Thursday, December 20, 2007

Welcome to Bear Country

Before I get started today, thought I'd first say thanks to all the folks that commented and have sent me good vibes regarding my cholesterol level. Sincerely, thank you. I will deal with it and take care of it.

Thought I'd also briefly share with you a fun little picture brought to you by Jason Mahokey. You can click his blog link, The Soiled Chamois, on the right to read the whole story. Pretty fun and pretty creepy!

Merry Christmas...and I hope you can get that out of your head. My wife can't.

So, onto the tour.

August 30th - Mon.

54.5 miles
Rainy - Cold
Gradual uphill all day

Welcome to Bear Country

John and I are staying under a picnic shelter at Lower Troublesome Creek. Upper Troublesome Creek is closed due to high bear activity. That campground is less than 1/2 mile north from here. I do not feel safe, but we don't have any other options. My first real fear on the trip. Haven't eaten all day, only raisin granola & Power Bars.

Despite this fear, our spirits are high. Our only concern is where we are going to sleep tomorrow & if this slow drizzle will ever end. God am I sick of rain. I don't exactly look forward to slipping into my wet, cold rain clothes tomorrow.

Besides all that, we finally entered the boundaries of Denali National Park! Didn't see any of it due to rain. Would have liked to take pictures or to have seen some of the sites. Well, I'll get back to ya.

This was a big day for us and gave us both hope and fear. The hope was due to the fact that we finally made it into the park boundaries. Both John and couldn't wait to see Denali. The other good news is that we finally got our crap together and learned to pack correctly. I took my down sleeping bag out of the compression sack and started packing it in a dry bag. I also packed one warm camp outfit in another dry bag. Each of us did this throughout the rest of the trip. The results? Each of us had a warm dry sleeping bag and fresh clothes at the end of each day. No more shivering and worry. Sorry no pic, but dry bags can be found at any outdoor store. Those bags saved our trip.

The fear was the bear country. While bears can be found throughout Alaska, seeing the campground you were supposed to be staying at closed with warning signs everywhere was a bit un-nerving. We ended up pedalling back south to the other side of the creek and staying at the picnic shelter. It was decided that the picnic shelter had too many food smells and we didn't want to sleep in that. So, we stored all our food packs and gear on top of the picnic shelter and walked up away from the creek with our clean sleeping clothes, tent and sleeping bags. No food anywhere near the tent.

I still remember that first night in bear country. At one time or another throughout the night, each of us freaked the other out when our several day old stubble rubbed the fabric of the sleeping bags. The other memory that stands out is that neither of us got up to pee that night. No way!


Guitar Ted said...

That pic of you as Pepperman/Santa something-or-another is DEFINITELY creepy!

Anyway.....bears. Wow. Who needs ghost stories, ya know?

Have a great weekend! Stay safe.

MG said...

Jason, they shrunk your arms! You look all full of elfin goodness though. Sort of a big head pepperman, if you will. Ho Ho HOT!

I remember being a wreck after seeing my first black bear in camp in Estes Park in the summer of '92, and those were black bears, in a much less "wild" place. You had way more exposure, and way bigger bears to contend with...

Merry Christmas to you and your family Jason, and to all who are out there in Gnat-land!