars that were passing us were also being passed...Doesn't take many incidents like those to remember why I don't like riding on the road. Anyways, once back on the dirt, that meal was sitting VERY good and fueled me well for the rest of the dirt road...But once back on the singletrack, the lack of eating enough was starting to catch back up with me. Marshal pulled ahead and motivated me to try to catch up with him the rest of the way. I ran out of water a couple of miles from the Kenosha Pass trailhead, but it wasn't that big of an issue since I knew the ride was almost over.
Misty arrived within about 1/2 hr with fried chicken for dinner. MMMMM.