Superior Hiking Trail (SHT) With My 2 Best Friends (Search SHT Day -3 thru Day 21)
On September 9th, 2016, I started hiking the Superior Hiking Trail (SHT) with my 2 best friends, Ragged (a human) and MacGyver (my golden retriever dog). The trail starts in northern Minnesota at the Canadian border up by Lake Superior and travels down to Duluth for 255 miles (410km's).
We decided to do it in the fall to get some of the beautiful colors of the trees changing and so there would be less mosquitoes. Took us 21 days to finish and it was hard work but so much fun. Check out my blog about it and make comments or ask questions if you want. Life is beautiful, get out there and travel, explore and do something crazy. Life is way too short to sit there and do nothing.
Colorado Trail on a Muni (Mountain Unicycle) (search Day 1 thru Day 25)
On August 25th, 2015, my birthday, I started an epic solo muni (mountain unicycle) adventure riding the entire Colorado Trail self supported. It's 500 miles (805km) long with an average elevation of 10,000 feet thru the Rocky Mountains with 90,000 feet (27,400m) of climbing. I averaged 25 miles a day taking 21 days to finish.
It was much much harder than I originally thought but so happy to have done it as it was beautiful and life changing. I know that if you were in the bar when I finished, almost all of you would buy me a beer...instead of buying me a beer, I ask that you please donate that $5 to the ALS so they can try and come up with a cure. If you can donate more, awesome, if you can only donate $5, that's perfectly fine and I thank you as it means you care and I appreciate it from the bottom of my heart. http://tinyurl.com/ob996bb
Check out my blog and make comments or ask questions if you want. Life is beautiful, get out there and travel, explore and do something crazy. Life is way too short to sit there and do nothing.
|Posted by Jamey on November 24, 2017 at 9:25 AM||comments (3)|
Monday, Sept. 12th, 2016
Did our usual routine of waking up, making breakfast, packing our tent and gear and then hitting the trail. Made it to Devils Kettle Falls which was really cool. I saw a YouTube video last year (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ul1b_3eH9sA) about it as it is one of the mysteries of the world cause the river splits in two here; half the water goes into a hole and they have no idea where this water goes.
Had cell phone reception so made a few calls, checked email and the weather forecast before leaving the state park and continuing on until we made it to NW Little Brule River Campsite (I think it was called?).
Then it was time to chill, eat dinner and have another fire followed by bed. This is how much room MacGyver took up!
|Posted by Jamey on November 24, 2017 at 9:10 AM||comments (0)|
Slept much better the second night and felt so nice to rest our bodies. Both Ragged and I had very sore hips when we woke up and it hurt to put the packs on but we had to make it to our next camp so off we went.
We were starting to get our trail legs and even though we were sore we could tell we were getting stronger. We also had an order down that worked pretty well. Ragged led, followed by MacGyver and I would be last. This worked great cause I could keep an eye on my dog to make sure he was doing ok and that he wasn't wasting energy by running off into the woods.
Months ago I was very concerned that this might be too much and too hard for MacGyver and was debating if I should bring him or not. With proper training it would be fine for him but without it, he could struggle. I was happy when my ex said she would help train him beforehand and walk him more each day (and I’m sure he was happy too!).
So far, he was exhausted by the end of each day but was doing well. I was especially worried about his paws so kept a close eye on them. That’s a long ways to walk barefooted.
Along the day today we ran into Jeremy and Vanessa. They are married and we stopped at a creek with them and chatted for a bit. They had spare food and gave us some delicious dried mango.
Continued on and the rest of the day was pretty uneventful until we made it to Hazel Campsite. We were both so ready to call it a day so we setup camp and gathered firewood. And a fire we had. A huge one in fact!
Drank the rest of our fireball we had left and eventually made it to our tents for some zzz's.
|Posted by Jamey on November 24, 2017 at 12:50 AM||comments (0)|
Saturday, Sept. 10th, 2016
I didn't sleep that well as I was tossing and turning all night. Plus MacGyver took up a lot of my sleeping pad and tent…he’s a big dog! It was about 8:00am and Allie & Pop were cooking breakfast.
Chatted with them while we made breakfast and packed up our stuff. By about 9:30am we were ready to roll so we said goodbye to them and hit the trail...our first full day.
Free bone snack for MacGyver found on the trail.
We made it to the highest point on the trail which was pretty uneventful as there was no view. But further on we were awarded with some great views including our first time being able to see Lake Superior.
Considering it was our first day we were both doing pretty well and would take a break every 40-50 minutes. Decided to not overdo it the first day and decided to setup camp at Woodland Caribou Pond Campsite.
There were 3 brothers already camping here but we didn't (couldn't) go any further so found 2 ok spots for our tents. They already had a fire going so that was a bonus. Played some bocce ball, filled our water from the beaver pond...filtering it of course, made dinner, drank and sat around the fire talking with the three bros.
Yes we drank water out of this pond!
Turned out to be a pretty fun night but I eventually fell asleep on my sleeping pad around the fire (due to being exhausted and a bit drunk) so soon after I crawled into my tent.
|Posted by Jamey on November 24, 2017 at 12:15 AM||comments (0)|
Friday, Sept 9th, 2016
Wanted to wake up early to organize my stuff but since we didn't fall asleep until 2:30am I slept until 9:00am. Was so nice to have more than 5 hours of sleep. Organized a bit, left some booze at the trailhead and went to do another food drop...hopefully faster and smoother than last night.
Found the trailhead and went looking for a branch. Didn't take too long to find one and about half an hour later it was hung and we were on our way. Stopped and grabbed a cappuccino and continued to our next food drop.
Decided to do another booze drop along the way and then went to the trailhead of our third drop. Wasn't easy finding a good tree and branch but eventually found one, hung our bag, left some beer and booze, and back on the road. It was almost 2pm and we hadn't eaten anything so we decide to get a nice big ol' meal at a cafe in Grand Marias...our last one for the next couple of weeks.
We had one more drop to do and it was starting to get late in the day so we rushed to get er done. Again, it took a while to find a good branch but found a nice dead tree that was leaning so used that. Continued driving but now we were out of liquor due to all the drops and didn't think there would be any more liquor stores. Just as we were about to turn off the main road we were in luck as there was one right there. Yay!
Bought some fireball and went to do our last booze drop. When we got there 15 minutes later we realized I had forgotten it on the counter so we had to turn around and go back to get it. Oops.
Did the drop and made it to the trailhead start! The weather was looking a bit dark and rainy so we hung at my van while we started packing our packs. It rained off and on and when we were about ready we decided to hike the bonus 1-mile spur trail which went close to the Canadian border and has a 270-degree view.
Sprinkled along the way but wasn't too bad. The views were amazing and definitely worth the extra hike especially since we left our heavy packs in the van. Hung out for a bit and it started raining so we left.
10 minutes into the walk back, we look up and not only see a beautiful rainbow but two beautiful rainbows! Pretty sure that was the universe telling us we were in the right place and it would be a great adventure. Since we were in the middle of nowhere with little people around, we could have been the only two who ever saw those rainbows. Crazy.
Back at the van I read thru my checklist to make sure we both had everything and grabbed a few things I forgot. It was 7:30pm now and getting dark but we only had 2 miles to get to our first campsite so let the adventure begin...with headlamps.
We brought with some beers for the hike and stopped every 15 minutes or so to share one. Bout an hour later we arrived at Andy Creek Campsite with a bit of a buzz. Two tents were already set up there and one of them had a dog in it. The girl inside decided to come out, say hi to us and let the dogs meet so he'd settle down.
Her name was Allie and she was with her dad aka Pop. She was very friendly and she even went to show us where they hung her food bag for bears. Talked with her for a bit and then she went back to bed.
We went to hang our food and when we saw her food bag again we both burst out laughing and couldn't stop. It was so funny cause her bag was just hanging on a small branch about 5 feet off the ground. Very easy for any bear or animal to get. Fucking hilarious! Although as a side note, we would actually get lazy and start doing this too. But for now, we wanted to hang ours properly.
Lost our rope in the tree trying to hang ours but used another rope to get er done. Then we went down to the bridge over the creek to drink and chill some more as we didn't want to start a fire and wake up Allie and Pop. Eventually made it to our tents and day one was over.
