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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

A transformation

My morning bike ride mimicked the trajectory of my day as a whole. It started with incredible promise. K and I rolled out the door before sunrise. I rode my snowbike with energetic pedal strokes up to the sunrise lookout point. The traction on the snow was excellent, and K and I moved along at a decent clip.

We arrived up high to see alpenglow bathing the snowy mountains in a pink and gold hue. The sun hadn't yet crested the eastern horizon as you can see by the line of darkness in the foreground. K and I were still standing in the darkness.
Soon enough, the sun beamed over the rocky ridge to our east with a ferocious intensity. K had trouble keeping her eyes open as she faced it. The world seemed bright and optimistic. What a start to the day!
We climbed still higher on the sticky snow to view more of the Continental Divide. The snow conditions gave me amazing traction, and I pedaled with a confidence that I haven't had since the snow fell. When we arrived atop Hug Hill, a towering peak stood tall above the other mountains against a blue sky. The sun was warm on my face, and I removed a layer of insulating clothing. However, I spotted clouds that had been covering up the lower elevations oozing up the valleys and canyons towards us. Those clouds were the leading edge of a storm forecasted to bring us more than a foot of snow tonight.
As K and I rode, the world was transformed. The cloud bank whooshed over us, making the forest appear spooky. With the sun gone and the damp clouds enveloping us, I was suddenly cold. I stopped and donned all my layers again. K and I continued our ride, slogging through deep snow on a north-facing slope. It was hard work but we both had lots of fun exploring our now haunted world.
When I left K at home to ride a little more by myself, the clouds had transformed the previously sticky snow surface with a paper thin layer of ice over the snow. All of a sudden, staying upright was a tricky proposition. I focused all my mental energy on not falling and making it home in one piece.

What a contrast between the beginning and the end of the bike ride!

It is amazing how often my mountain bike rides mimic real life. Although I started my day with optimism, I felt lucky to still be standing by the end of it. There will be more on that saga another day.


  1. Makes me miss riding in Alaska :)

    Stop on by for a visit

  2. I'm glad that you were still standing at the end of the day! :) It sounds like you and K had quite an adventure today. You certainly had beautiful views, and I admit that I love seeing things a little spooky from time to time!

  3. looks gorgeous...the clouds in the trees
    Benny & Lily

  4. Those in coming clouds would have made me turn and run for home. But then I would have missed the mystical forest you rode through later.

    I am glad you are braver than me....

    But still.....Be careful.

    Bert's My Vickie

  5. I hear ya. So many times my day starts off with such bang, only to find myself holding on by end. And I had the reverse happen probably more so.

    Life is so funny that way.

    Glad you made it home OK.

  6. Great photo of K looking at the sky. Dogs have the ability to look at things afresh , as though they're seeing them for either the fiorst, or the last , time .

  7. Hi Y'all,

    We were traveling back to the shore yesterday and I was too tired when we finally settled in for the night to catch up on your adventures.

    What a beautiful sunrise.

    Y'all come by now,
    Hawk aka BrownDog

  8. We hope the storm today hasn't been too bad. We are glad you are still standing, let that optimism rule.

  9. Sounds like a wonderful day. Great photos. We just LOVE them. No worries, and love, Stella and Rory

  10. I hope there is not more bad news on the horizon. I think about you and your back often, especially now with the changing of the seasons reminding me of my own back.

    I took a road bike ride after the big one last week, and I think I must have experienced some of the same emotions you encountered in your spooky ice ride. My headlamp burned out before I got to work, so that didn't help.

    But then Monday came, and I made it the entire way with no ice! Yippee! Only two more months until the days start getting longer!

  11. Kia ora KB,
    I hope that last sentence isn't too onimous.
    The last photo moves me. I ove the thought of "getting lost" within it.
    I know I have many days in the mountains when I start out full of confidence yet at some point run up against my own flagging spirit. A cloudy wind swept ridge or a flooded river, or some steep climb or drop that shakes me a bit. Part and parcel I guess KB, cause I also think we get those days when it goes the other way, and we start out sagging in spirit but the wild somehow lifts out of it. That is what keeps us going. Kia kaha e hoa.

  12. It would feel so magical to go start the day by greeting the sunrise. It must be so very quiet.
    I know what you mean that things can happen and change so fast, and then its like racing against time to get to safety, and like you said be still standing.
    We understand. The photos are amazing. And of course beautiful K taking the moment in.

  13. Those last two pictures are breathtakingly haunting.

  14. Amazing how the fog makes everything look sinister. Glad you made it home safely.

  15. That forest photo does look spooky! I would imagine that conditions can change quickly in your neck of the woods.


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