GDMBR day 11 7/12/21
Segment: Ovando to reservoir lake camp
Distance ridden: 28 miles
Elevation gain: 3,000 feet
After a great sleep at the Ovando in. We walked across the dusty street to the Stray Bullet cafe for breakfast, then a later than usual start riding around s 8:30 am. The three other bike packers we’d met yesterday were also at the restaurant, plus two others who arrived later last night. It’s the biggest group of other riders we’ve been with yet. Everyone was anticipating the day ahead, and a tad uneasy anticipating the later start and inevitable heat we’d have to negotiate on the big climb.
The first half of the riding was rolling paved, then gravel and dirt roads. We took a nice break in the shade by a stream before starting the big climb. The kids sat on a bridge dangling their legs over the edge, carefree and joking around While enjoying a snack. It was 11 when we started climbing. Although the roads we are riding are relatively well graded, it was still a sustained climb over about 6 miles. Climbing in the heat and sun is much harder for me than first thing in the morning, and I definitely felt this climb. About half way up, when I was starting g to drag, the two riders from last night rolled up to us. Turns out they are two good friends from Philly. It made a big difference having new people to talk to, and riding with them made the second half of the climb much easier for all of us. Sara especially dug deep, and demonstrated her incredible reservoir of strength in her ability to keep up with the two fit young guys. Definitely a proud mama moment for me. It shows both the mental aspect of this type of endurance activity, and how socially driven we are. In some ways we are a self contained little social unit, but as I observe time after home the way meeting someone new reenergizes and excites all of us, I understand how deeply we need both social connections and novel interaction.
As I’ve said before, the trail culture was a big draw for me as a reason to embark on such a difficult journey with kids. It not only renews my personal faith in humanity, but also teaches me the lesson over and over again that there is so much to be both gained and given in the chance meetings with strangers who are also seekers. For, I think all of us who do this type of thing are seeking something. There is a vulnerability and openness that allows for an exchange of self that charges and enhances the spirit.
A quick thrown together lunch was our celebration atop the unremarkable Huckleberry pass, then a fast down. I was stung on the back of the leg by a bumble bee while stopping for Sara to get out her sunglasses, and it hurt like the dickens. Fortunately, the boys waited for us down the trail and a little dab of Benadryl cream set me right. That is an absolute essential part of our med kit!
We took another, much more refreshing break at a rushing creek at the bottom of the hill. There were even steps some one had built leading from the road down to the creek. The water was ice cold, and made the prickly heat and sweat from the high noon climb a distant memory. Another quick half mile up, and we reached camp at 2:30. The kids are getting so strong! I’m amazed at what they have been able to do.
Camp is an informal camping area at reservoir lake. Another pristine crystal clear, aquamarine glacial lake. We all went for another swim, then set to our routine of relaxing under the sky on the tyvek ground cloth. Dinner was frito pies - a newly imagined camp dinner of Bear Creek chili, Fritos, shredded cheese and fresh scallions.
Everyone said this was their favorite camp meal yet. We learned how to play spades, and played a few rounds before hanging the bear bag and going to bed. All in all, a fun and successful day. Tomorrow we have a short ride into Lincoln for a motel stay, showers and a small resupply.