The end for people heading South to North, the start for people heading North to South.
|Posted by Jamey on October 27, 2017 at 12:20 AM||comments (0)|
Thursday, Sept. 8th, 2016
Slept for 3 hours and tried to get up and start driving again but it wasn't happening so I stopped and slept for another 2 hours. This means I would be late but I was already behind schedule so what's another few hours.
Tried making some of that time by speeding some more. My Waze works pretty good by other users reporting when they see cops so you know when they are coming. Well not this time as I cruised into MN as there was an officer hiding over a hill and got me doing 75mph in an 65mph zone. Oops.
When the cop came up, he asked if I knew the speed limit and I said maybe 70 as I was coming from LA and wasn't sure. He said only 65 and went back to his car. When he came back he said he just gave me a warning and told me slow down. I thought for sure he was gonna give me a ticket so I was a very happy boy.
You can see the cop car in my mirror.
Made it to Minneapolis and sure enough hit some traffic yet again. This road trip has just been one delay after another. Had to stop by REI to buy a few last minute things like hiking poles and when I went to check out, one of the guys said "Aren't you supposed to be hiking with Andy on the SHT right now?" Looked up and saw it was one of Andy's friends. Ha.
Hit some more traffic but eventually made it to my sister’s house. Only took 46 hours of driving and I still had 6 to go. Wowzers.
Had to pick up a few things I bought online and had delivered here including my rain cover for my backpack. It was nice seeing my sister, her husband and my nephew. MacGyver was so happy to be out of the van. He was running and rolling in the grass everywhere. He also went swimming in their lake.
I took a quick shower and unloaded a few things from my van as I didn't want to leave any expensive things in my van while it was parked for a few weeks at the trailhead. Said bye and I was off to meet Andy at the trailhead in Duluth.
He was there waiting for me when I arrived. It was already 7pm and we were waaaaaay behind schedule so he put his stuff in my van and we set off. Tried swinging by a liquor store but they were closed. Stopped by a grocery store for some last minute items and ate at Culvers.
Next came the challenging food drop. We had decided not to mail out food resupplies to post offices along the way. Instead we would go to trailheads and hang our food every 5 days or so.
Found our first spot and it was dark. Walked up the trail and down the trail but couldn't find a branch to hang it. We started walking the road and still nothing. Eventually after like 45 minutes we found something that might work.
It took a while to throw the rope up and over the branch but Andy finally got it. Tied our bags to the twine and started pulling it up. Snap! The twine broke. Fuck!
We were both starting to get annoyed and frustrated by this point as we had been trying for an hour in a half with no luck. We decided to try and use different rope and a different technique. Ended up getting it up by using 3 trees. Have no idea if it will still be there in 3 weeks...
So…2 hours later we were back on the road heading to another trailhead where we will do an alcohol drop and spend the night. We had planned to hike one mile in to a campground but it was 1am and so decided to camp in the parking lot. We hung out for an hour drinking beers and catching up.
|Posted by Jamey on October 26, 2017 at 11:35 AM||comments (0)|
Wednesday, Sept. 7th, 2016
My alarm went off 5 hours later at 5:30am as I wanted to get thru Denver before rush hour. After driving 30 feet I felt a thump thump thump and so I got out and saw I had a flat tire. Fuck.
I had two choices; call AAA and have them come out to fix it or put the spare on and drive to nearest tire shop. I chose the latter and regretted it a bit as I had to take a bunch of things out to access the jack plus it took me awhile to figure out how to get the spare tire off the bottom of my van as I’ve never had to use it before. I thought it was rusted on the bracket but turns out there was this secret hole that you had to put the tool in to unscrew it.
Once the spare was on I lowered the van and noticed the damn spare didn't have enough air in it. Luckily, I had a bike hand tire pump so I spent the next 15 minutes huffing and puffing to put enough air in it. All in all, it took well over an hour to change the tire and I was a little grumpy and tired.
Drove to the next town but by the time I arrived it was only 7am so no shops were open yet. Went to Walmart Tire Services and waited until they opened at 7:30. When they opened they looked at my tire and found a hole. They said they couldn't patch it as it was too close to the sidewall. They didn't have the same tire to replace it with so I called a couple shops and found one somewhere else so I made an appointment there.
I had an hour to wait so I decided to google how close to the sidewall can you plug a hole, and I found a thread stating that you can plug it pretty close but most of the big retailers won't do it cause of liability issues and they want you to spend more money and buy a new tire. The thread recommended going to a small hole in the wall shop and they would probably do it. Sure enough I went to a small shop and they fixed it so didn't have to buy a new tire. Yeah!
Sneak peak of what is to come! (photo by Chris Broste, http://www.cbrophoto.com/)
Back on the road after a 3-hour delay. Drove thru the beautiful Rocky Mountains and it was weird seeing them with no snow as I was here all last winter being a ski bum.
Made it to Denver just in time for rush hour. Drove up to Boulder to pick up a motorcycle windshield for my brother and then headed to my storage unit downtown. Dropped a few things off and tried finding a few things I needed but couldn't find my solar panel charger. Guess I'll just have to buy a new one. ☹
Lots more driving and in the middle of Nebraska my gps map app, Waze, said there was a 45 minute delay ahead due to the freeway being closed. I googled for more info and sure enough it was closed for maintenance. Damn it. I was already running way behind schedule and did not need this.
After looking at the map, Waze said it would be a bit faster to go north on county roads to another freeway in South Dakota so that's what I did. These roads were only 65mph but decided to go 80 as it was late and hardly anyone on the roads...hopefully including no cops. Made up some time until I got drowsy and pulled over to sleep at a gas station.
Ono more sneak peak of what is to come...(photo by Chris Broste, http://www.cbrophoto.com/)
|Posted by Jamey on October 24, 2017 at 11:25 AM||comments (0)|
Woke up bright and early so I could make it to LA around 11am and avoid as much traffic as possible. Still ended sitting in like an hour of traffic but got puppy dog and headed to my family friends house in Fullerton.
When I arrived they weren't home but they were kind enough to leave a key for me so I could get my stuff and take a shower. The shower felt so good since I hadn't taken one all week at burning man and I was so dusty and dirty.
Back in the van and headed towards Vegas where I hit some more traffic. Drove as far as I could before I was too tired to drive any further and pulled over at a rest stop for some z's.
|Posted by Jamey on October 24, 2017 at 9:25 AM||comments (0)|
Monday Sept. 5th, 2016
Let the adventure...aka 52 hours of driving to the start of the Superior Hiking Trail...begin. It all starts in Black Rock City at the last day of Burning Man (craziest and coolest festival I have ever been to) which they call Exodus. 70,000 people leave and all need to get onto a single lane highway…so the traffic is crazy…like 10 times worse than LA traffic during rush hour!. I ended up leaving at noon and it took 6 hours to drive 4 miles to get on the paved road from the salt flats of the desert. Crazy.
Now I was heading 8 hours south to LA to pick up my furry best friend, a golden retriever named MacGyver, from my ex's house in Hollywood. Kind of sucked that I would have to backtrack this as I pretty much had to turn around and drive back kind of the way I had just been. But I also needed to pick up my lost suitcase that had just been found and delivered to my unicycle family friends who lived in Fullerton…so I didn’t have much of a choice and had to just suck it up and drive.
I had used a shipping service called sendmybag.com to ship some of my stuff from PA to CA after performing at Musikfest. It should have arrived a week later but didn't turn up and I found out they lost it. I had over $5,000 worth of stuff in there including my Schlumpf Muni ($3,000 geared mountain unicycle) as well as my sleeping pad, camelback and my $400 custom made sleeping bag made to fit me perfectly. So I was pretty upset when they couldn't find it especially since I needed the last three things for the SHT. I was so happy when I found out they found it!
Drove until I got sleepy and pulled over and slept a couple hours in my home on wheels.
These were all the keys that were in the lost and found at Burning Man!!!
|Posted by Jamey on December 5, 2015 at 7:00 PM||comments (2)|
My alarm went off at 5am bright and early. Wrote in my journal until 5:30am and got up. Tried to be quiet while I was packing up to not wake anyone else up but Mike, the tour guide, was already up to get coffee and breakfast started. A few of the guys were out and about by the time I left at 6:45am, my earliest start yet.
