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Bicycle Tour Adventure #8

Pictures and Stories About Bicycle Tour Adventures

Arapaho National Forest, Colorado, USA,
By Bicycle, June, 1996

At Base Camp: Rigging the Bikes. The Bikes are rigged and trail ready.

Left: Our truck camper is parked in base camp, just east of the town of Grand Lake, Colorado. Terry is packing a pannier, then the pannier will be mounted on a bike.

Above Right: Dennis and Grand Lake behind the bikes. The panniers are mounted and the bikes are ready to go. Rocky Mountain National Park is to our immediate north, Arapaho National Forest is to our near west. We’re trekking through Arapaho National Forest for this journey. You are looking to the southwest.

Terry, Lake Grandby in background. Dennis, Ponderosa Pines as far as the eye can see.

Left: Lake Grandby and Shadow Mountain Lake are in the background behind Terry.

Above Right: Dennis. While the wind can’t be seen, the wind is picking up tons of ponderosa pine tree pollen and great translucent clouds of yellow-green pollen are misting through the trees. The pollen also covers the lakes with a yellow-green film. Pollen is only a problem for a few days, luckily it does not bother us or our health. Nature and we, march on.

Terry's face is visible with a camera flash.     Terry’s face is not visible.
Above Images Compared: This picture comparison was not planned but it serves as a good example to use the camera flash during daylight hours. Terry is crossing a trail obstacle. She is in the shade but the background is bright with sun light. The image on the left shows Terry’s face as a result of a camera flash while the other image does not show Terry’s face and does not use a flash. Terry is patient with the picture taking - Dennis is lucky.

Arapahoe NF, Back Trail.     Arapahoe NF, Camp View.
Above Left: Pictured are some of the roads that we just pedaled up. We’re between ten and twelve thousand feet. We’ve already "watered up." We always fill all the water bottles and we fill an additional collapsible water jug just before we set up camp for the evening. More water is always better than not enough water. We try to be conservative and water is heavy. "There are always tradeoffs in life."

Above Right: The view out of our tent site. Aspen on the right. Spruce on the left. Life is good!

Arapahoe NF, Tent Camp. Right: Dennis’ favorite tent (long since destroyed by Dennis in a washing machine incident). The rest of the story: The tent was about 20 years old and developed a musty smell that could not be removed. We had tried all sorts of treatments. No treatment would work and sustain an effect. So, as a last ditch effort, Dennis washed it in a full waching machine cycle. The washing probably worked but it destroyed the water-proof layer that was on the "tent-tub" (bottom). C’est la vie.

Enjoying the view. Enjoying the flowers.
Above Left: Terry enjoying a Rocky Mountain high (view).

Above Right: Terry on a shallow climb. We’re not fans of dandy-lions but they are everywhere and there is something placid about the many blooming yellow flowers.

The Dandylion Road.     R&R: Rest and Reading.
Above Left: It is the "Yellow Dandy-Lined" road!

Above Right: It’s break time. We just sit back and enjoy life. We’re high up near a pass. After a while we hear an animal tearing up shrubbery in a thicket. The noise is being made from a big animal. We don’t know what the animal is but we guess that it is either a Bear or an Elk. Either animal could make the same noise performing different tasks. A bear could be tearing up semi-rotten timber for grubs or an elk could be scraping velvet off of its antlers and marking territory. Its too early in the year for this to be mating behavior. We discretely investigate, but discover that we will not learn what it is without going into the thicket. We decide not to enter the thicket and discretely walk our bikes out of the area (trying not to interrupt or disturb the animal’s activity).

Terry preparing dinner.     Next day, packed and ready to go.
Above Left: We set up camp for another night. We are camping near a stream which makes our water logistics easy. However, it rains softly but steadily and we are concerned about a flooding creek. We wake, late to a bright and sunny day!

Above Right: Its a beautiful morning. Its humid next to the creek. Terry is starting with an interestingly frizzy hair day.

Happy Camper: A flat tire is fixed.     Our sunset view.
Above Left: It has rained for most of the day. Terry had a flat tire. Dennis fixed it for her and she is very happy about that. We carry repair kits and a spare inner-tube. While her flat is a simple patch over leak (type of flat), because of the rain, we changed the inner-tube, hoping to patch the hole of the previous inner-tube later under dryer conditions. We have enough experience to know that rainy day flat tire repairs often do not hold up for a long period of time. In this case, we made the right decision.

Above Right: What the view looks like, just before turning in for the next night. We later learn, that the mountain range that we are in is called "Never Summer" by the Arapaho Indians.

High altitude tent pitched. Terry beating sunset for dinner.
Above Left: Optical Illusion: Which is flat, the Tent or the Road?

The tent is pitched flat on an old logging side road. Compare with the other picture. The road in front of the tent is very very steep. We are at about 11,200 feet and we have decided to camp here because we have realized that we cannot make it to the pass and set up camp before night fall. The air is so thin that we can only pedal about 25 yards before having to stop for oxygen (we means Dennis, Terry can go a little further, but our load is tough on both of us - We love it!). There is a trickle of clean water in the roadside ditch (from the rain). We decide to stay here for the night because the conditions up the road are unknown and its getting late.

Above Right: We are in routine. Terry is making dinner. Dennis set up the tent and is snapping a couple of pictures before filling all of the water containers. Depending on the situation, we either take the panniers off and put them in the tent or we take only what we need out of the panniers (thus leaving the panniers on the bikes) and cover the bikes with a waterproof space blanket. We can’t remember which we did here. Typically, Terry usually takes care of the interior "Nest" tasks and Dennis usually takes care of the "Perimeter" matters (bike and tent matters, bear bag, and the ever important territory marking ;-)

Road Closed Sign. Left: Each major end of this National Forest road is marked with signs indicating that the road is closed to motor vehicles and it warns of Bear Dangers.

It was an excellent adventure!

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