Tour 2009 – day 9


People ask about Cold Mountain Way.
Cold Mountain Road gives out

where confusions of ice outlast summer
skies and sun can’t thin mists of blindness.

So how did someone like me get here?
My mind’s just not the same as yours:

if that mind of yours were like mine,
you’d be right here in the midst of this.

-Han Shan
translated by David Hinton in Mountain Home

I drag them from the mountain top

Camping at 6500 makes for cooler evenings and amazing star viewing. The Milky Way so bright it truly is like a river of stars. But it warms up quickly in the morning once the sun clears the hills. The lake was glass smooth and the sky a finger painting of white on a deep blue canvas. The views from above the lake were mesmerizing.

Park Lake from above

This day involved the hardest roughest terrain I’ve yet to encounter. The trail was loose dry dirt, deep ruts, huge rocks and exposed tree roots. Basically the route was up a dry riverbed. Going up this section of the trail involved a certain amount of hike-a-bike. I rode when I could but it was hard to even get started on the loose dirt. As always though just do what needs doing. At the top, nearly 7500′, was a big meadow filled with wildflowers. Alas whenever you’d stop you’d be plagued by biting flies. The descent was more or less the same eroded direct, rocks ad roots of the ascent. Water flows both ways.

The “trail” not even the roughest part

The descent ended in the tiny town of Basin where the only thing open was a cafe. But I enjoyed their AC, ice water and cherry pie! From here it was a hot, flat section on an “Non-Maintained Cattle Access Trail” then a few gentle climb back into the hills. It started to drizzle and would start and stop on and off for the next couple hours. There was thunder now and again. I appreciated the cooling effect.

I even rode a bit on the CDT!

Before I knew it I was at the Continental Divide! Not such a hard climb back to over 6500′. Just past this the thunder and rain began in earnest. Short lived but a pretty good downpour. There it was a sweet descent through this very green valley, dotted with old mines and ranches. Once I hit pavement I rode up this big hill that overlooks Butte and then into town where I camped for the night.

After Han Shan

deep weariness
wet and cold
hot and thirsty
my bones
into the hills
you may think I’m crazy
if you’ve seen what
I’ve seen
you’d be here right

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