I had decided to skip breakfast to save time and get rolling. Said my goodbyes and thank you's to whoever was up and left. The sun was just rising and it was pretty beautiful. Still a bit dark out but there was just enough light to see the trail.
I knew I had to ride 38 miles to finish today so had to keep a fast pace. I was happy that the first 8 miles were pretty flat and ride-able. It then started to sprinkle so I stopped to put on my rain gear and decided to cook up some peach crumble.
From here it rained off and on as I continued up for a bit eventually getting above tree line. The trail stayed above for a bunch of miles and it was pretty chilly but I kept pushing on. I wasn't going to let a little rain slow me down or dampen my spirits.
I made it to the top of my last big climb (or so I thought) and was happy. Stopped for a few seconds to take in the view and take a quick video and kept on moving to stay warm. I could start seeing the lake below and the trail was a bit too wet and steep to ride so ended up walking down most of it.
Met a lovely older couple doing a day hike. The guy has a website with 5,000 photos of wildflowers and they were very friendly. The trail-head and end of segment was just around the corner.
This meant I was about to start the last and final segment of the CT! Yahoo!!! 18 miles done for the day and 20.5 to go with most of it being downhill.
Smashed the first few miles and it was super fast, fun and flowy with a few technical sections. Made it down to Junction Creek which it followed for a mile or so. Then came the uphill...
On the map and elevation it didn't look like it would be that hard of a climb. But as I continued up it seemed to take forever. I eventually gave up for a second and took a nice snack break. I had been pushing hard today so I needed this.
Got some energy in me and made it to the top. Now it was 10 miles of all DH to the finish. I decided to crank up my music and see how fast I could do it and with the least amount of falls. After 6 miles I was totally spent. It was pretty technical in sections and took a lot of energy and concentration to stay on but I was loving it.
Was so happy when I saw Gudy's Rest. She is the one lady that not only came up with the idea of the CT but actually made it a reality. She kind of reminded me of that one lady that had given me that $20 back on my first day ever of street performing who changed my life forever. I want to personal thank Gudy for all that she has accomplished for without her there would be no CT and I wouldn't have been able to have the 21 day incredible experience that I just had. I think it's pretty amazing how just one person can change the world for the better.
Decided I would take my last break here soaking in the beauty of the entire CT and reflecting on the trail. Got a little distracted when I turned on my phone and saw I had service. It was 6pm so sent a text to my friend Amy stating I was 4 miles away and should be there soon. I also had a voicemail from a reporter of the Durango Herald so called him back and left a voicemail stating I would be at the trail-head around 6:30pm.
Said my thank you's to Gudy, the Colorado Trail and the Universe for keeping me safe and for letting me have such an awesome time. Then I was off for the last 4 miles, again mostly downhill.
The last few miles I stopped and put on one of my favorite songs on repeat, "Jubel" by Klingande. This made me not only go fast but put a few tears of happiness on my face.
Pretty soon I came around a corner and there it was. The finish along with Amy, her dog Ivy, a reporter and photographer. Wooooooo Hooooooo! I was officially done and the first person ever to complete the CT on a unicycle. That's something no one can ever take away from me.
The reporter asked a few questions but not as many as I would have thought. The photographer asked to take some photos so we did. The article made the front page of the Durango Herald and turned out to be a good story. Check it out here.
Now it was straight to Carver's Brewery where I knew a free ice cold beer was waiting for me. Several times along the trail different hikers told me that anyone that finishes the trail can get one free beer at Carver's. They have a beer called the Colorado Trail Nut Brown Ale so it's kind of fitting.
Once at the brewery, guess who was there? All the crazy nutty mt bikers that I had camped with the night before. They all congratulated me and it was fun running into then one last time.
I was still super stinky so decided it would be nice to go back to the hotel and shower before dinner so that's what we did. By the time we made it back to the brewery the bikers had left so it was just Amy and I.
This is what my feet looked like before cleaning up.
Ordered a big old burger and a few more beers. Delicious! It just happened that the MN Vikings were playing their first game of the season so as we ate and drank I watched the game. They ended up losing and the bar was closing so we headed back to the hotel where I slept like a king on a nice comfy huge bed.
A few days later Colorado Public Radio called me up and did an interview that turned out pretty well. You can listen to it here.
So in conclusion I would have to say this would be in the top 3 things I have ever done in my life. It was much more challenging than I had orginally thought, mainly due to all the elevation gain and loss. I was very lucky with the weather and it was nice being by myself with no distractions for 3 weeks. I learned a lot about myself and also learned to not only forgive people in my life that have hurt me but more importantly to forgive myself. I'm so excited for whatever my next adventure may be...probably spending the winter in Colorado being a ski bum! I want to thank anyone that has read my entire blog and made it to the end. It took me a lot of time to write this plus upload all the photos and videos (over an hour for each day...so that's like 21 hours!). Life really is all about love and laughter so get out there and enjoy life!
I will be posting more blogs in the future so please check back to see what I've been up to. Peace & Love -Jamey
|Posted by Jamey on December 5, 2015 at 12:45 AM||comments (2)|
When I woke up it wasn't too cold nor was my tent damp with condensation so that was nice. Made breakfast and hot chocolate while I sat and enjoyed the view. Two bow hunters walked over the bridge so I waved and they waved back.
Check out this video...probably my favorite video of the trip cause it was by far the coolest campsite yet!
Back on the trail it slowly kept climbing eventually dropping down into a cool little lake. Took a little snack break and kept on going.
I came to the last water supply for 22 miles so I stopped and filled my CamelBak with 3 liters and my water filter bag with 32 oz. Boy was it heavy. Don't think I needed that much but if I planned to make dinner and breakfast than I wanted to make sure I had enough.
When I passed a guy talking on his cell phone I was surprised he got service way out in the middle of nowhere. I decided to turn my phone on to see if I got service and sure enough I did.
Checked my emails and text messages. My mom had sent some text message asking me and my other family members if she should contact the ranger as they never received my morning check-in from my Spot GPS thing. She was starting to get worried and even Aspen Mike agreed that it was weird not to get a check-in from me.
I'm almost 100% sure I checked-in that morning but maybe I didn't hold the button long enough or maybe my Spot wasn't working properly. I checked and the tracking was still on so they should have been able to see I was up and moving along the trail. Anyways I immediately sent a text stating I was OK and continued on.
I came to the top of a hill and there was a huge group of mt bike guys camping. They took some photos of me and asked if I wanted a beer. I really wanted to go 8 more miles to camp but I figured one beer wouldn't hurt.
There were about 15 guys and they were all from the Bay Area in San Francisco. They had hired a tour company to shuttle them around the mountains and cook food for them. It was a pretty sweet setup.
They were curious about the unicycle so I sat around talking about it for a bit. One of the guys convinced me to take a tequila shot and peer pressure got the best of me. I decided to have one more beer and then hit the road.
Well, the tour guide, Michael Ackerman, wanted to do a radio interview for Bikepackers Magazine with me so I agreed and he recorded our conversation. Here is the interview if you want to listen to it...turned out pretty well especially since we all had a buzz going on! After we finished the guys said I should just spend the night and have dinner with them. Very tempting as they were a bunch of nice guys and I was having fun.
After another tequila shot and after the guide showed me a map and explained the rest of the trail to me (stating it was mostly downhill from here) I decided to stay. This would mean I have to do 38 miles tomorrow to finish but I thought it was mostly downhill and I've ridden the last 10 miles of the CT and know it's mostly ride-able and fast so I should be able to do it. I'll just wake up super early.
Set up my tent at mile 446.5 and then they had dinner ready. Chicken with koosh koosh, carrots and watermelon. Delicious! Was so nice that it wasn't dry food again.
As it got dark everyone moved around the nice big fire they had going. After a few more beers and a joint we passed around they decided to do some grease fire bombs in the fire. I've never seen this before but it was pretty cool. Just put a can full of grease in the fire, let it boil, add water and presto you have a big fireball. Did it several different times with one of them getting pretty big. A wee bit dangrous but sweet!
At about 9:30pm I decided I best go to bed as I wanted to wake up at 5:30am so I was on the trail by 7am. Said goodbye and goodnight to the fun group of guys. Also thanked them for the food, beer, shots and hospitality.
