It’s been a week and a half. Apertome, who is a much better writer than yrs trly, has a wonderful recap here. I haven’t written jack. So before I forget it all…
The engineer and I met Mike at the Gold Mine Run end of the Stony Valley rail trail. We were only an hour late, what with getting started when we should have been there and pulling over for Arby’s on the way. (Sorry, Mike. We’re running a bit late…here’s your change sir…shit.) Geoff, the engineer, has photos here. I took these photos:
|Raush Gap S24O|
The ride to Rausch Gap was only about 3.5 miles, at which point we located the AT shelter, claimed a camp site and then turned our eyes and wheels toward the gap itself. Well, we made it all the way through, but connecting with the Horseshoe trail proved fruitless. We rode back down to Rausch Gap and hit the railroad siding back toward Gold Mine. After picking our way around the nastiest bog in the history of nasty bogs we encountered a stream. Coming toward us. On the rail bed. We picked our way back around the bog and headed down a very rocky pipeline right-of-way to get back to the main rail trail. Geoff turned back toward Gold Mine while Mike and I went back to the gap to set up camp.
I couldn’t find my own POS tent, and since Geoff wasn’t camping he was gracious enough to loan me his. It’s an REI Half Dome 2 and I can’t recommend it highly enough. I’ll be getting my very own. (Sorry, Geoff, I’ll give it back real soon. I promise.)
As you can probably see from the photos, Mike brought along an alcohol stove and I brought my Esbit and homemade wind screen. We learned that a wind screen is essential, Esbit stoves get hot fast but don’t last long (remind you of anyone?) and alcohol stoves take a bit longer but offer more control. As light as the Esbit is, I wouldn’t have a problem carrying one along with another stove, just for a little flexibility in food preparation. e.g. One pot for coffee and another for ramen noodles. Mmm, mmm.
Night time wasn’t too bad. I never sleep well on the ground and this night was no exception, but the dose of Soma certainly didn’t hurt. Since I can’t seem to fall asleep on my back I spent a good deal of time rolling back and forth, depending on which arm had no feeling in it.
We were both up before the sun and a spring sunrise on a cool morning is absolutely heaven. We cooked breakfast, ambled over to the AT shelter to chat with some hikers, sign the log book and refill our bottles. Then we rolled west on the rail trail, had a look at Cold Springs and then finally stopped for a break a few miles later. Mike headed back to Gold Mine and I continued on to Dauphin and finally Ft. Hunter where Christie and the girls performed a flawless extraction.
In all I rode about 31-ish miles, had a fantastic time, got some oval bicycle glove sun burns and made a new friend. A better weekend could not have been had. (Except for the heat. It was unseasonably hot at 90F.)
Next up – something in June with more pavement and fewer rocks.