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Saturday, August 17, 2013

A Thin Air Adventure

Early in our trip, we wanted to go to a campsite that involves seriously rough 4 wheel driving. My spine can't handle rough driving. Our solution is for me to ride my bike via singletrack trails to meet the pack at the campsite. Thus, I do a "point-to-point" ride that goes far from any road.

Unfortunately, the morning of my point-to-point ride dawned cloudy with a very high threat of thunderstorms. These point-to-point rides normally scare me, due to how isolated I am during the ride. But, when you add storms to the mix, my fear goes into overdrive.

When I took the photo below, we still hadn't decided if I should "go for it" or not. I tried to focus on the pretty flowers rather than the early-morning stormy mountains.
We did the first half hour of the trail as a pack to assess the weather. The sky was gray but the beauty kept shining through.
After the half hour, I was still not sure what to do. Finally, I simply decided to go for it. I had good rain and warmth gear with me plus an emergency beacon. Despite my niggling worries about these point-to-point rides, I do love them, and I didn't want to miss out on a favorite.

Shortly after I made my decision to go for it, I found Northern Flicker's feather on the trail in front of me. For some reason, I felt convinced that it was K's way of sending me strength and courage for the day. I tucked it in my pocket, where it gave me strength all day long.

As I rode, I realized that, as long as I looked forward, the weather looked decent. I could even see some blue sky.
When I looked behind me, I tended to panic because the clouds threatened to engulf me.
So, I decided that I would not, under any circumstances, look behind me again. It worked! And, as I pedaled, I realized that it was a good metaphor for how to live life. Eagerly seek what's ahead of you but don't brood over what's behind you. That's easier said than done, I know.

After a couple of hours of pedaling, I was climbing up toward the highest point in the long ride, a pass over 13,000' high. The flowers were getting more beautiful as I climbed.
It's a long climb but, before I knew it, I was ever-so-slowly approaching the top of the pass, and blue sky still peeked through the not-too-threatening clouds.

I paused briefly at the top, gazing at the craggy peaks all around me before I started the rocketing descent from the pass. Actually, I didn't "rocket" for long because the flowers on the other side of the pass were awe-inspiring. I stopped to look at the hillside above me. Wow. Nature puts on quite a show!

So then, I had to stop and smell the wildflowers.
They were the best I've seen this year.
Alas, even though I was keeping my promise not to look back toward my starting point, I still worried about the storms behind me. And, I knew that I still had thousands of feet of climbing before I made it to our campsite.

So, I tore myself away from the flowers and continued the hard work of pedaling. The next section of trail was in the subalpine forest, with numerous creek crossings and technical trail. I plugged away, and I eventually emerged to this brand new view! I knew that I was almost "home" when I saw this.

I had paced myself reasonably well so the gargantuan steep climb up to our campsite didn't floor me like it has in the past. Indeed, I felt like I could've ridden further. That was a nice feeling for this old girl.

I pulled into camp to hear the excited welcome barks of our pups. I was so glad to see the entire pack, all safe and sound. Moreover, our campsite, bar none, has the best view of any I've ever stayed in.
So, I'd beaten the storms, which never exploded with their full fury that day. After arriving, I was able to laze around in the intermittent sun with the pack. I'd say that was an amazingly good day!

To top it off, the sunset left me speechless. This was one view of it... and I'll save the others for another post!
I learned that day that sometimes it's really worth pushing through your worries and going for it. I had one of my most memorable days of the summer because I found the courage to face what scared me.

PS Tomorrow is the last day to vote in the Trail Camera photo contest that I've entered. If you're interested, there is more info about my entry and how to vote in the last paragraph of a recent post. I am so grateful for your support!!!!


  1. You are one very courageous lady! But what a beautiful day you had. The photos are breathtaking.

  2. That picture of the meadow in bloom is amazing! Were there a million bees, hard at work? I hope so - it looks like Bee Paradise!
    Glad you persevered and had such a rewarding experience :)

  3. Spectacular photos for your journey today KB. Pushing through the nerves and foraging forward helps to strengthen your will. Those clouds were so similar to some hanging over the land here this week. Blue blue sky and white white clouds...I love this time of year.
    The sunset was the icing on the cake. I can see you, R, Shyla and the Runner standing there in awe!


  4. You are so much braver than I. I'm afraid to go walking alone in my little measly Staten Island woods, let alone bike solo through the Colorado wilderness. I mean, I guess the dangers are a bit different being in a city, but seriously.. good for you!

    I can't wait to get out and do some hikes this fall. Your pictures energize me! Seriously considering doing an over night trip and staying at a cabin or something with Marge and Louie, once Marge is healed up. October, maybe.

  5. You are so brave! I am glad you made it safe and sound. What an incredible sunset.

    Anne and Sasha

  6. You simply amaze me with the things you do. This kind of ride is certainly not the first, and yet you just get braver right along.

    The colorful meadow full of flowers is like nothing I have ever seen before, and am blown away by that too!

    Big hugs to you for all the lessons we are learning from you!

    Jo and the Petz

  7. Beautiful landscape pics, the sky photo is super. So glad you made it up all those hills . A wonderful place for you all to enjoy. Greetings from Jean

  8. Wow. I could learn a lot from you, I am sure. Yay to anyone who can conquer their anxieties.

  9. Incredible photos, incredible ride and, as you say, something we need to remember every day. So glad you had this special time away.

  10. Glorious photos. Good on ya for deciding to go for it. It was definitely worth it.

    XXXOOO Daisy, Bella & Roxy

  11. I'm hearing Bert's Vickie lecturing you about going out alone. I hope you were wearing blue! (You scare me!!)

  12. So great photos.. They could appear in the diary!:)

  13. Good for you, KB! You are awe-inspiring and so are your gorgeous shots!

    Love ya lots♥
    Mitch and Molly

  14. A lovely metaphor for life indeed. Ride into the blue, don't look back.

    Mango Momma

  15. Hi Y'all!

    Oh what a beautiful ride you had! Don't believe my Human and I have ever seen a sunset as spectacular as yours!

    Y'all come by now,
    Hawk aka BrownDog

  16. I am in awe of your biking ability and endurance! Especially in such thin air!

    How do you know what trails to follow and not get lost?

    What brand of bike do you use?

  17. You're right. That sunset is spectacular.

  18. Wasn't it Eleanor Roosevelt who said "do something every day that scares you" (or something along this line)? You certainly did - although you can't take thunderstorms in the mountains lightly (but you know that). I have to agree to your "look forward vs. look back", there is a lot of truth in this. Absolutely stunning pictures of the wildflowers!

  19. What an amazing place and ride! You continue to inspire, KB. The photos are spectacular, as always! Wildflowers, gorgeous mountains and skies, and beautiful sunset--wow!

    Susan and Wrigs

  20. KB, Your photos and tale of the bike trip are so good. I'm so glad you write for us because I'd definitely miss you if you didn't. What a tough ride girl and you did it! Since I got back from Alaska, I haven't been riding as much-which I definitely need to correct.
    Love the sunset!
    Hugs today,

  21. Lovely your landscape is.
    You have done a great job to take these Picture showing us all the Beauty.
    Thanks for sharing!

  22. How many times do we let fear stop us from doing things we love? Your adventure is a good reminder that we need to go forward. Nature rewarded you with all her beauty!

  23. An exhilarating ride with storm clouds chasing (but not catching you). Stupendous wildflowers so high up. We had below freezing in Breck Fri night but not long enough to kill my perennials - thank goodness. Will go vote now. Have missed you on my break!

  24. Wow!! Absolutely beautiful! You are lucky to be able to experience a place like that. Thanks for taking us along.


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