Saturday, March 8, 2014

A Fat Ride Before Thaw

My fatbike makes winter fun.  With several 40 degree plus days in the forecast, I felt the need to get some snow time in.  Nothing special, just a ride along the Minnesota River Bottom.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

An Adventure?

By nature an adventure entails risk and the possibility of a misadventure.  Regardless we drove North East of Park Rapids to the Paul Bunyan State Forest despite a dangerously cold  forecast.  Below is a screen shot of the actual temps.
We parked the car, donned our snowshoes and did our final staging before walking into the forest.
 The bright setting sun made each bare tree cast long shadows in the deep sugary snow.  Only animals had preceded us on this trial for some time.  We worked hard breaking a path.  

 Jared used his pulk sled to haul his gear and my bulky -40 sleeping bag.  His large snowshoes and trailing wake made him easy to follow. 

I took my turn leading too.  My smaller snowshoes and pack made my steps plunge a little deeper. 

Finding a spot  somewhat out of the wind we began to dig in  and set up camp. 
 With the extreme cold and with darkness coming we decided to skip making a hot meal.  I munched cheese curds, a granola bar and a few fun sized candy bars for supper.  I looked forward to snuggling in my bag and watching "No Reservations" and "Top Gear" on my phone, but dozed off.  I woke up about 30 minutes later to twigs snapping as something walked through the snow about five feet from my head.  I'd guess a deer, but the snow didn't allow distinguishing tracks to form.
 About an hour later the cold really settled in.  We made the call to pack up and head in for the night.  This, however, never felt like failure.  It was the right decision on such a cold night.  We had a great car ride,  snowshoed in an amazing forest and spent time in the woods with the animals.  Once out of the woods we drove to our cousin's cabin, made a late night pizza and slept well.  Yes, our adventure turned into a misadventure, but that doesn't mean it wasn't well worth doing.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Fatpacking the Minnesota River Valley.

Jared and I decided to escape for an overnight bikepacking trip.  The picture below is of my bike pre-assembled on my porch prior to leaving.  I'm trying some tweaks on proven gear systems.  I have my bivy and zero degree F. sleeping bag mounted to a second stem under my handlebars.  I'm using a single Thermarest Ridge Rest pad attached to my seat post rack for the first time.

 Below is my bike ready to leave Jared's just after 9pm. 31 F. made for a warm ride to our camping spot.

Jared's Moonlander with orange and yellow and my Pugsley with blue and green during a break.  The trails were soft and took some work to ride.  Better after we both lowered tire pressure; plodding might describe our progress.  Not out for speed; we enjoyed a warm night.
I took a picture of Big Foot behind Jared.  Too bad the photo is grainy: you can just make out his outline.  Warm weather must have lured him out.  I rode for some time without hat or gloves.  Not bad for a mid-January night.
 We camped in a sheltered spot surrounded by brush and small trees.  In the Minnesota River Valley.
 Pictures, above and below, show the location of my bivy for the night.  Billowy snow, still soft after being stepped down, helped me sleep well.  The single pad, bivy and sleeping bag all worked wonderfully.
 We woke up to temps.were in the high teens around 8:30 am.  These small trees sheltered us from a stout wind.  Jared's Moonlander unloaded with his camp set up behind him added color and contrast to a white and gray landscape.

Here's Jared's view of my campsite
 We decided to eat a handful of nuts instead of heating water for our oatmeal and coffee, packed camp and were riding by 9am..  Soft snow, a big climb out of the valley and a headwind had us questioning our meager breakfast choice an hour later.

 Oh well, we were back at Jared's a few minutes before 11am.  Our trip finished with a drive to Wampach's Restaurant for onion rings and the Monday meatloaf special.   Loads of fun and a little adventure packed into a 24 hours.