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.