Sunday, June 24, 2012

Johnson Pass-Biking It

Last summer we'd backpacked the 23 mile Johnson Pass in 2 days from the south end.  We knew what the trail was like but memory is selective, and my memory edited out the rocky, hilly section along the lake in the first 2 miles.  And biking a trail is nothing like backpacking it, as we discovered shortly after starting out on the Johnson Pass Trail-south end-the second day of our trip.

We got pretty good at our routine for maneuvering around downed trees.

Everything was either up or down (sometimes steeply), muddy, or extremely rocky.  Denver was the youngest so we put him in the front to set the pace.  The problem was he was also inexperienced with mountain biking etiquette and technique, and he had the least muscle mass so he could not power up hills that the rest of us could get up.  So it was a frustrating day for us as we had to keep slowing down or walking our bikes when Denver went slowly or couldn't get up hills, and then brake on the downhills as he was the lightest and therefore the slowest on the downhills as well.  The first 2 miles was just up, down, mud or rock.  When we started getting to the downed trees we were already tired.

The first tree, ok.  The second, oh well.  Sometimes we had to drag our bikes under the tree.  Other times we handed them over.  Sometimes we had to dismount and walk under them.  Other times we could dismount and walk them over the tree.  In the third mile there were like 8 downed trees.  The trail was by this time improving, but we were fed up.  Each tree we would say, "Just one more," and the one more would be only 50 yards further.  So after 3.75 miles, we'd had it.  We were whipped.  Even our very game-for-anything Aurora had had enough.  We stopped for lunch, gazed longingly at the upcoming smooth, wide trail, but turned around and headed back, knowing that we had a rough ride back.

The trail here looks so beautiful and inviting...but so many downed trees!

It was our shortest day, and while the trees actually provided us with breaks, they were mentally tiring and we couldn't get into a groove.  When the trees have been cleared it will be a more enjoyable ride, though I think next time perhaps we'll start from the north as there is a longer "nice" section (4 miles or so I think) before getting to the rocky section on that end. 

We chalked this up to more experience and conditioning, and decided to go for a hike since the bike ride was so short!  Next blog post!

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