Thursday, June 6, 2013
Summit of Komo Kulshan, 120 miles and 10,700 feet after leaving home and still smiling!
Wait, hold on...you are going to do what? I just want you to run it by me again to make sure I heard you right.
Jenny patiently interrupted with genuine concern for my well being as I ran the weekend plans by her on Friday night.
I repeated with quite confidence,
I'll catch the Sunday morning Amtrak to Bellingham, meet Darin in town and ride out to Glacier. We'll stop for a beer at Chair Nine and then spin a couple thousand feet up the decommissioned Glacier Creek road and bivy at the Helitrope trailhead. Monday morning we'll get up, skin and climb 7,000 feet to the summit of Baker, ski the Coleman Glacier back to the bikes and ride the 50 miles back to Bellingham in time for me to catch the train south. If all goes as planned, I reckon i'll have time to tip back a couple of beers in Bellingham as well. I should be home by midnight and get enough sleep to be reasonably functional for work on Tuesday.
For some strange reason a blank stare of disbelief was all I received in response.
Just be careful Matt, I love you; a kiss on my ever expanding forehead.
I have grown accustomed to similar reactions when I articulate my adventure plans to the people that know and love me. I really take no offense to their incredulity, although sometimes it rocks my confidence a bit and I think it better just to keep my mouth shut. I have been called crazy by people I admire, and don't necessarily disagree. I understand that most folks don't aspire to do what I do on a bike, and I don't really blame them; my ass still hurts and legs ache deep even after several days of rest and gluttony.
But I know this to be the truth. A couple of years ago I decided that bikes were a little better way for me to get things done in my life and I put the intention into action.
I started riding my bike to some local hills and ran to the top, gaining a bit of confidence in my ability to self-support adventures.
I loaded my bike with as few tools of the trade as I dared and tagged beautiful summits that I had long since ignored because their technical grade didn't feed the ego of a young and arrogant climber.
Last weekend many things came together and I returned to a mountain of my youth and climbed it in a style that I can be proud of. When the Glaciers are all gone and the World sheds blood for fresh water, I will be able to look myself in the mirror and say I tried my best to slow it all down a little.
I don't climb as many moutains, send as many lines, or carve as many turns as a lot of folks do, and I am really not that good at anything. I do though possess a joy and satisfaction that comes from knowing that you don't need to get on your bike and ride to the mountains to have a hell of a good time; you just need to get on your bike and ride somewhere.
Many great adventure start here.
I rode a sold out Amtrak Cascades north on a Sunday morning. Evidently the traffic back-up from failing infrastructure on the busiest road in Washington State is finally motivating folks to civilized transportation.
The Berdinka's: It is nice to see smart people have babies.
Hydration station Chair Nine.
Glacier Creek Road is a main access for climber, skiers, hikers and snowmobilers to Mount Baker. Like much of the infrastructure in the United States, Forest Service roads are failing and there is evidently no federal money to fix them by putting local people to work. I hear that they are going to fly drones above the road closure and blow up outdoor enthusiasts that try to pass in a vehicle. Good thing D and I were on bikes.
When the Restoration Project sign rots into the ground, I reckon the project is finished.
Darin carried an offering of seawater to the Saghalie Kulshan Tyee....
I carried a tall boy of Sierra Nevada Torpedo IPA.
As much as I embrace the suffering climbing big hills, going down is just so much more fun!