Archive for the ‘biking’ Category

Early Season Trips…

Tuesday, December 27th, 2022

I haven’t been very active on the blog lately, so I decided to post a few photos from the start of winter. I have had quite a few overnight bike trips, which have been fantastic!

New friends were made..

Early Season 22 Early Season 22

Sometimes the conditions were not great…

PXL_20221126_020806234 PXL_20221126_011727235.NIGHT Early Season 22

And sometimes they were awesome…

Early Season 22 Early Season 22 Early Season 22 Early Season 22

Yay for bikes, and yay for winter! I would also like to thank BLM for the beautiful trail system of the White Mountains NRA – you guys rock!

Tok to Tok via Dawson, the Yukon, and Eagle!

Monday, November 14th, 2022

Tom and I had been planning on doing the classic Nebesna to McCarthy trip, but as the time approached, it was looking more and more like it was going to be pretty horrible weather-wise.  The Nebesna Road washed out, then the Richardson highway washed out, and the forecast had more rain than I thought was fun.  Walking up Cooper and Geohenda at a near flood stage seemed less fun than it could be.  Eventually, we settled on the backup plan of biking Tok to Dawson, then packrafting to Eagle, and biking back to Tok.  It would be a loop, with some bike rafting, yay!   I hadn’t been to Eagle outside the winter, and I had never been on that section of the Yukon. 

So on a sunny early afternoon, Tom and I left Tok, heading to Taylor Highway. 

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The first day was awesome, but oh so hilly. The road had also had its lines newly repainted, and DOT perhaps spent less time cleaning up than they should have…

Hmm..


We spent the night at the West Fork Campground, which is the nicest campground I have been at pretty much ever.  We camped in a biker spot that had a covered area with a nice view from a small bluff.

Best Campsite Ever!

In the evening I watched a muskrat or very small beaver swim back and forth in a little lake below the bluff.  It is a beautiful spot!  The campground host was a bit starved for human company and was super chatty.   

In the morning we left for Chicken and Canada.  A few minutes into our ride coming around a corner I startled a wolf, which gave the rest of the day a nice feel. 

Taylor Road Damage


We stopped to explore the various parts of Chicken, then moved on and camped in Canada across the border. 

A healthy mid-morning snack at Chicken. Photo compliments of Tom M.

The Chicken of Chicken!

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The Yukon!

The Top of the World

The Top of the World

We went to bed in the rain, and I had to get up in the middle of the night when the floor of my tent started floating – apparently, I had set up my tent in a puddle!  After I relocated it was much better.
The next day we made it to Dawson, and it started with a really long downhill – yay!

Long Downhill to Dawson

Ferry ride

Tom enjoying the ferry life..

We explored a bit, had dinner, resupplied, and even showered – yay!  Tom got some scanned copies of a Yukon river float guide with really wonderful maps and notes that I was later to by Yukon River (Dawson-Circle) by Mike Rourke .  

My resupply was a bit chaotic – the little Dawson store was crowded, I was overwhelmed by options, and I had not yet processed that the next 100 miles were by river not bike, so I could take almost anything with me. 

The guide was great, but I was amused by references to “overgrown” this, and “overgrown” that.  I got the feeling the author hated trees.   The next day we floated down the Yukon, putting in at a little tiny cove right above the ferry landing.

Getting ready to float!

It was an awesome launch spot, and the float was fantastic.  I had been worried a bit about floating the Yukon – it is a big river and moves fast, and the bike on the boat is a bit awkward but was all good, and a super fun float.  There were a few odd eddies called out as “Strong Eddy” in the guide, but otherwise, it was a fast and mellow float.

Steamboat Graveyard

Steamboat Graveyard

Cool rocks

Tom hamming it up.


We made Forty Mile (which is 50 miles from Dawson) in the late afternoon and made camp.  Forty Mile was awesome, and a super neat place to explore.

The "metal shop"



The buildings were neat to explore, and the campsite was top-notch.  We did find a few odd things though…

Odd..



