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Exquisite ➡️ Terrifying

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Start – Stop: Twin Lakes – Haines

Distance: 30.7 mi

Elevation Gain: 1722 ft (and 6062 ft of Descent!!!)

Riding Time: 7:00

Time Awake Spent in Pursuit of The Trip, Roughly: 8:00

Day 02 Objectives & Points of Interest

  1. My objective was to sleep until the sun came up. In reality I slept until it got too cold to sleep, and after I awoke in the darkness I laid still and wide awake, listening to silence. This wasn’t my objective but I look at it as an accomplishment.
  2. Make it back to Haines, avoid mechanicals, keep the group together, experience the experience, breathe.
  3. Get close to some mountain goats. Sarah claimed that the only reason she came on this trip was for the chance to see mountain goats. Yesterday we’d seen some off in the distance, but we’re products of the Age of Me, and as such me wanted to see these things up close.
  4. There is a touchtone phone that someone set up off the trail. It appears halfway through the ride and allegedly connects the caller to heaven. We got a busy signal.
  5. The Elkhorn Crest Trail is a truly phenomenal piece of singletrack. Exquisite. The descent down from the trail is not. It’s terrifying. When you get to the end of the trail and start the descent it is not “sendsies” its more like “oh-shit-I-hope-I-don’t-roll-my-ankle-sies.” You have been warned.
  6. Once you get back down to lower elevations you’re probably going to run into logging operations. Our experience was that the logging truck drivers aren’t necessarily psyched that you’re there. Be patient. Practice humility. And stay vigilant.

Good Morning for Some, Just Morning for Others

The difference is how well prepared you were for the cold evening.
Those of us who were up, all we wanted was the sun to hurry up and shine on us. In these situations the sun is such a tease, creeping down the western wall of a canyon.
Jenn got a flat on her way into camp last night. But you know what? We didn't fix it until this morning. We weren't going anywhere.
Yes it was cold in the morning, you can see it in this photo. SO COLD. And it stayed cold for a while, especially in the shade where there was frost on top of frozen ground. Aside from that, the weather was more than alright. Again we had sun. Again it was perfect. What a way to close out a season of Dead Reckoning.
Tomahawk runs waterproof Vans. Turns out they are SO waterproof he needed to punch holes in them so that his feet could breathe. And that's what you're seeing here, the blowholes he made for his feet.
Another thing you should know about Tomahawk is that the man doesn't wear gloves. It's probably because he's got these giant meat hooks for hands so gloves don't fit him. I guess he's gotten used to it, because he never seemed to pay any mind to hot and/or cold when it came to his paws.
Alex, taking a big hit of Mountain House.
Now is the time for conception.
Or contemplation.
Or just reveling in the simple but arduous task of pumping near-freezing water squatted at the edge of a high alpine lake.
I believe this is what octopi look like while engaging in the act of coitus.
It's a lot warmer in there than it is out here.
Various essentials.

The Climb Out of Twin Lakes

It would be the most climbing we would do all day.
Through the dead fire bush >>
>> over basic treacheries >>
>> so lost to forget.

Back on the Elkhorn Crest Trail

From here it’d be mostly downhill, but downhill isn’t always easy.
They're fraternal twins.
One is a set of legs that only get stronger throughout the day. The other are legs that are hairy.
Just. Wow. Even now, writing this, so yum.
Jenn, laser focus and laser precision.
David, artistry and flow.
We had service. So it wasn't totally perfect.
Alex mid-whistle toss. I believe that the sound helped that little rock fly.
Dump 'em Gator!
See, SEE!!! I told you! This makes us think that maybe those other things weren't clouds.
The Tamarack Pine is a deciduous pine tree, and its needles turn gold in the fall. You bet your ass this is pretty.
Bye for now, friend. (Actually, when I came around the corner our buddy here was standing fifteen feet from me. I hear Daniel riding up the trail and I start hollering at him to get his camera like, "Get your camera, get your camera!" But he pulls up and just stares at the thing. At this point we're both just staring at the thing, and it starts to trundle away down the cliff. By now Daniel has his camera out, but little buddy has already moved on.)
Sarah on the edge.
Okay what's cool is that my little pink Poler cap fits under a helmet NP. The bead on the top doesn't mess with my head at all. AND AND AND, it looks good. Real good.
Also, these turquoise/Smurf Blue Defeet gloves. I've had them since the beginning of Dead Reckoning. I don't think I've ever given them credit: I think they're neat. So consider this credit given.
Tomahawk chopping his way up the mountain.
David seems to be having trouble buckling his shorts.
When you're satisfied your shorts are buckled.
Sarah sets the landscape on fire?
When you see a shrine, approach it with reverence and caution. The last thing you want to do is anger its god.
That, my friends, is a stacked crew.
The vibe here was good. What we all understood was that we'd be on a fire road all the way back into town, so we're thinking 2-trak sendsies feathering the brake with wind-in-your-hair, bugs-in-your-teeth speed. And for maybe a quarter of a mile it was, then things got really rough. But here we don't know that yet, in this moment the dream of speed is alive.
Ok this is looking good. What we have here is your typical grade A velcro dirt. EYE-DEAL shred conditions.
David is maybe the most unsinkable optimist that I know, and God bless him for it.
Then it started to get rocky. At first it wasn't overwhelming. Actually, it made the riding even more fun.
Tomhawk with has a sixth sense regarding upcoming trail conditions. Maybe he's just able to read things the rest of us can't.
When you see Tomahawk tightening up his helmet, you best prepare yourself.
And then there was this, and it went on for a couple of miles. Basically this natural challenge was set up to break/bruise/damage any below-the-waist body part. Fortunately our crew was a talented bunch and we made it out physically unscathed. As far as psychological scarring, well that is a different story altogether.
Yes you are looking at the road.
Eventually you make your way out of the boulder maze and onto a pretty amazing section of rutted out and beat up fire road. It's perfect. There are jumps, berms, bunny hops, it's got everything. It's as if the trail is saying, "You know what, you made it through that rock waterfall, you deserve this." Dessert anyone?
We hung out waiting for the rest of the crew and it got cold. Especially when you weren't basking in the light of the sun. Some of us cared, and some of us just passed out.
The rest of the ride was pretty straightforward. The roads got a helluva lot nicer.
This dust storm is brought to you by the local logging industry.
The roads got buffer.
And buffer.
At this point Kelli, Daniel and Sarah just took off for the vans. Ok, so long, bye-bye.
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