As I laid in bed I found it funny how the night had worked out. Originally I had thought all day that it was my last night camping so I would spend it alone with a small campfire by myself reflecting on my trip. Was totally opposite of that but I very much enjoyed their company. Plus I left out one of the best parts. They had s'mores for dessert which really hit the spot.
|Posted by Jamey on November 30, 2015 at 8:00 PM||comments (2)|
I wanted to get a super early start so that I could hitch a ride into Silverton ASAP to get my resupply box at the post office. I had no idea if they were open on Saturdays but was hoping. Alarm went off at 5:30am. Wrote in my journal for a bit and then got up.
Wasn't as cold as it usually is so that was nice. But when I got out of the tent one of my flip flops were missing. I had left it outside my tent with my shoes and water (CamelBak). I found it like 10 feet away next to a tree. Fucking weird. Freaked me out a bit and couldn't figure it out. I had ran out of breakfast food so skipped eating and just packed up and left.
As I started hiking, when I went to take a drink of water from my CamelBak, I noticed the entire end of the bite valve was chewed off. WTF? OK now I know why my flip flop was moved. Some critter came last night and moved it and chewed off my bite valve. Don't know what it was but guessing a mouse, rat, chipmunk, or squirrel. That bastard.
It was about 4 miles...all uphill...with 2,000 feet elevation gain to the highway. Wasn't too bad until the last mile as I could see the road but it kept following it and didn't get closer to it for ages.
My thumb went up when I reached the highway and about 15 minutes later a nice couple stopped and picked me up. They were from Durango and just getting away for the weekend as there was a big bike race down there. They were heading to Silverton to go hiking. Thanks for the ride guys, much appreciated.
They dropped me off at the only bike shop but they weren't opened yet. I checked the post office and was happy to see they were open on Saturdays but only from 11am-1pm. It was 10am so I decided to get a coffee, go to the bathroom and check emails.
Found a camping store and bought a new bite valve for my CamelBak then headed back to the bike shop. Still wasn't opened so I called and talked to the owner. As I was talking he pulled up in his car. Unfortunately he didn't have the brake pads I needed either. Damn it. Guess I'll be using what I have and hope it makes it to Durango. I would say the brakes are working at a 75% rate. Better than no brakes.
Went to the post office and picked up my resupply box plus another bonus box that was from my friend Amy. She had surprised me with my favorite candy bars, homemade cookies, chips, a beautiful card that said congrats you are almost there, and a bunch of other goodies. You're the best Amy, thanks
Went to the Golden Block Brewery to have a pizza and a Not Your Dads Root Beer before heading back to the trail. While here I repacked my backpack and sent out a press release to Durango and Silverton newspapers. I sent an email to my mom asking if she could send the press release to more places but she wrote back saying she was taking tests for real estate license all week and didn't have time. I asked her to find someone that could do it as I had to get back on the trail as I was behind schedule. Hope she found someone...
The train was just arriving in town when I left the restaurant so I rode by it and took a few photos. Of course some of the tourists took photos of me too.
Stopped at the liquor store for a small thing of Fireball for when I got to camp. Then it was back on the highway with my thumb out. I was next to a gas station and a guy came over to take my picture. I asked if he was going towards Durango and he said no but he could drive me the 6 miles up to the pass anyways. Awesome! Thanks dude.
Got dropped off and I was back on the trail by 1pm. Going to Silverton was a 3 hour delay but I needed to resupply. This meant I had missed 3 hours of riding so now I was behind schedule. Saw lots of bikers on the trail and talked to a few of them.
Kept on going and eventually had to do a #2. No toilets nearby so I had to go in the wild for the second time of the trip. Instead of logs, this time I made a toilet seat out of two rectangle rocks. Not the most comfortable but it did the job.
Finally made it over the pass and knew it was 3 miles downhill to camp. Was happy about that until I realized I had to walk most of it cause it was too loose and rocky. Bummer.
Passed two ladies camping and pushed on until I made it to Cascade Creek. It was beautiful. I explored the area and ended up finding a spot to put my tent right on a cliff overlooking the waterfall at mile 425.4. Definitely the coolest and scariest campsite of the adventure.
Had a smoke, set up camp, ate some munchies along with dinner which tonight was buffalo chicken. Spicy but delicious! Washed it down with Fireball and just laid back and watched the waterfall and the stars as they slowly starting appearing. Wow. Just beautiful and amazing. Just when I didn't think it could get any better...it did.
It wasn't that cold out so I just laid there enjoying the view. It really was magical and when it got dark out I decided to go thru all my photos of the trip and have a little slideshow while deleting the bad ones. Was super cool going back to the start of the trip and remembering the entire adventure day by day.
Once I finished it was nearly 10:30pm...one of the latest nights I stayed up...so decided I better get some sleep. Crawled into my tent, set my alarm and fell asleep to the relaxing sounds of the waterfall.
|Posted by Jamey on November 30, 2015 at 7:00 PM||comments (0)|
When my alarm went off it was way too cold to get up. Thought I hit snooze but accidentally turned it off. This meant I kept sleeping until the hot sun heated up my tent and woke me up. The first time I was actually warm when I got out of the tent!
It was 8am and I was behind schedule. I wanted to leave by 7:30am so that I could try to ride the 30 miles to the highway which would take me to Silverton. Hurried and hit the trail at 8:30am.
Today there were lots of ups and downs. Nothing huge but it added up over time. Plus the trail was either too rocky or bumpy to ride so walked a good chunk of it.
Passed right next to a big patch of snow so had to stop, took some photos and made a snowball. I only saw one guy today running the opposite direction and one family towards the end setting up camp.
Today I thought a lot about my current lifestyle and how I'm currently homeless. Well I take that back. I do have a home it just has four wheels (plus a few unicycles) so I can take it anyway. It's a Chevy Astro Conversion Van and I absolutely LOVE IT.
My dad found it for me a few months ago for super cheap, only $1300 and it had low mileage, 83k. The catch was it had front end damage. But my dad is an expert auto mechanic and has his own shop so he helped me fix it and make it new again. Only $400 in parts, paints and lumber to make a bed in the back. $1700 all up for a house is a pretty damn good deal if you ask me especially since our rent in CA I was paying was $2500 a month.
Originally my friends kinda made fun of me that I was living in a van. But I had to travel a lot over the summer to work at different festivals and it worked out slick plus I saved so much money not having to pay rent nor having to pay for a hotel.
Personally I love this van more than anything right now. I think it has to do with the freedom it brings. I can literally go anywhere I want with it. Do I want to van camp in Yellowstone, Yosemite, Joshua Tree or the Grand Canyon? OK. Do I want to go to Canada for a month to work? Sure. Or go visit family and friends in MN? On my way. Freedom is priceless. It reminds me of this adventure and how every day I'm in the middle of the mountains and free to go wherever I want.
So a few answers to some questions you may have... I always make sure to go to the bathroom before parking and going to bed. This way I never have to go during the night and when I wake up I just find a local coffee shop to get a cappuccino and use their restroom. Worst case I use a wide mouth Gatorade bottle for wee wee. WiFi is free at public libraries and most coffee shops or restaurants.
I haven't had any issues with finding a place to shower. I know a lot of family, friends and unicyclers so I usually know someone in town who lets me use their shower. Some festivals have free billets or the organizers help me out. Then there are always other options like public or hotel swimming pools, 24 hour gyms, lakes, rivers, oceans, truck stop showers, etc.
Where do I park? Anywhere I want to as long as the street signs don't say anything about no parking. The van doesn't look like a camper van so it doesn't look obvious that anyone is sleeping in it. I usually just park on residential streets and make sure not to stay in one place more than a few days. I also park in parking lots. Walmart's are the best as they encourage it as they know campers will go inside to use the restroom and end up buying food or supplies. Some of them even have free WiFi in the parking lots!
So ya, I thought a lot about my lifestyle and how happy I am at this moment. I love my job and I kinda like the fact I don't have to pay rent as my house is on wheels. I'm sure it will get old and I'll get sick of it sometime in the near future but for now it works. Reminds me of one of my favorite quotes: "Not all those who wander are lost" -J. R. R. Tolkien
I eventually made it to the huge downhill. Nearly 4,000 feet in 9 miles. I was so looking forward to this part as I thought I could just cruise down and it would be a lot of fun. Not.