Alas, I discovered in my confused shopping daze in Dawson that the “Wow Butter” I had purchased was soy butter, not peanut butter.  It was still good, just gave my “peanut butter” & bagel lunches an odd flavor.   When I got back the twins made fun of me for being such an idiot.  The peanut in the red circle with the cross should have clued me in…

In the morning we headed out and floated to Eagle.  We had the river entirely to ourselves besides seeing a dog on the river bank, and a single skiff headed upriver.  The driver of the skiff was too busy scanning the riverbanks to notice us, and I think didn’t even see us as he zoomed by.

Tom at one point accused me of being a weather doomsayer.  I was apparently always pointing at dark clouds and saying we were about to get rained on.  Fortunately, we didn’t get rained on much on the float.   I had been told stories of horrible headwinds on the Yukon, with big waves that come up quickly, but we didn’t see any sign of it, though it loomed ominously in my avid imagination. /

Old Man and Old Woman rocks

Yukon Floating

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The views from the river were fantastic!   At one point Tom and I agreed the trees on the hillside above us looked just like a scene from a model train set – idealized trees, surrounded by green foliage.  There were also huge rock bluffs, and neat rock formations, not to mention a very curious seagull that followed us for miles.  The gull might have gotten some crackers from me…

Buddy

We arrived in Eagle too late for the store to be open but explored a bit.

Sunny morning..

Sign of things to come?

Portent of doom?

I was very worried about calling into customs, possibly overly concerned about it.  We had been told about a phone next to the dock, near the store.  After a bit of searching, we found it and called customs to report in.

The "special" phone

 Then camped at “Fort Egbert”, a place of some significance to me.  My middle name is Egbert, and I’ve always hated it. 

Fort Egbert!

In the morning we hit the store, arriving an hour before the opening time due to our not changing our clocks, but the guy running it didn’t mind and let us in.   We then headed out and biked to the  Walker Fork Campground. 

Taylor raspberries

American #1 Creek!

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Tom Zooming

Up, up, up!



The ride was fantastic, but again, oh, so hilly!  It was very, very scenic, and I really enjoyed the narrow road with almost no traffic.   The next day we completely loop back to Tok, stopping for a nice dinner at Fast Eddies, and were home in the late evening. 

This trip was very worth doing.  I had a blast.  Things to note:

  • All the float times I got for the Yukon were way off.  The water was hauling.  Going 6-8mph consistently. 
  • Getting to shore required work – the current was so fast often that the perfect spot would be way gone by the time we reached shore.  
  • Packrafts were fine but were not fast (See above.) 
  • The road surfaces were pretty good and not very muddy. 
  • Chicken has several gas station-type places with some basic snacks and several places to eat.  Otherwise, the only resupply options are Dawson (a big store) and Eagle (a small, but well-stocked store)
  • Check the expiration dates on anything you get from the Eagle store.  On a past trip, I got several years expired cheese, and on this trip Tom got a box of granola bars that were several years expired. 
  • Water worth drinking was a bit hard to find on the Yukon, but not impossible. 
  • The Yukon was so much more scenic than I expected! 
  • Eagle has a post office, with better planning I would have mailed my boat back to me in Fairbanks. 
  • The BLM campgrounds and the campground on the river at Dawson are fantastic! 
  • The highways are much, much hillier than I expected.  So many hills! 
  • Mileage Totals:
    Tok to Dawson – 190 Miles, 16kft of climbing
    Dawson to 40 Mile – 50 miles
    40 Mile to Eagle – 51 miles
    Eagle to Tok – 175 miles, 16k ft of climbing

I really want to float Eagle to Circle now.  I hope it is in my future! 

Empty Denali

Saturday, September 10th, 2022
Walking around the closure

Last year when the Denali NP road closed at the “Pretty Rocks” slump, I was very tempted to just haul my bike around the closure and bike the road after the slump. I assumed it wasn’t legal in the park to push or ride one’s bike around the slump. Roughly a year later and after my friend Tom suggested it was possible, I did some research and noticed it was not only legal (that is “allowed”) and appeared to biked somewhat frequently. Strava segments on the Park road after the closed bit showed a fair bit of traffic. So, on a overcast Saturday morning Tom and I meet up at the Denali NP’s Backcountry information center, got some permits, hopped a bus to the end of pavement, and started biking. I was somewhat bemused by the Denali staff, as just about every interaction could be summarized as some variation on “your not going to make it”, and constant reminders of how long it was to our selected backcountry units just past Toklat.
The ride to the road closure was fast and fun, though Tom got two flats in the first 25 miles, and there was one bus jam for a bear that we couldn’t see.

