Monday, June 23, 2014

End of the Dalton, June 19th 2014

very sticky mud.  Everywhere.
riding into some storm clouds on the pavement... before the gravel
After a good night's sleep we wake up to find our friends Daniel, Manu and Katrien just arriving at the lodge.  We eat breakfast with them and then, with the help of a large wrench from the lodge, we're able to bend back my frame.  With the help of Manu we're able to bend back and pretty much fix the back derailleur! He works in a bike shop in his spare time and his expertise was very much appreciated. All morning is spent fixing and cleaning our bikes. Mud is everywhere! As we sit down to lunch, another cyclist walks in.  Her name is Jessica and she's from Cambridge, biking towards Vancouver. We share stories, then start off biking together. She's already biked 45 miles or so today so she stops to camp early on and we keep  going. Our goal is to finish the Dalton. It's 4:30PM and we have about 46 miles to ride. The first part is good biking, long, well graded hills that are paved. We ride in and out of rain and around the edges of thunderstorms. Then the road turns back to gravel mud. It's not as bad as the previous day but the mud is still sticky and rough to ride on in the on and off rain. The hills get steeper and and steeper.  We go over at least 6 long gravel mountain passes. The uphills are slow, and the downhills slippery, fast and rather scary. It's around 3:00AM when we finally reach the end of the gravel. We're more than exhausted.
the Dalton Highway
On the bright side, much of the ride was very beautiful. We saw 3 different rainbows and during the never ending sunset-sunrise, the clouds painted spectacular pictures in the sky. We saw rays of sunlight illuminating misty valleys, heard multiple red-tailed hawks crying out across the mountains, and saw the first woodpecker of our trip. What a ride.

American Three-toed Woodpecker

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