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The Day After Yesterday

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As we went to sleep at the end of Day 01, the last thing we saw before it got really dark were phalanxes of heavy metal magazine clouds descending with the last light of the sun. We’re talking End-of-Days clouds. And since these End-of-Days clouds were playing timpani drums to a hail, snow, hail, sleet, hail, freezing rain, snow, hail, snow free solo taking place directly over our campsite, you would be justified in labeling what was happening as a portentous atmospheric event. To put it another way: if you told me that the weather god in this zone had hired the same special effects team that did the end of the movie Ghostbusters [John Bruno, Richard Edlund, Chuck Gaspar and Mark Vargo were nominated for the 1984 Academy Award for Best Visual Effects.], the team that made the top of the building look like it was mix of red and black explosions with bits of electric shrapnel flying off in every direction, I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised.

Leading up to the trip the forecast looked dismal, downright depressing, just rows of crying clouds lined up over our travel dates. We knew what was coming, and what’s funny is for the first time in our Dead Reckoning lives we actually expected it. We squirreled gear away all over our bikes, extra gloves and socks stuffed into any empty nook, any spare cranny. We have learned that being cold and wet sucks, but being cold and wet without the prospect of getting warm and dry sucks so much more—at least 100 times more. So the group’s expectation for the following day was pretty low, low like the Christmas morning after your dad lost his job.

And then we woke up to sunshine. We woke up to glorious snow-covered peaks and vibrant high alpine glacial valleys. We woke to our food being right where we left it, no bear surprise, no torrential rain, no deep blanketing of snow. We woke to exactly the opposite of what we expected.

“The power of positive thinking is a crock—long live the willing acceptance of the inevitable. Today was to be a pastoral highlight reel of the finest order.”

You want to know how much of a dream-cum-reality day today was? As we were nearing the top of Iron Pass, Erik looked to a vast snow field high in the mountains to our right and said, “Hey Daniel, you should take a picture of that, and then when we get home we can photoshop us into the picture doing Powder 8 turns on our Fat Bikes.” Then we laughed, because that idea was absurd, and that’s how jokes work, they make you laugh. Thirty minutes later we were at the top of Iron Pass staring down a fresh, not too steep, not too treacherous couloir–let’s call this a Golden Retriever couloir–eyeing our lines for the Fat Bike Powder 8 World Championships. I mean COME ON. Erik could have said, “Hey Daniel, take a picture of Macho Man Randy Savage flying a rocket-powered jet ski alongside Pablo Picasso on a giant red flying toothbrush,” and there is no doubt in my mind that the Macho Man himself would have ridden his high-flying jet ski down from Wrestler Heaven, meeting Picasso on his way from Insane Art Man Heaven on Dali’s toothbrush, there is no doubt in my mind it would have happened. That’s how good the day was. Other really nice stuff happened too, but the pictures and the captions do a great job of explaining that.

 

Wakey Wakey

So you think you've cracked the camp shoe problem. You've tried them all: slides, crocs, Bolivian house slippers, Tevas, etc. Each has a flaw: too much velcro, not enough stability, being Crocs, too in-home residential specific. And then you find Lunas, and Lunas have it all: no velcro to get snagged, gobs of stability, not Crocs, and they're made for the outdoors. This is something to get really excited about, and I know you are, you are really excited. But then again you haven't tried these babies on, in-situ. You get yourself out to the middle of Canada and your feet are numb from being cold and wet. You put on socks, maybe you put on two layers of socks. One thing about feet is that when they're numb, they don't un-numb immediately. So you have numb feet in two pairs of socks and you jam them into your Lunas. But Lunas require ninja socks, the split toe jobs, and your socks are not ninja. So your numb toes, your double socks, and your sandals have to make a compromise, and what they compromise on is comfort. And you thought this camp shoe solution was a shoe-in. The search continues.
Gear Tanning, Fig. 01
Gear Tanning, Fig. 02
Gear Tanning, Fig. 03
Gear Tanning, Fig. 04 (This one gets me thinking about Solar Sails, Carl Sagan, the pale blue dot, and the enormous scale of it all.)
Gear Tanning, Fig. 05
The road wasn't a river of dog shit, but it had that consistency. And when a road has the consistency of a river of dog shit you try really hard to stay out of it.

 

Know Your Source

 

Or: don’t fill your water from a tailings pond’s outflow stream.
Us: "Hey, this water looks neat, lets drink it."
The water: "Hey, I just floated through 300 yards of mining chemicals and mineral extraction refuse."
Kyle: "Hey Erik, how does your water taste?" Erik: "Hmm, like a computer fire."

 

Alpine Valley High

 

Topping Out on Iron Pass

Fat Boy vs. Iron Pass: Round 1
Fat Boy vs. Iron Pass: Round 2

 

Bear Meadow

“Hey Boo Boo, let’s go get us a pic-a-nic basket.”
One way.
The other way.
Bear Spray Holstered. ✓ Knife Holstered. ✓ All Black Everything. ✓ Ladies and Gentlemen, Mr. Erik Nohlin.
James Crowe.
Just 'bout that action, boss.

 

River Crossings

 

Success & Failure
Success. James made it all the way across, but that makes sense because he can do all these bike tricks that the rest of us can't do.
60% Success. (Please refer to the Lord Nerd Beta trip postulates, sub section two for a more in-depth assessment of 60%.)
Failure. Please note that Erik is underwater. He is not underwater on purpose.

 

Lights Out

Daniel wanted to camp here, where we are standing, because at this time, on this day, in this spot, the light was UN-REAL. Like someone put a golden filter in the sky, and turns out the image value for any picture in this light goes up a hundredfold. A Buick becomes a Corvette. A squash becomes an apple. A Wednesday becomes a Friday. So yeah, it was good, but the rest of us wanted to get over there, that spot where we are pointing at because on the map it showed a little camp icon. When we got there it was dark, and so was Daniel's disposition.
Oh, I've got a scary sailor story face for you.
Little saw, little fire, big big excitement.
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