Neat Clouds



Soon we were dropping down the stairs to the East Fork of the Toklat river, after one last “that is a really long way to push that gravel bike” from a NPS staffer, and we were down riding then pushing up the river bed to go around the Pretty Rocks slump. The last NPS staffer said there were currently no NPS staff on the other side of the road, and the road was in bad shape. Our plan was just to go up the East fork of the Toklat, then head west towards the creeks draining down from Polychrome Glacier, then take a wash back up to the park road.

Pushing

Pretty Rocks Slump

Pretty Rocks Slump


That worked well, though the route was mostly a bit too rocky for me to bike on my touring tires in a safe manner. After a few creek crossings, and a little more than two hours of walking with the bikes we were back on the road, biking towards Toklat.

Empty roads


It was easy to find the right route, and there were lots of tracks to follow. Biking the road was an interesting experience – we had it entirely to ourselves, with no traffic besides three bikers and two people on foot. The road was mostly intact, though I was surprised by one unexpected drop-off around a corner, it wasn’t very deep and I made it over without going over my handlebars.

We camped in our unit as it started to get dark, and I fell asleep to rain the tent fly. In the morning we rode to Kantishna and back near the Eielson Visitor Center.

Neat clouds

Empty roads past Toklat

Eielson was creepily empty. On the way in we saw several Camp Denali buses there, with folks going for hikes, but the place was otherwise completely abandoned. Oddly, mechanical noises were coming from the building, and it looked like the heat was still on.

Empty Ellison

Empty Ellison

Folks can't read apparently

Toklat was also a ghost town with the bus schedule from a year ago still up.

Schedule from last years closure

Loved the LOTRs reference

A funny note left in the bear lockers at Toklat with a Lord of the Rings reference.

Kantishna still had stuff going on though, the outhouses at the runway were still open, and the lodges seemed to be all still in operation in one form or another.

Almost to Kantishna

The road near Kantishna, which is new to me, yay!

Extreme Danger!

The Kantishna airstrip signage is a bit over the top..

Our second night’s campsite was the best I have ever had in Denali, with a wonderful view of the Muldrow glacier. The sunset was fantastic.

Best Campsite Ever!

The following day we biked back out, running into a few more hikers, but otherwise didn’t see anyone else until walking around the closure, where we ran into a few hikers, and could see a few more in the distance.

The ride was a complete blast – the road is mostly in better shape than it is with buses. Almost no washboard and just a few short sections washed out. It is a like a 20ft wide bike path, though really scenic country.. so hard to beat!

Denali, from Stony Overlook

Denali, from Stony Overlook

Denali!

Wildlife wise we had a pretty busy trip – there were sheep on several ridges, but they were far away and only little white dots. We saw several groups of caribou in the distance, one quite close up, and several moose in the distance, and a bear on the bus ride. Just about all the megafauna besides a wolf!
We did have to detour around a bear near Stoney Dome on the way out. After waiting 15 minutes or so for a bear happily eating berries 20ft or so from the road, we pushed our bikes off the road and around the bear, well outside the suggested 300-yard safe zone, the NPS requires.

Walking around the bears

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Pearson's Cabin

Road damage

Leaving the road for the detour around the slump

Slump

Heading up back to the road

The climb back up the “civilaized part of the road..”



A few hours later we were back in civilization, wandering around looking for the employees-only bar Tom was fascinated with. Biking around the employee’s only area reminded me of working in Skagway in my late teens and early twenties, not the happiest time of my life, and I was made a bit melancholy, and left Tom to his devices and drove home, making it in time to see the twins before they were asleep.

