Sunday, February 26, 2012

Lost and Found: Five.

Our campsite was chosen because it was the only ~flat ground nearby that was ~big enough to host two tents. We'd removed as many cobbles as possible, ceasing digging only when we reached bedrock. Then adjusting the layout of each tent and sleeping position accordingly. It was kind of a novel challenge.

But the spot we ended up with was mere inches above the most recent high tide line, which meant that whenever a wave crashed in the night I sat bolt upright in my bag, fearing that our gear was being pulled out or that we were about to be very wet and very cold.

I'm such a drama queen. The water never got close enough to worry about--all that was achieved with my worrying was a continued lack of good rest.

Packing up after breakfast.

I noted the fine condition of all of our chains and took the time to lube and drag mine. Always the optimist. It was a nice gesture but we rode so little this day it hardly mattered.

For a good chunk of the day we pushed and carried our bikes over and through this:

Again the others moved so much faster, more effortlessly through that I saw them mostly at breaks, or when the boulders had gotten so massive that they'd scout before proceeding.

I had a hard time determining whether they were taking breaks because they really needed them, merely wanted them, or simply felt bad for leaving me so far behind. There was nothing to be done for it, so I just kept plodding as efficiently as I could and tried to get a bit ahead whenever they gave me the chance.

No one likes to be the reason for slowing a group down, so I vowed to limit the amount of pics I took on this day--tried to make them really count. That was fine and it may have even helped some, but the reality was that they were moving so much faster regardless that it was almost a token gesture. Eric's legs are as long as I am tall, and he confessed to a compulsive need to move as fast as possible ("I just put my head down and GO...") when 'schwacking. Then off he went. Roman's bike was so light, and he so adept at choosing lines and hopscotching from boulder to boulder, that he was almost as fast as Eric. Doom and Dylan were just plain better athletes, I guess.

I vowed not to dwell on the speed I couldn't go, instead focusing my thoughts on how I could lighten my load to move faster on future, similar trips. A bigger pack was clearly needed. Less camera gear was obvious, but my heart wasn't fully in that--you can only get so much with a P&S. I knew that this would be my first and last bike and boat trip with a rear rack--it got in the way when paddling, got hung up in brush when 'schwacking, and gave me too big of a platform on which to place too big of a stuffsack. Without the rack I'd be forced to carry less, and in so doing would move faster for a host of reasons.

It was starting to make some sense.

Beach booty.

Slow as the travel was through the cobbles and boulders, near the south end of Cape Fairweather things actually got worse.

When I arrived here I didn't immediately see the others, and could scarcely imagine how they'd crossed this tangled mess and gotten completely out of sight so fast. They were practically underfoot--laughing and joking as always from a protected spot between two massive boulders.

Upon resuming we took a different tack--up into the woods.

From a certain perspective, it was a lot better up there.

We'd heard the bear trails through here were ab-fab, and for a person afoot with no bike, they'd have been stellar. But although bears make good trails they don't do so on their hind legs, nor do they schlep bikes along with them. We did lots of crawling, muttering, scrambling, head scratching, and backtracking. In reality, the progress up here was merely a change of scenery--no different in terms of speed or effort.

Can't remember verbalizing it, but as I snapped this pic I wondered how many generations of bears had trodden in those prints?

At some point Roman or Eric poked their head out of the forest and declared that the beach would probably be better now. Glad if only for a change of scenery and a new outlook, we stumbled and dragged ourselves back down.

An exemplary husband and dad.

South of Cape Fairweather the boulders gave way to cobbles, then shortly to beautiful black sand.

It was indescribably wonderful to thread pedals back on and then perch atop a bike seat, all weight removed from sore ankles, knees, feet. Doom and Roman fairly raced ahead in their exhilaration, while Eric, Dylan and I moved more sedately, perhaps simply savoring a peaceful end to the day.

After eleven we arrived at the spot they'd chosen for camp. A fire had been kindled next to a pretty little creek. We cooked, ate, and crashed.