Turns out it was beautiful but way to steep, loose and rocky to ride. Huge let down but at least I didn't have to climb up it. This slowed me down and I knew I wouldn't make it to the highway before dark. So I took my time and tried to enjoy the journey.
Along the way I came around a corner and scared this huge animal that ran away. I'm not 100% sure what it was but I think it was a moose without a rack if there is such a thing.
Seemed like it took ages to reach the bottom but finally made it to the railroad tracks and Animas River. There were campsites nearby but I didn't want to drink water from that river due to a big mining spill a month ago so I kept going to the next stream.
Filled up my water and went a bit further until I found a kinda flat but a bit rocky area to put my tent at mile 406.3. It was almost 8pm and by the time I was eating dinner it was dark. I could see the stars which was cool but it's a bit scary being outside in the pitch black so I made it into my tent as soon as I could.
|Posted by Jamey on November 29, 2015 at 1:10 AM||comments (0)|
It was so nice waking up warm and in a bed. It wasn't nice sleeping with people who snore. But it was totally worth it and I loved that I didn't have to pack up a wet tent.
John was up as well as another guy who was hiking the CT. We asked if he needed a ride to the trail and he said that would be much better than trying to hitchhike. I ordered a breakfast bagel and cappuccino from the coffee shop next door and we loaded our stuff into Hannahs' car.
Up we went to the Spring Creek Pass. It was really nice having some real food and caffeine to start the day. Once at the trail head both me and the other hiker gave John $20 each to fill up her car with gas and buy a beer. The other guy was going the other direction so said our goodbyes.
There was a toilet at the trail head so I made sure to take advantage of that before heading off on the trail. Met some hunters along the trail and talked with them for a bit. Kept going and about 10 miles into the ride my brake started to make a funny noise. Shit.
I stopped to take a look. Took it all apart and spent an hour trying to fix it. I ended up have to bend the spring and I used one of my old pads and one John had modified. These two had the most brake pad material on them. So I kinda fixed it but they weren't super grippy. Guess it'll have to do until I get to Silverton.
Had to break out the first aid kit for the first time for the injury I got yesterday.
While I was working on it a lady hiker passed me and we chatted for a bit. She continued on and I eventually caught her. We ended up talking and hiking together for several miles. It was actually nice having someone to talk to. Then we made it to the highest point on the CT! Woo hoo!!! Plus there was a huge Elk at the top so it was a pretty magical moment.
It was all downhill from here so said bye and off I zoomed. Wanted to go at least 6 more miles so I would be on schedule. I had been out of water for an hour or two so I was so happy when I saw the next stream.
Made it up and over a saddle and down to a small lake. On my approach there was this gigantic moose. He stared at me while I took photos. Was starting to feel a wee bit scared so I quietly kept going around the corner where an older couple had set up camp.
I told them about the moose and said I was going to set up camp on the other side of the little lake at mile 380.2. While I was setting up I could still occasionally see that big ol' moose. Made me a bit uncomfortable but figured he wouldn't bother me unless I bothered him.
It started getting dark and super cold fast. So I hurried to set up camp, eat and lay down. Read more of my book and fell asleep.
|Posted by Jamey on November 28, 2015 at 11:25 PM||comments (0)|
Brrrrrrr. Another cold morning. Instead of my tent being wet this morning it was frozen. When I opened up the door little snowflakes fell down on me instead of raindrops.
Packed up, made breakfast and started climbing. Up I went until I got to where the sun was and it felt so nice to start to feel warm. Pretty soon I was hot so had to stop and take off my layers.
This was a pretty good day to not have brakes as I was either climbing or I was on the snow mesa which was flat but too bumpy to ride. Therefore I walked most of the 10 miles from camp to the highway.
Saw these cowboys and horses along the way...
Along the way I did try to ride a bit and had my biggest fall of the trip so far. I was riding in a deep rut and my pedal hit the side and I went flying off superman style. Did a roll and came to a stop. Laid there for a bit, caught my breath and slowly examined myself. Just a little bit of blood on my elbow and knees. Got up and my right knee was sore but not to bad so kept going. FYI the reason I had a pedal strike is cause I had the longer cranks on due to having no brakes.
Finally made it to the road where I stopped to hitchhike into town where hopefully there would be a bike shop to fix my brakes. Surprisingly it only took about 15 minutes for a nice guy to stop at mile 357.4.
When he got out I noticed he only had one leg. Thought it was funny that a guy with one leg was helping out a guy with one wheel. Along the way I asked how it happened and it was due to an avalanche accident awhile ago when he was a ski patrol.
His name was Cliff and he lived nearby. It was like a 20 minute drive into Lake City and we had nice conversation the whole way. He didn't know if there was a bike shop so I told him to just drop me off at the camping store and I would figure it out.
Inside the store I asked the gentleman working where I might find brake pads. He said my only luck would be one guy in town named John who had a small bike shop at his house. He gave me his number and I went across the street to the pay phone to call him.
The pay phone didn't work so I went to another store that had a free WiFi sign. Used Skype to call as my phone didn't have service. All I got was voicemail so left a message. As I was leaving a nice lady working at the salon named Bear started chatting with me.
I told her I was trying to fix my unicycle and she told me about John. I said I couldn't get a hold of him so she said she would try as she had his cell phone number. Sure enough he answered as he was out for lunch.
I talked to him and asked him if he had brake pads. He said maybe but no guarantees. I would meet him at his shop at 3pm. It was about a mile away and I had an hour to spare so I started riding thru town.
Decided to stop at the bank to get some cash out but when I looked at my balance it was practically down to zero. An automatic payment had came out for a storage unit I have in Australia for $150 along with a few other automatic payments. The only other card I had on me was my Canadian bank account where all of my money is in but my card wouldn't work back in Salida and wouldn't work here either. I had $16 cash on me and that was it. Fuck.
Decided to ask my brother in law and my friend Woody to see if they could squarecash me money ASAP. I was now running late so decided to head to the bike shop.
Found it and met John. He was probably the nicest guy I've met on the trip. So happy and cheerful. Unfortunately he didn't have the pads I needed but he had some old pads that he might be able to cut and modify to make work.
He spent well over an hour working on them and eventually they fit and worked. The brakes weren't 100% perfect stopping power but should be good enough as a drag brake and should get me to Silverton in two days where hopefully I could find new ones.
I asked him how much I owed and he said nothing. What?! He just spent his time working hard to help me and he wanted nothing. Wow. What a nice guy. I had to give him something. I pulled out my wallet and said I can pay with my card or I have $16 cash. He said just give me ten and call it good. I gave him $16 and said I wished I had more to give. I'll probably be sending him a thank you card with a gift card when I finish. If you are ever in Lake City and need a bike shop I strongly advise meeting John and checking out his cool little shop. It's called Lake City Bicycles and his number is (970) 944-0405.
Said goodbye and headed back to the bank. Luckily my bro in law and friend came thru and I now had $300 in my account. Thanks guys. You are lifesavers. Time to celebrate and get some food.
Decided to go to the Packer Saloon. They had free WiFi, beer and food. Everything I needed. While there I started talking to the beautiful couple at the next table. They were from Seattle and worked at Boeing. They were curious about my trip so we talked for awhile about it.
To my surprise when they got their bill they told the lady to put mine on theirs and paid for my burger and beer. What genuinely nice people. Thanks guys, I really appreciate it and promise to pay it forward.
Now it was time to decide if I should try and hitchhike back to the trail or spend the night. The beautiful waitress told me about the hostel in town and how they sometimes shuttle people to the CT for free so I decided to go there and ask.
Once there I met Lucky the owner. He was super chill and showed me around. He didn't shuttle people anymore as it was off season but gave me a number to someone that might be able to shuttle me. Called him but he couldn't do it either.
Loved the sign at the hostel. How cool is this? Based on the honor system. Wish more of the world be like this.
Decided to stay the night as it was only $25 and all the other people at the hostel were hikers and very friendly. Took a shower, set up my bed and went back to the bar for a nightcap.
Small town USA.
At the bar I sat next to the guy who worked at the camping store. Talked to him for awhile and when he left I decided to buy his beer for him for helping me out today. Plus I wanted to pay it forward for the couple that had bought me dinner.