The closed part of the Denali road is a pretty interesting experience. However, seeing Denali’s response to the closure was a bit odd – they seem to be operating like the closed area is just gone. There was very little sign of any motorized traffic from Eielson to Toklat. All the outhouses were closed and locked up outside Kantishna. A bit odd, as while the road is closed, the area beyond it is still quite accessible, and is going to see a fair bit of bike and foot traffic. The NPS staff seem to be discouraging anyone from biking or otherwise traveling past the closure. Perhaps that is understandable, but given we saw several Camp Denali buses, it is still quite possible to drive the road after the closure, and I would have hoped Denali would have moved to have some sort of reduced presence, not a complete abandonment. As one NPS wildlife person told me “As far as we are concerned no one is driving the road.” when I asked about traffic from the lodges.

Some notes for others interested in biking the road past the closure:

  • The route around the slump is 5 miles. It is possible to ride a bike through most of it, though my little tires made that hard. Staying closer to the hill seems to have firmer and a bit smoother surface than the more actively flooded area. On an unloaded mountain bike, it should be almost entirely ridable. There are at least two water crossings, so expect wet feet.
  • Riding your bike off the road in Denali is apparently fine so long as you are not causing “resource damage”, whatever that means.
  • The walk around the closed part took Tom and I a little over two hours each way. YMMV.
  • The Denali staff say you can camp 150ft from the road centerline, not the 1/4mile that normally is required.
  • A backcountry permit is required to camp, and you need to get a backcountry unit to camp in, and camp in that unit. Be prepared for the backcountry permit process to take a while, and have all the stuff required (bear canister/ursack etc)
  • Expect the Denali staff to be skeptical and tell you it will be much harder than expected.
  • Expect no assistance from the NPS past the closure. I would have enough food to walk my bike to Kantishna or back out.
    • Which really, wouldn’t be that big of a deal – if you push your bike 12 hours at 2.5 miles an hour that is 30 miles, you could make it from near Eielson back to the area served by the busses or Kantishna in less than a day. It wouldn’t be fun, but totally doable – I would just keep in mind you mind have to do that if something goes wrong, and be prepared.
  • Be prepared to have some long bear delays.
  • Have fun – it is a blast back there, and enjoy it, in a year or so (or 10 if the NPS decides to re-route all the way around the Polychrome area. ) it will be back to “normal” with busses of people driving out and back and only getting out to go the bathroom.

So… Get Out and Bike It!

(Before some idiot does something stupid, wrecks it, and it is closed to bikes. 🙂 )

PS: Does anyone know what this sign means? I thought it meant to wait 10 minutes if you see sheep, others thought it means the road is closed 10 minutes after the hour, any idea what the official meaning is?

Odd Sign

A Family Tour of the White Mountains

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2022

Leaving my office, I headed out into a dark -36f late afternoon to start my car and drive home. I started it up, then got out to unplug it*. Just after I unplugged it, I heard a “beep,beep” as it locked itself..
Crap.

After trying all the doors, I headed back inside. We have two keys to this car, and the other one is at my house, three miles away. After calling my wife Nancy who didn’t pick up, I started panicking and I called my daughter Lizzy, asking her (very optimistically!) if she could bring me the other keys.

Much to my surprise she said “Sure!”

30 minutes later Lizzy showed up on her fat bike, with the keys, and quickly unlocked it and headed out. We had to stop for gas, as it turned it was almost out. Wow.

Covid has been a bit rough on the twins. One year of online schooling, then it was back to school, with masks. First home made cloth masks, then N95s.. Limited social interactions, and so much fear. To top it off, the school bus was only running ever other week due to driver shortages. The twins decided this school year that they were just going to bike to school, as it is only three (ish) miles one way, mostly downhill in the morning on the way in. After finding out they could beat the school bus (the biking route is more direct) they were even more excited about biking. As the fall transitioned to winter they switched to snow bikes, with bright head tail lights lights, reflective vests, and warm clothing. A bit to my surprise they kept doing it even as it became honestly cold, close to the -40s. As far as I know, they have never been late. I tried to bike a few times a week with them for the ride in, but school starts early (7:30am!), and I am not as a consistent of a bike commuter as they are.

Cold biking Cold biking

Photos from a different, slightly warmer day where I biked in to school with the twins.

