Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Danny's Writings, August 2-3, 2014

Hills and Headwinds, August 3, 2014
After we packed up, I met Tam in front of the bakery.  She was talking with Fred from Montana, and I joined in.  So we got a late start, around 10:15, but hoped to make up time as we went.  The road had other ideas. Steep rolling hills and a fierce, unrelenting headwind made progress slow and frustrating.  We still did our best to appreciate the surrounding beauty; Teslin Lake was so nice!  
We also saw a bear while riding: I was riding behind Tam on a downhill when I saw a small brown bear walk obliviously into the road a few hundred feet ahead of us.  Our system, so as to be specific about where an animal is and not to scare the other person, is to say what it is then point at it.  This only works, however, if the person in front sees the animal first.  I waited a few moments for Tam to see it, but when she kept cruising without any sign, I just yelled, "Bear! Look up!"  She had been reading a sign next to the road.  The bear skedaddled as soon as it heard us, but it was a somewhat exciting moment nonetheless.
By the time we reached Teslin, thirty miles in, we were exhausted.  This was the location of the last store we would see for about 300 miles, so to supplement our lunch and not use our food for the next few days, we bought some fruit. And a lemon-meringue pie.  The pie didn't help our biking progress, but it was a nice treat.  We biked for a few more hours after lunch, still into the wind (which was actually a nice cool breeze when we were stopped), and ended up stopping around 7.  We hoped to camp on the fringes of a rest area, but this rest area had a secret camping spot not marked on our government map!  We were rather happy about that and enjoyed sitting at a picnic table while having our dinner of couscous, various veggies, olive oil, and sesame sticks.  And dessert, the double-bagged chocolate with peanut butter.  Then a few minutes at the adjacent river to wash clothes, then bed.

The Chocolate Disaster, August 2, 2014
We said goodbye to Jeremie and Shannon this morning and headed out of Whitehorse, excited to be back on the road on a warm day under a clear blue sky.  We had talked about upping our daily mileage from 60ish to 70ish, so we picked up the pace shortly after leaving.  Unfortunately the mild yet constant headwind slowed us down, but we still made pretty good time.  We did stop for a few minutes at one point to eat wild raspberries!  They're always so sweet when wild.  Soon the low-bush cranberries should fruit, and hopefully we are still far enough north to find and eat some after the first frost; that's when they lose their tartness.  Anyway, Jeremie had sent us off with some freshly caught and home-smoked salmon, and we both enjoyed it with lunch as an hors-d'oeuvre to our tortillas and cheese.  Neither of us, as vegetarians, has an issue with eating home-caught and prepared salmon.  And it was delicious!
After lunch, we biked awhile more only to run out of water.  The place we had expected to get some said they didn't have any, so we went looking for a stream or lake.  A few uncomfortable miles later, we found a nice brook and took full advantage to quench our building thirst.  One of the nice things about Wrangell-St. Elias, the last national park we spent time in, was that all the water could be drunk straight out of streams.  The abundant glaciers there act as giant purifiers.  I've drunk straight out of streams frequently in remote areas of the Sierras as well, but this time, since we couldn't see the headwaters of our stream and weren't sure of the water quality, we made sure to purify the water.
Up the road, we met Joe and Cory, two cyclists coming from Victoria and Banff, respectively.  
We enjoyed talking with them and sharing our favorite places they would soon reach.  We learned that Joe had met two of the cyclists we had biked with in Alaska!  The northlands bike touring scene is a small world.  They informed us that there was a bakery about 20 miles up the road, so we set our sights on that and arrived a little while later having done almost 80 miles, our longest day yet.  
We sat down at a picnic table, and I opened my bear canister to retrieve my dinner food. Uh oh... The giant bag of bulk chocolate chips, our dessert for the next few days, had somehow been punctured.  The chocolate had melted in the heat of the day, oozed out of its confinement in the bag, and was now sitting freely in a puddle on the bottom of my bear can.  Tam helped me lick clean the other bear can contents that had chocolate on them: a pre-dinner dessert!  We scraped and cleaned the rest out later.  Lesson learned: double-bag the chocolate.

No comments:

Post a Comment