Friday, October 17, 2008

Getting Dark

It was starting to get dark. I knew where I was, and I knew that if I kept going down I would eventually get out. The stinging nettles hurt. I walked through poison ivy to avoid the burning tingling sensation. I'm not very allergic to poison ivy. I'm allergic to the nettles. That was made evident every time I unwittingly brushed up against one. It burns, stings, itches.

I had decided to explore the old overgrown logging roads on campus in an effort to find one that might be worth turning into single track. This sort of exploration should be done on foot, without a bicycle. I rode up until I could not ride anymore, then I walked, pushed, carried my bike. I kept picking old roads that went up, my goal was to get to the ridge.

I never made that goal. I got within 100 yards but the mtn laurel got too thick to push my bike through. If I could get to the ridge, I knew there was a trail that I could at least hike back down on. No such luck, rocky cliffs, and thickets. I also knew that if I went straight down, then I would eventually come to a road.

So down I went, for about 1 hour. In two spots I had to lower my bike, stretching as far as I could then drop it the remaining foot or so. After letting go I used the surrounding trees and bushes to lower myself.

I rarely see snakes out in the woods, and thankfully this trend continued.

The light continued to fade and I ran through the scenarios. Twisted ankle, broken leg, how would I keep warm? I am confident that I could have kept warm using what nature provides.

I also knew that I could leave my bike and come back the next day to get it. But a mountain biker leaving his bike behind is like a marine leaving one of his buddies. The bike is my buddy, I work with it, it works with me. Together we are an unstoppable force. It relies on me. When I don't take care of it, it lets me down.

So, after a long time of bushwhacking, rock hopping, jumping every time a twig shifted, I made it to another logging road and was able to get back on the bike and ride down.

I was actually looking forward to riding my bike to work today, but the combination of cooler weather, rain and darkness, I decided to drive.

Can't wait till the next adventure.

Have a great day.

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