Fast forward half a year, and we were heading out on a family trip, heading around the White Mountains NRA “main loop”, stopping at Borealis, Windy Gap, Cache Mountain, and Moose Creek cabins. The twins had been to Moose Creek in the winter before, were I had to make the “no complaining while going up hill” rule as the twins (Lizzy in particular) would complain how miserable the biking was going up each of the hills, then would be perk up and continue on happily when it flattened out. They had also been to Borealis before too, but in the summer only. It would be their longest winter bike trip, and I was a bit worried they would be unhappy, warning them in the days leading up that they might have to walk up a lot if the conditions were really bad.

Yeah yeah, Dad.

The first day of the trip, three miles from the parking lot, after several crashes and one mini soft snow melt down, everyone had a break to snack and recover.

My bike is so heavy!” – Lizzy.

I was a bit worried that this was going to be a long, long trip.

Five days later, 90+ miles later we were back in the same spot, heading the other direction, everyone, tired, but happy and joyful.


First day went by quickly, with great trails besides a bit of soft snow.

Whites Loop with the Family

The ride was mostly uneventful, though at the top of the first decent Molly and I stopped a bit for her to take some photographs from the first scenic view stop.

Whites Loop with the Family Whites Loop with the Family Whites Loop with the Family Whites Loop with the Family

Eventually Molly finished taking photographs and we rode down the final hill, only to see a group of people with several dogs teams making camp. I stopped and chatted then looked for Molly and Shiloh the dog. No Shiloh or Molly. A bit more chatting, and still no Molly or Shiloh the dog. It was starting to get awkward, as they were waiting for me to go by… so I turned around and headed back up the hill. Part way up Shiloh the dog and Molly showed up. Apparently she had dropped her sunglasses at the top of the hill, and had to go back. I grabbed Shiloh, and we passed the dog teams with lots of barking – apparently this is the most exciting thing that had happened to the dogs in the team all day.

We arrived at a pre-warmed Borealis cabin, with embers in the stove that were soon rekindled into a nice blazing fire. The evening was spent hanging out, cutting wood, and enjoying a mellow evening.

The morning it was -30f ish at the cabin, probably much colder on the river, so we waiting until 10am or so when the sun was hitting us before heading out. It was in the single digits but felt warmer in the wonderful sun.

Whites Loop with the Family Whites Loop with the Family Whites Loop with the Family

The twins enjoyed the firm trails, and the great views. And hot lunch – since this was a “mellow” trip, I brought various dried or freeze dried meals that could be made with hot water from a thermos for lunch. It was a hit.

Whites Loop with the Family

Enjoying Heather Choice African Peanut Stew from the discount bin at REI. So fancy!

The twins had a blast and were handled the single digits in an occasionally brisk breeze. Nancy was also excited to be riding this outside the White Mountains 100 race, at a slower pace, and enjoying the trail.

Whites Loop with the Family

Shiloh and Eddy the dogs also had fun, though Shiloh likes to pretend he wasn’t..

Whites Loop with the Family Whites Loop with the Family
Whites Loop with the Family Whites Loop with the Family

Molly needed to take some panoramic photos (panoramas?) for school, and I told her about the new climb a few miles before Windy Gap cabin, where she stopped to get a bunch of photos. They turned out pretty well.
The twins handled all the biking and the hills pretty well – all those days riding to and from school had given them lots of biking base!

limestone jags panorama

Then it was a long downhill and a few flat miles to the cabin. Alas, the cabin hadn’t had any recent visitors and was much colder inside than out. Walking into it was like entering a freezer. Once the fire was going it started warming up, but Lizzy was quick to find the warmest spot, in the loft directly above the stove.

Whites Loop with the Family

It was still mid afternoon once the cabin warmed up, so I headed out with Eddy to go checkout Windy Arch, a few miles from the cabin. Eddy wasn’t having it though. He kept looking at me like, “What are you doing?” and once he figured out I was going for a ride he abandoned me and ran back to the cabin. I had a great ride though, even though not even the dogs wanted to join me.

Whites Loop with the Family

This was the first cabin that was totally new to the Twins, and they enjoyed hanging out in it, with lots of reading, snacking, and dog snuggling. And doing puzzles – someone had left a small puzzle that gave into a relentless attack by Nancy and Lizzy.

