Thursday, January 3, 2008

Road to Wonder Lake - How Hard Can 90 Miles Be?

Before I get started today, thought I'd thank everyone who's found this blog. Today marks the 1 month anniversary from my 1st post. So far readers in 11 countries and 34 US states have viewed the blog. Many of my fellow bloggers have already linked me up to their blogs. Thank you. For those hold outs, I'd be honored if any readers would link me up or refer my blog to a friend.

September 5th marked the day that we got to enter Denali National Park. Our plan was to ride the 90 mile park road to Wonder Lake, hike for 3 days and then ride back out. 7 days total. As noted in the last post, John had a little wheel trouble to contend with. Thankfully, I am/was a skilled wheelbuilder. I took his wheel out of his bike and went to work. I ended up using both a tree and a picnic table to pound and bend it close. Then I spent some time tensioning. It still wobbled, but I thought it was good enough to get going.

One last thing before I get to todays journal entry. I wish I would have taken a picture of this, but both John and I had to stuff a weeks worth of food in a small plastic bear proof container. This container was about 10 inches in diameter and just over a foot long. How is a 200 pound meat and potatoes guy supposed to live off that amount of food for a week? Thankfully, we each had our own. I ended up stuffing about half the container with rice, about a quarter with beans, and the remaining with various forms of calories such as Power Bars, gorp, etc.

So...onto the story.

Sept 5

The saga continues. John and I started into the park. We rode 34 miles to Igloo Creek for our first night. (We couldn't ride further because we could only get a park pass for this campground.) Saw 3 moose & 5-6 caribou. No pictures of wildlife - the moose were uninteresting & the caribou were too far away.

As we rode in, we had to continually fight very high winds. Over the 34 miles we averaged only 7.5 miles per hour. I'm a bit worried because tomorrow we have to ride 51 miles to Wonder Lake. With conditions like this, I "wonder" if we will make it?

As I am writing this, John and I are sitting in the tent in an incredible wind storm. The rain is beginning to fall intermittently. The tent is flapping in the wind & we have all our heavy stuff in the corners to hold it down. Times like this I really question why I did not buy a new tent? This one doesn't do a very good job of holding the water out & it certainly is doing a poor job in the wind. I am going to buy a tent with good wind stability, either from North Face or Moss. It must have a full coverage rain fly and vestibule for cooking & sitting out in the extremes.

I'm really questioning our sanity at this point. What are we doing out here?

Roll #1 Mt. Healy & Park Road
Roll #2 Mostly Mt. McKinley & the North Face M. Glacier

Quite a day. In fact, at night the wind was so strong that the tent was blowing the dome tent flat. The sides of the tent were right on our faces. I thought for sure that was the end of our tent. We couldn't even stay up late and read and/or journal because the wind was so strong that our small little candle lanterns would blow out.

I'll leave you with this picture. It was actually taken tomorrow on Sept 6th. Why am I showing you this picture early? Well, this picture is a great representation of what it is like riding in the park. Incredible scenery and long slow grinds. Besides, the picture I am posting for the Sept 6th post will blow you away. I want it to stand alone.


Jason said...

I've been in leaky, blowing tents in the middle of a packed race venue and been a tad scared. I can NOT imagine being out in the Alaskan wilderness and going through it. HA!

Note to self: get a new tent.

rick is! said...

There is nothing more distessing than being out in the middle of nowhere with a tent thats just waiting to whither away and die. I've had quite a few nights like that...

Guitar Ted said...

Yeah, if you have tented it for any length of time, you've probably "been there".

My worst was weathering a tornado as it passed near to a campground my family was at as a kid. Trees falling down around you will get your attention pretty fast!

By the way, the pic isn't showing in IE. I'll have to try it in FireFox and see if that works.