John, one of the hikers staying at the hostel came in so we sat around the bar drinking and telling stories. Good times for sure. Such a nice guy with lots of cool stories. I could totally see us being friends if we lived near each other. He was also hiking the CT and has a blog. Check it out here: www.bumblingabout.com
Towards the end I asked Hannah, the waitress, if she wanted to make $20 by waking up early to drop me off at the trail. She said she wasn't an early morning person but that we could use her car. What?! Are you telling me she was willing to give two strangers she had only known for an hour the keys to her car?! Yup. That's exactly what she did. Wow. Three fireball shots for all of us on me.
Turns out that John was taking another day off so he could drive me to the CT in her car the next morning. Weird how things just work out sometimes. I wasn't planning on stopping in Lake City but I'm so glad I did. It's a beautiful place and I will be coming back someday in the future for a holiday getaway. One of the highlights on my trip for sure. And so unplanned and unexpected. Plus it restored my faith in humankind. I had so many nice people help me out...the one legged guy, the camp store worker, the salon lady, John the bike shop owner, my brother in law Mark and friend Woody, the Seattle couple, Lucky, Hannah the bartender and John the hiker. Thanks a million. I have some pay it forwarding to do now.
|Posted by Jamey on November 28, 2015 at 11:15 PM||comments (0)|
Waking up in the morning is always the worst and hardest part of the day. Cold and everything is damp. Today was no exception. But I wanted to get an early start as I had a lot of climbing today and would be above tree line for a good portion of the day.
Was packed and on the trail by 8am so off to a good start. 3 miles in at a trail-head I saw a toilet. Wasn't in my data book but I'll use it anyway. Filled up my water and continued on.
I love signs like this as it means unicycles are OK because legally in Colorado a unicycle is not considered a bicycle.;)
From here it is was 9 miles all uphill with almost 3000 ft of elevation gain. It was slow going as some of the terrain was rocky and muddy. I finally made it to the top around 1pm.
Along the way I was passing a bunch of pine trees that were dead but all still standing...thousands of them. Really weird but it's due to beetles that have been a problem in this area.
The views at the top of the pass were incredible and I now saw what was to come. Lots of mountains all above tree line with several passes. I was only a mile away and 1000 feet of taking a side trail to the top of a 14er. Was tempted but opted not to as I needed to stay on schedule.
Down I went into these beautiful treeless Rocky Mountains. Then up and over another pass where I could see more of what was to come. Back down and up another pass. The views were great but the climbing was starting to wear me down.
By the time I made it down to the end of the segment my brakes were making a funny noise. I stopped to have a look. I'll admit that disc brakes are totally new to me and I have no idea how they work or how to adjust them. Probably should have did some research before I left.
I actually had new double hole KH cranks 110/137's that I wanted to install before I left but I didn't have time. My friend Amy brought them with when she met up with me but I was too afraid of messing something up and having to ride brake-less that I decided to not put them on. If it's not broken don't fix it, right?
So after looking at them I was pretty sure my brake pads were worn and it was pretty much metal to metal. I took out a screw and the pads came out. Sure enough that was the issue. #$%%#$$$#@&*#@!%$
Of course it didn't even occur to me to bring spare pads as they were brand new when I started but I guess with all the downhill I've been doing they don't last long.
Looked in my book for the nearest town. It will have to be Lake City but that's not until the end of the next segment...15 miles away. Oh well. Looks like I'll be doing it old school style without brakes. Aspen Mike would be proud.
I had another big climb up and over another pass so I did that. At the top I decided to switch my pedal holes from 137mm to 165mm as this would give me more leverage and stopping power.
Tried riding down a few sections but was way too steep and bumpy especially without brakes. I realized just how much I depended on my brakes and how much easier they made the downhills. My legs are strong for climbing but are weak for stopping.
So I ended up walking most of the downhill. A bit frustrating but to be honest I don't think I could have rode much of it anyways even with a working brake.
Up until now I hadn't seen one person all day. Would today be the day I go without seeing anyone? Nope. Soon I passed a lady camping and then a couple hiking the opposite way. I also saw a bunch of these animals.
Then I saw a tent setup near where I set up camp for the night at mile 346.6. Made some chicken BBQ rice, hung food and by now it was getting pretty cold out so crawled into my warm sleeping bag. Read some of my book and it was lights out.
Trying to dry my tent and some of my other gear.
|Posted by Jamey on November 24, 2015 at 12:30 AM||comments (0)|
Woke up at 5:30am as I had to catch up for two days In my journal. Laid in bed writing until 7am. I could hear most everyone else was already up and moving. Ate my breakfast skillet and the group left camp around 8am. I had to finish packing and left 20 minutes later.
I figured I would catch them in no time but it took much longer than I thought. They are fast hikers. An hour into the trail I eventually caught up to the group while they were resting at the top of a hill. I said my goodbyes and took off down the trail.
Half an hour later I look back and one of the guys, Paul, was right behind me. Wtf? How did he catch me when I was riding a good chunk of it? Turns out he was running the whole thing. So we played leapfrog for a bit. Him passing me on the up hills and me passing him on the downhills.
I stopped to rest and fill up water but he continued on. I caught him again just at the trail head where his car was parked. Still can't believe Paul ran for the 10 miles and was able to keep up with me. Said adios and kept going on the trail.
A few miles in I saw Wendy so stopped to talk with her for a minute. She had woken up extra early and left camp before 7am. Said adios to her and kept going.
The trail eventually became really flat and fast to ride. I was cruising and making great time. Mile after mile I could keep riding and had to walk very little.
So by now I had a little turtle head sticking out and had to do a #2. I looked at the data book to see if there were any toilets coming up but it didn't look like it for at least another day or two. Guess it's time to put the trowel to use. My first time not using a toilet since I started the trip! The suspense is over. Sorry guys. I knew you all were wondering if I could do the entire trip with never having to use my trowel.
Found a nice log and I was able to make a toilet seat out of sticks. Worked out pretty slick until I heard the sticks start to crack. Luckily they didn't break all the way thru, even though that would have been pretty funny, as that would have sucked.
Came up over a hill and there were fields as far as the eye could see. This meant I could keep cruising for a few more miles on 4x4 roads and some regular dirt roads. I was happy that it was cloudy otherwise this part would have been super hot with no shade and no water nearby.
Eventually made it to the stream that had water and where I would camp for the night. The book said there were several good campsites as the trail followed the stream upwards for a few miles so I would stop when I found one.
The first one was taken by two tents but I didn't see any people around so kept going. The second one had a tent set up but no one around, maybe already in bed?
Then I came to a section of the trail that crossed the stream on a log bridge. Only problem was there wasn't any bridge. Only a small waterfall where the bridge used to be. Hmm. How to get across....I decided to go upstream a bit where it looked a little shallower. Took off my shoes and waded across. The ice cold water and round rocks felt good on my sore feet.
This is what it looked like almost every day when I took my shoes off. Lots of shit in my shoes...
Once across I kept going until I made it to mile 327.1 where I made my camp. Over 34 miles today! I like days which I can ride the majority of the trail. Watched another amazing sunset while eating mac and cheese. It was getting dark so finished setting up tent, hung my food and went to lay.
|Posted by Jamey on November 23, 2015 at 11:50 PM||comments (2)|
Wanted to do a lot of miles today so I woke up early and was on the trail before 8am. Was a wee bit chilly but dressed warm. My fingers were exposed though and those got pretty cold. Eventually it warmed up and I was able to take off layers.
A few miles in I understood why they call the Rocky Mts the Rockies. The trail had rocks everywhere. Big ones, loose ones, small ones, sharp ones, slippery ones, round ones...so much that I spent most of the day walking even on the flats and downhills. And if it wasn't rocky it was wet, muddy and slippery. One of my least favorite riding days thus far.
I came across a dozen or so people working on the trail. They were moving some of the rocks to try and make it more bicycle friendly. I thanked them for their services and kept on riding...I mean walking.
Saw a huge skeleton of a big animal...either an elk or maybe a cow.
Then I came behind a lady and her son hiking. I tried to be loud so I didn't surprise them but they didn't hear me until 10 feet away. The lady turned around and let out a scream. The kid hid behind the mom. Sorry I said. Didn't mean to scare you.