Whites Loop with the Family

The next day we headed up and over the divide to Cache Mt cabin.

Whites Loop with the Family Whites Loop with the Family Whites Loop with the Family

We stopped briefly in at the “Ice Lakes”, a mile (ish) long section of ice for Molly to take another panorama and to have lunch.

ice lakes panorama-2

Photo taken by Molly

The trail was remarkably good, and we rode almost all the way up and over the divide, following some recent wolf tracks.

Whites Loop with the Family

Once over the divide it was a quick ride down to our next stop, Cache Mountain cabin. I had one over the bars crash right in front of Lizzy which she found endlessly funny.


The next morning we headed to our final cabin for the trip, Moose Creek cabin. I was a bit worried the trail would go downhill, but it stayed nice. The twins were troopers, riding up all the hills, including pushing up one really steep and rock hard hill that I almost couldn’t get my bike up.

Whites Loop with the Family Whites Loop with the Family

Molly’s rear break did explode all over the trail at one point, but we were able to get it back into some assemblance of working. Apparently her pannier hand been banging on it all year, and eventually the outer park of her disk brake broke and shot off powered by the return spring.

Moose Creek cabin had a deck of Uno cards, and many, many games of Uno were played.

sleeping shiloh

Photo taken by Molly

The final day went by fast. It was much warmer, in the mid 20s which felt so balmy! Everyone in the family had done this last 17 miles of trail several times at least, and were well aware of the climbs and zooming fast downhills.

Whites Loop with the Family Whites Loop with the Family

Eddy caught doing a 180 to checkout a sniff. He did it so fast it looked like his nose had been glued to the ground yanking his body around..

Whites Loop with the Family

A happy family, almost out..

When we finally made it out I was happy the trip went so well, but sad it was done. I had been very worried the trail would be a mess with lots of walking, but everyone had a blast. The twins had enough biking base they were not super tired at the end of the days, but tired enough they didn’t get bored – perfect! 🙂 Nancy enjoyed doing the loop outside a race context, and I had fun spending time with the family. Eddy the dog just enjoyed being out, though he has all the cabins memorized at this point, as he had been around the loop three times this year, but I think enjoyed the slower pace, with more time to sniff things. Shiloh the dog I think thought the days should have been shorter, maybe eight to ten miles, with lots more stops to pee on things, and more snacks.

Sinbad the cat was very happy to see us on our return, even giving the dogs a few sniffs to say high, but probably thought our trip was way too long and had way too much time away from the cat who was surely going to expire from lack of attention! (Sinbad did have several caretakers who spend several hours with her, so she was not completely deprived.)

I do feel so lucky to have the White Mountain NRA – the trail and cabin system is top notch, and is one of the highlights of life in Fairbanks.

Yay for winter!

Editors Note: This post was edited and all the wrong details were corrected by the super amazing and very superb Molly!

Good think you have me to fix all your mistakes!” – Molly

2022 WM100

Tuesday, March 29th, 2022

As sort of a last minute thing I signed up for the White Mountains 100 last fall, in a last minute panic that another winter would go by and I wouldn’t do anything “fun”. I ended up being on the waitlist, and promptly forgot about it. Fast forward several months, and a few weeks out Stacy the organizer told me I was in, just as I got back from the Iditarod Trail Invitational. My motivation was a bit lacking, but I said yes, and thus found myself at the starting line at a wonderful 8am morning. I went out as hard as I could, and stayed riding as hard as I could. It was much hotter than I expected, and I was overheating right out of the start, and missed my tire pressure by a lot. When I finally stopped to put more air in just after the first checkpoint I put in 30 pumps, and it was noticeably faster. Duh! 45 ish miles in I tapered it back as my legs and body started objecting loudly. By Borealis I was pretty toast, and was having a hard time eating, and went pretty darn slow for the last 20 miles. Such is life. It was fun though, the second most fun I have ever had in this race (the first being 2019 when I rode it with my wife Nancy). I didn’t do as well as I would have liked, though better than I deserve for not getting in much high intensity riding this winter.

The weather was fantastic!

