So while Buttercup was pleasant, it will ultimately not be remembered, contrasting with our recent adventure on Blue Joint. A ride that ended with me having a butt guaranteed to attract every baboon in the vicinity, and being unable to remount a bike for the next several days. Already in my memory, even before all the skin has returned, the ride is already evolving into a challenging memorable adventure. No wonder we do such stupid stiff.
So a few weekends ago, while everyone else was glued to their computers watching a bunch of red dots move across the map from Fitzgerald's to Red Barn, I managed to talk Jeff and Rob into a trail clearing day on Blue Joint and Little Blue Joint. I had been looking forward to trying the loop again. The last time, close to five years ago, was accomplished with the absence of a rear brake after a stupid interaction with a stump early on Little Blue Joint.
Ahead we plodded, and the more we plodded the worse it became and it short order any attempts at riding we abandoned as climbed up, over, and around over hundreds if not thousands of trees. At one point abandoning the trail for about a quarter mile. It there that we saw someone else had done the same and had put blazes on the trees around the detour. So glad they were carrying an axe, but not a saw.
Unfortunately, that wisdom didn't last long. Riding back towards Woods Creek Pass we noticed a sign for Deer Creek and the trail headed downhill. There were signs the trail had been cleared at least in the last couple of years, and a quick reconnoiter revealed no downed trees. The Forest Service website had reported that the bottom four miles of Deer Creek were cleared recently.
With only a couple of miles of road riding, we were already bored and the idea of close to 30 miles and gravel and pavement back to car must have diminished my common sense. I figured how bad could it be. It's downhill and at least partially cleared. Rob was also willing. Jeff, on the other hand was reluctant, and that should have raised some alarms. Jeff, always up for exploring an unknown trail, wanted to stick to the road. I should have realized that if Jeff wants to stick to the road, we should stick to the road.
But no, the lure of the chance of getting some downhill single track during the ride was overwhelming. So off we went, and it was so good. Luring us farther and farther in. Teasing us with the occasional lodgepole, just we could justify this part of the ride as trail clearing. Abundant huckleberries nourished us. Then slowly and imperceptibly the downfall got heavier, but still just lodgepole. Sounless it was too big to hop, we left it. Then the downfall started having branches. Then the downfall was a Jenga challenge. It was about then that we realized we were screwed. Miles to go, and the only option was forward. Saws sheathed, water replenished from a creek, and couple more handfuls of huckleberries tossed back and onward we went.
Walking and getting the occasional chance to coast until the next obstacle. Looking and hoping for that pile of fresh saw dust indicating that you had reached farthest extent of the rumored trail clearing.
Finally, a freshly cut log. Only four more miles to the road. The road above Painted Rocks, above Alta, above Hughes Creek. Only 15 miles back to the car on the other side of Painted Rocks and up by the Blue Joint trailhead. Getting back to the car twelve hours as the light finally failed.
Why is there a fricking smile on my face writing this? Damn, I'm messed up.