We talked for a bit as we continued hiking. A downhill section came that was actually rideable so said goodbye and off I went. Didn't last long as it started hailing. Yes hailing! So I had to stop and put on rain gear. The lady and son passed me. I had a snack and waited a bit before going on. Tried riding but slipped and had a good superman fall so decided it'd be best to walk.
When I caught the lady again, she was with a backpacker named Aimee. She asked if I was heading and camping at razor creek. I said yes and that I might camp there. She said I should as there is a big group ahead of her that's camping there.
Along the way I saw a blue rain jacket on the trail so I picked it up hoping I would catch the person that dropped it. As I got to razor creek a couple were starting to walk uphill back on the trail. They asked if I saw the jacket and I said yes and gave it to them. They were so happy that I found it and they didn't have to backtrack several miles.
There were about 9 or so people here with tents up and a nice big fire at mile 292.8. I asked if I could camp with them and they said of course. It was starting to sprinkle and so I hurried to set up my tent and change clothes.
Sat around the fire making dinner and meeting my new friends. Most of them were only doing a few segments at a time, eventually doing all the segments but taking a few years instead of doing it in one go like Aimee, Wendy and myself.
When Aimee, the mom and son arrived everyone cheered. Aimee's knee had started hurting a few days ago so didn't know if she would make it to camp so everyone was happy when she did.
After camping by myself for 12 nights I will say it was super nice to have some company. Plus it was convenient not having to start a fire as they had a huge one already going. Some of them even gave me chocolate and other yummy snacks.They were a nice group of fun people and I hope to connect with them again somewhere down the line. Most of them are based near Denver and they have a meetup group called Trails and Ales so will look them up when I am based in CO.
After taking some group photos the group slowly started getting smaller as people went to bed. I was one of the last two around the campfire until it was just coals and time to hit the sack. This was the only night I forgot to take a picture of my tent set up at camp...but here is where it was.
|Posted by Jamey on November 21, 2015 at 12:50 AM||comments (0)|
Woke up but heard sprinkles so kept sleeping a bit longer. Finally decided to get up and was on the trail by 8:30am just a tad behind schedule. I decided to skip breakfast so I could make it to highway 50 where I knew I got reception so I could call my dad.
Rode the 2 miles I had already rode and made it back to the highway. Immediately called my dad and he answered. I asked him what was going on and he explained he had this weird bump in his side so he went to get it checked out. They did a cat scan and saw that it was just his intestine pushing against his stomach wall due to his past surgeries. Nothing to be worried about. Whew.
But they also noticed that one of the stents they just put in his leg was already starting to blot which isn't good. He has to go back in 2 days to talk to the doctor to see what his options are. We talked for a little longer about how my trip was going and then said our goodbyes.
After I hung up I thought a lot about my dad and all he's been through the last few months. He had an aneurysm and could have easily bled to death. Luckily he was at the right place at the right time, the car races, and there just happened to be a helicopter that flew him directly to the hospital. They stopped the bleeding but he had some serious surgery coming up.
Not exactly sure what he had done but I think it was a double bypass using frozen arteries. Before he went into surgery the doctor told us he had a 25% chance of either dying or losing his legs. Very scary but thankfully everything went well and he came out ok.
So as I rode I kept thinking about him, how much I loved him and worried about his health. This is when tears welt up on my eyes for the second time on my trip. I am so happy I've been able to spend some quality time with him lately. I spent a few days at his auto shop replacing my convertible top before his surgery, then he found my van for me and helped me fix it up as it had front end damage. I returned the favor and spent two days installing the ceramic tile in his new master bedroom/bathroom. It was ready to be installed a year ago but he couldn't do it cause of his bad knees so I was more than willing to help especially since I've installed tile a few times before.
So I kept riding up the road. Was pleasantly surprised to see a bathroom at a trail-head that wasn't marked in my data book. I was planning on trying to wait 14 miles until one but now I didn't have to hold it in which was great.
By now it was 10:30am and I had only gone like 3 miles. Not a great start to the day. Started getting hungry so stopped at a creek where I made lunch.
It was a long climb up above the tree line. Along the way it started raining so I had to stop and put on rain gear. Then the sun came out and I got hot so took it all off. Up at the top it was windy and cold so put more warm clothes on.
Stopped at a shelter to have a snack and it started raining again. Tried to wait it out but put back on my rain gear. All this stopping and going was slowing me down. Plus the trail was wet, muddy and slippery so I couldn't ride as much as I could've if it were dry. A bit frustrating.
I knew I wasn't going to make my 25+ miles today as I wanted to do so decided to stop at mile 270.0 where I saw a cool campsite overlooking the valley and mountains. Ate some gummy bears and made this turkey dinner that was by far the best dry food I've had. It was like turkey and vegetables in a gravy. Yummy.
Decided I would make a fire and with the help of Frito's I was able to get it going in no time. I noticed this nice area where I could lay my sleeping pad which overlooked the view. It was like having a lawn chair in this incredible place. I sat there just listening to music while watching the sky change.
This wasn't a normal sunset. It was out of this world. Even though I was looking east, the sun was reflecting off the mountains. Clouds everywhere, each a different color...white, blue, red, orange and all the shades in between. Looking west thru the trees the sky was this amazing purple. I seriously would have to say this would be one of my top three most magical sunsets I have ever seen. And I just happened to be at the perfect place and the perfect time. I even asked hikers the next day that camped nearby and they didn't see the sunset as they were in the valley.
So after enjoying the sunset and the fire, I decided this was one of my favorite nights yet. Time for bed. Sweet dreams.
|Posted by Jamey on November 20, 2015 at 11:45 PM||comments (0)|
I was planning on sleeping in but automatically woke up at 7am cause that's what my body is used to. Was a bit hungover but nothing a hot tub and some Advil wouldn't cure. Threw all my disgusting stinky clothes in the washing machine while I relaxed in the hot tub. My clothes smelled so bad that I had to put all of them in the closet the day before so they didn't stink up my room.
While the clothes were drying I decided to go find some breakfast. I could see McDonald's and so I started walking there but along the way I found a nice sit down restaurant that had real breakfast. Ham & cheese omelet it was.DELICOUS!
Found this store right next door....hmmmmm....
Got back to the motel and started to pack up as I had to check out by 11am. I couldn't find my gloves so figured I either left them at the gas station or in the Jeep. If I did leave them in the Jeep I was hoping they would have found them and might have dropped them back off at the gas station on their way back thru. Nope. They weren't there. Bummer. Guess I'll just have to buy some new ones.
Next stop was the post office to pick up my re-supply box I had mailed myself. Was happy to see it had arrived.
Now I needed to find a bike shop to try and fix my seat post. Stopped at a camping store to buy fuel and they told me to go to Sub Culture Cyclery just around the corner and so I did.
Here I met Jason who said he could fix it. Yay! While he worked on it I re-packed my backpack with all my new dry food and snacks. I also borrowed a file and used that on my jetboil to make it fit inside itself again after my little incident I had a few days ago starting a fire with it.
An hour later the seat post was fixed! Think it took Jason a bit longer than he thought it would but he only charged me $20. I tried giving $30 but he refused. I ended up putting a few dollars in the beer fund jar they had. Thanks Jason, you're da man! I highly recommend this bike shop if anyone is ever in Salida. Sub Culture Cyclery. I know I'll be back as I wanted to buy one of their hats but didn't have the extra space nor did I want the extra weight. (And I did go back and buy it, wearing it right now actually!)
I rode down by the river to check it out and feel like a tourist. They had modified it to make it a kayak park with rapids and obstacles but just two kids on boogie boards were playing around in it.
Next came a coffee shop where I ordered a yummy cappuccino and used the wifi to do some work emails. I also set up a fundraising page with the ALS association for the muni ride I am doing on the CT. If you read my day 6 blog you will understand why I decided to help raise money for ALS.
While at the coffee shop I met some backpackers that came in. We talked a bit about the unicycle, gear that we used and how our experience was so far.
I also met a young girl that came up to me. She said that she had the exact same muni as me. She said a lady who has ridden the continental divide trail gave it to her. I knew this lady as I had followed her blog when she rode it a few years ago. She is the one that gave me the idea for doing the CT and I believe her name was Gracie.
The girl and her mom said that Gracie lives in Salida and asked if I wanted to meet her as they had her number. I would have loved to but didn't have time as I had to get back on the trail. If I had known earlier I would have defiantly tried to meet up with her.