2022 WM100
2022 WM100

I didn’t plan my food very well, and ended up having trouble eating after the first 50 miles, but such is life. I had a blast though.

A few miles out from the finish I saw Tyson F riding towards me, and I stopped and congratulated him on his win. He said something about riding around the loop again, and I thought he was joking. It turned out he was serous, and he did another lap, finishing before the cut off. Wow!

When I finished I checked in with the headquarters to see how everything is working, as I provided the laptop, and a few other computer items for them, but alas, apparently I suck at it as I gave them the wrong charger cord and they had to round up another computer. Duh! Next year I will have to be a bit more organized about it I guess, I felt pretty bad to have messed that up. Fortunately they found something that worked out so it wasn’t the end of the world, but I should have screwed that up!

A huge thank you to everyone who makes this race happen, as always it is the most fun 100 mile snow race out there!

Photos:

Strava:

White Mountains Loop..

Wednesday, January 26th, 2022

Social media media reminded me that I normally ride around the White Mountains NRA’s main “loop”, which is a great 100 mile loop though most of the interesting parts in early January, and inspired, I booked a cabin trip. Then snow came (and lots of it!) and slowly the trails improved.. then more snow. So I moved the trip, and finally, with news that the far part of the loop was in, and with a forecast warm weather into the teens it was on.


The Whites are a special place for me..

The first day Eddy the dog and I (Shiloh the dog stayed home, as he isn’t into long days, the Twins had school, and Nancy had work and nicely took over parenting duties) rode to Cache Mountain Cabin.

It was beautiful, but cold – near zero Fahrenheit up high..

Looking back towards Moose Creek White Loop 2022 Sunset White Loop 2022

It was much colder down low, and when Eddy and I crossed Beaver Creek it was surprisingly cold. Cold enough my face felt numb in the still air. When we arrived at the cabin it felt a fair bit warmer, and it was -20f. The evening in Cache Mt cabin was spent relaxing and enjoying the evening, warmed by the huge stockpile of wood the “wood fairies” (aka previous visitors) had left us.
I was a bit saddened to see a big dent burned into the wall of the cabin – it looked like someone had hung a lantern on the wall of the cabin, and it at set fire the wall, burning a sizable dent in it. Sad..

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The next day Eddy and I rode over the divide to Windy Gap Cabin. I was hoping for a good trail, but was prepared to walk the whole way. Fortunately the trail was great! Alas, it was overcast with lightly falling snow so not very scenic, and I didn’t take a lot of photos.. The ride up to the pass was warm, and soon after leaving the cabin it warmed up to well into the teens, which was great. I was so warm I took off a bunch of layers as a rode up to the top, following the tracks of a large wolverine (no photos alas) most of the way to the top.

PXL_20220121_214134028

The ice lakes were mellow, with very little water..

PXL_20220121_222353899_2

I did find a dog bootie on the ice lakes with “fulda” written all over it. Later I put it on Eddy, joking it was his “Euro clubbing wear” with some folks we passed. It turns out it is a classic, from the 1997 Yukon Quest dog race! Amazing it is still around..

I have been bringing a small large mouth vacuum insulated container for lunches, and that has been rocking – it is so nice to have a hot lunch quickly while riding..

Lunch

It was much colder on other side of pass (or divide as folks like to call it), and I nearly froze my butt off until I stopped and added layers.

Shortly after the ice lakes the trail got a lot softer with no traffic since the last snowfall, and while it was still ridable, it was slow and high resistance.

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Some bike selfies..

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The wood fairies were out in force again, and I was happy to see a huge amount of wood at Windy Gap cabin. Yay!!

The evening was spend warm and mellow, listening to the wind howl outside.

Late in the evening a big dog team arrived with a snowmachine and a huge sled that made a wonderful looking trail. They were heading to wolf run cabin and were a bit lost, we chatted for a bit, then they were off. The next day we headed out to complete the loop, excited by a much warmer and calmer day.
The trails were busy on the way out, and I saw lots of people I knew..



Yay for a nice three day trip in the Whites! I returned to town a bit beat, but very enlivened by the trip that was ordinary enough I feel a little silly writing about it. Double yay for fun ordinary adventures!