Sunday, January 31, 2010

Northern Exposure: Day 1

I've just spent two of the most remarkable days on a bike that I have ever experienced. I'm still processing everything so the photos will have to speak for themselves. Also, I'm tired, have not done a bit of school work this weekend, and I really want to go off to bed.

I have to start off by thanking one person in particular because I believe that without her inspiration I truly don't think none of this would have ever happened. There are others who have also inspired me along the way the past two years, but Jill has been my primary source of inspiration.
You see, I stumbled across her blog about two and a half years ago, purely by accident. Since then I have followed it and her adventures on a regular basis. Upon first setting eyes on her Pugsley I new that at some point in time winter riding was going to be in my future. The future has arrived and Jill, I just want to say "Thank You!"
My Friday started by getting up at 4:30 a.m. to finish packing for the three and half hour drive north. Upon arriving at my folks home in Chisholm I unpacked, visited for a bit with my parents then dressed for biking, grabbed my backpack and headed north out of town to my starting point. I knew this was going to be a special weekend the minute I was out of town and heading north up Hwy. 73 . The forest was coated in a blanket of white due to an 8 inch snow fall earlier in the week and despite this fact I never expected to be greeted with the beauty before me.
I started off by heading east on a forest road that I hadn't been down in quite sometime. The riding was absolutely splendid and the ride "The Pugsley" made it that much more enjoyable. This bike is more fun to ride than any other bike I have ever ridden. Today's ride wouldn't come without some slogging. It was about a mile or so push down this unmaintained trail before coming out on to another maintained forest road.
I continued to head in an easterly direction keeping an eye on the clock as I had promised my folks that I would join them back in town for dinner.
It was at this point that I turned around and began the ride back towards where I had parked the car and started. Daylight suddenly began to fade fast as it does this time of year. Darkness settles in really quick at this time of year.
I was amazed at how well the bike handled and was delighted in my choice of gearing and the fact that I had chosen to build it as a single speed. I have said this a hundred times before, but I'll say it again. The simplicity of the single speed cannot be beaten. No extras hanging off the bike along with fewer cables. Just pure clean simplicity. I know that riding a single speed is not for everyone and that there will be times when I will wish I had an extra gear or two, but right now however, it is absolutely perfect.
Signs of wolves were evident once again as with my ride two weeks ago. These tracks were spotted in the same general area that I spotted the previous tracks. There is a brewing controversy in this area that there are too many wolves and the state should be allowed to take over control of the population. I wholeheartedly disagree with this and feel that they should be left alone. This would really piss off some of my local friends who are avid hunters and want to protect their deer harvest, but so be it. They know me as a tree hugger anyway.
As darkness settled in I could hear a wolf howling to the north of where I was riding. The sound sent the hair on the back of my neck standing along with a bit of a chill down my spine, as it well should. But, at the same time it brought a smile to my face knowing that they will be here for sometime to come. At least that is what I am hoping. What would the wilderness be like if you took the wild out of it?
The evening was absolutely beautiful and you could feel the temps rapidly dropping and they would continue to drop down to about -21 F by 6 a.m. the following morning.
I ended up riding for about four and half hours and enjoyed every minute of it. As I pulled into the trail head parking lot I didn't want this ride to end. I had lights and felt like I wanted to continue on, but a promise is a promise and my parents were waiting at home with a good home cooked meal. What son in his right mind could turn that down? As I pulled out of the parking lot onto the forest road the full moon was rising above the trees. Sure would have been nice to continue with the ride.more to come...


Apertome said...

Beautiful! The pugsley looks awesome, and the snowy woods are stunning. Can't wait to read Part 2.

Kenny said...

I like Jill's pugsley too...

Doug said...

"This bike is more fun to ride than any other bike I have ever ridden. "

I try to tell people this. I'm glad I'm not the only one to say this.

Beautiful pictures.

Jill inspired me to buy a Pugsley (not because she had one at the time, but because I'd been wanting one) and to enter my first AH135. I first stumbled upon her blog in 2006 during her first Susitna 100. I was so impressed with her accomplishments, I wanted to experience some of it myself.

Tex69 said...

Wow!! and wolf call too. Amazing!

gnarlees said...

Nice pics! Love your Pugs:))