Saw this old unicycle at a bike shop in town.
I went back to the bike shop to take a photo and to buy some new gloves. They didn't have gloves with wrist support like the KH ones I had so I had to just buy a regular pair. Guess I'll just have to be a bit more careful while riding.
While there I met the local muni rider. He was an older guy and we chatted for a bit. He asked me about the new KH zero flat seat and told him that I loved it and would recommend it for muni.
The bike shop told me I should go to the distillery that was right next door so I went to check it out. They only made gin and whiskey but they did have bloody mary's so I decided to have one. It was a cool little bar and the workers were very nice and friendly.
Next I headed to the Boathouse which was a restaurant on the river. I ordered another bloody and a big ol' BBQ bacon burger. Had a table overlooking the river and everything was perfect. Was feeling so good that I even decided to take a Irish Car Bomb in honor of my friend Prinkki.
I started talking to the lovely couple next to me. They were from Tulsa, OK and so I told them I was just there performing two months ago. I had to show them the photo I got from there with me on my 12 foot unicycle with fireworks going off in the background. Such an amazing photo.
Now it was time to try and find a ride back to the trail. I wanted to stay another night in Salida. It was such a cool town and I had a hard time leaving the restaurant but it had to be done. I ordered an Irish car bomb shot for the rode (in my friend, Prinkki's, honor) and left.
The motel I was at said they shuttled people to the trail for $20 so I headed there. When I arrived she said it was too late as she had to stay to check people in. Bummer. I called to see how much a taxi would cost and it was $40-50. Guess I'll just have to try and hitchhike.
Maybe I'll get lucky as I saw this rainbow along the way!
Started riding up the road a bit to get more out of town and passed a liquor store. Decided to buy some fireball to keep me warm once I got to the trail (and keep my buzz going). The guy working here was one of the guys that was also working at the bike shop.
I asked him if he knew any friends that would want to make 20 bucks. Sure enough he asked the guy behind me buying 4 tall Mickeys and he said sure. He lived up that ways anyways. Crazy coincidence.
This guy drove a pickup truck and was quite the character. By far the most interesting person I've met on the trip. His face looked like leather with lots of wrinkles. He was older and I knew he had stories to tell. He said he was going to take the back roads there as he didn't like driving on the main one. I'm assuming it was cause he was either high or drunk...or maybe both.
Along the way I asked him about his life. He moved to Salida in 1979 and loved it. He used to be a ski patrol and had gone thru a divorce. He was a fun guy to talk with. When we got to a dirt road he asked if it was ok to crack a beer and offered me one. I declined as I had my fireball.
Because he didn't want to drive on highway 50, he went up a dirt road and dropped me off where the CT crossed it. I recognized it as I had already ridden this section yesterday. Guess I'll be riding 2 miles of the same section again. At least it was mostly downhill.
Said goodbye to him and then checked my phone as I had a new text. It was from my aunt LuAnn saying my dad was back in the hospital, something to do with the bypass surgery he had two months ago. I tried calling my dad to see what was going on and to see if he was ok but got voicemail.
It was nearly 8pm and getting dark. I walked, as I was a bit too tipsy to ride a half mile into the trail looking for a place to pitch my tent. Passed two bikers who were setting up camp and then found a nice little spot.
Set up my tent at mile 251.6, had some fireball and went to go to bed. I decided not to hang my food as I couldn't find any good trees plus I knew the bikers were camped nearby. Don't know if it was cause of worrying about bears or my dad but I had a hard time falling asleep and even when I did I kept waking up all night. Not the greatest sleep.
|Posted by Jamey on October 28, 2015 at 8:00 AM||comments (0)|
Turns out that today would be the most miles I would do in a day at least so far...36.4! I knew when I woke up that I had to do this many in order to make it to the highway that would take me to Salida, my halfway point and resupply town. I really wanted to get there so I could get a room at a motel, take a shower, soak in a hot tub, drink a beer and have a delicous burger. So I woke up as soon as it started getting light out and was on the trail by 7:45am. My earliest start yet.
I knew that there were three climbs I would need to do but none of them seemed that big on the elevation map. The rest of the day would be flat or downhill. The first climb was right away and wasn't too bad.
My iPod was dead but my phone still had some juice. I decided I didn't want to go all day without music so I chose to listen to music on my iPhone instead of using my Cyclemeter app to track me as I know that uses a lot of battery and I didn't want my phone to run out.
Then I came to the section where you follow a road for 6 miles. It was all downhill and I passed Princeton Hot Springs Resort and Pool. It looked so nice and I was tempted to stop. If I had a spare day I would have but needed to keep going.
The second climb came next and it started sprinkling on the way up. At the top I put the rain cover on my pack as it looked like it was going to downpour soon. It held off for awhile as I cruised along at a great speed along the flats.
Then the rain came. Quickly put on my rain jacket and pants. It was coming down hard but I continued on. It slowed me down a bit but I was happy that it only rained for about half an hour. Took off my gear and cruised along for awhile while thinking more about God.
Thought of the day: One of the Ten Commandments is thou shall not kill. So does that mean everyone in an army cannot be Christians? Or if they are then they are hypocrites? And what about animals? Is it ok to kill them for food? Is there an asterisk somewhere in the bible that says *except for enemies and animals? And if there is what defines an enemy? Anyone could say anyone is their enemy and kill them and that would be ok? But if that were the case than why even have that as a commandment cause then it would be ok to kill anyone (as long as you say they were an enemy)?
Anyways, I came to the third and last climb of the day. Still had 5 miles left and it was 4:30pm so knew I should be able to make it to the highway. Of course the last climb of the day is always the hardest and slowest but I pushed thru and made it. I really wanted to get to town now and could taste that burger and beer so rode extra fast.
The last few miles seemed like the longest miles but eventually I saw Highway 50! I was now officially over halfway done at mile 252.5. Hip hip hooray! I felt incredible, happy, excited and super pumped.
It was 7pm and now it was time to try and hitchhike. I've actually never done this before and was a bit scared but not too much. Out my thumb went. The road wasn't super busy but cars flew past without even hesitating to stop.
As I waited a deer and two babies started to cross the road. Mom went first and then the others followed. I had to stop a car that was cruising in the other direction to make sure they didn't get hit.
It had been 30 minutes now and I didn't think anyone would stop. I googled to see if there was a taxi in Salida that I could call. There was but I decided to wait a bit longer. Good thing I did as a Jeep stopped soon after. I was soooo happy.
It was a couple who lived in Golden, CO who were hiking some 14ers. They were super nice but had the unfortunate accident of losing their car keys somewhere along the hike so when they got to the trailhead they were screwed.
Turns out that some other people were able to give them a ride to a Jeep rental place where they rented this Jeep so they could drive 5 hours to their house, grab spare keys, drive 5 hours back to their car, drop Jeep off and then drive 5 hours back. What a mission!
When they saw me standing there they figured that because people were nice to them by giving them a ride they thought they should pay it forward. Awesome!
They ended up dropping me off at a gas station as I still didn't know where I would stay. Ended up dropping me off at the perfect spot as when I asked inside where a cheap place would be, the lady said a few blocks up the road is the Circle R Motel. Sure enough it was only $75 and they even had a hot tub and laundry. Sold!
Think I need a shower?!
Got inside my room, plugged in my phone and spare battery then first things first. HOT SHOWER! Wow did that feel good. Scrubbed clean and put on my pajamas and cotton shirt.
Next up, burger and beer. Called two breweries to make sure they were still open as it was getting close to 9pm. It was a mile to downtown so I decided to take a taxi as I couldn't be bothered plus I wanted to get there before they closed.
Found one of them and just in the nick of time. They didn't have burgers but they did have pizzas so pizza and beer it was. Delicious.
They were starting to close so I walked over to the other brewery. They also had pizza and beer and was still a bit hungry so ordered some breadsticks. Yummy.
The taxi driver had told me about another cool bar that was open until late so I decided to chill there for a bit. They had free wifi so I was able to check emails for the hour or two while I sat at the bar. Once I finished emails I decide I was tired and drunk so time to go back to the motel. I went to call the taxi but saw outside he was already waiting so hopped in and passed out in the comfy motel bed.