Tour 2019 – Day 24

Light Rain

Blazing summer days: no force could bring them back.
Clouds suddenly rising off the river, lovely, so lovely,

ducks leave a bridge’s shadow, paddling into fine rain,
and butterflies flutter out, frolicking in field breezes.

The willow won’t survive nights and days much longer,
and waterlilies will only open two or three more times.

If the changing sights of a single year haunt your eye,
why wonder that a palace lake is ash among the kalpas?

-Lu Yu
Translated by David Hinton in Mountain Home

Sinks Canyon Segue
Returning to the route I needed to climb out of the Lander Valley at around 5300′ to Atlantic City at around 7500′. Of course I had to get to that point above Atlantic City where I would descend to Atlantic City. Google said 3500′ of climbing to get back. But the hwy was very open to wind and sun, didn’t have much shoulder and truck traffic. I needed an alternative. The guys at the Bike shop had hooked me up with a local map and a recommend route up Sinks Canyon.

Crossing the Popo Agie

So pretty early on I headed out of town following signs to Sinks Canyon road and began climbing in the valley. Pretty soon big rock walls arose and I was in the canyon, all lovely red striated rocks. There is a State Park right near the beginning and this very lively stream running down along side the road, the Popo Agie. After working my way through the park the road begins to climb in earnest with a series of around eight switchbacks gaining you a lot of altitude at once. The views down into the Lander Valley were amazing and to the west the Wind River Range came into view.

Wind River Range under increasing clouds

At the top of this climb it descended a bit and then I was riding along a lake. The road turned to dirt and I began to climb again. A long dirt climb that I have to saw wasn’t expected until the end. It turned out I climbed the Blue Ridge which topped out at 9578′ putting this among of the highest climbs I’ve done this tour. I would descend from that point to lake country again and there was a decent flat/rolling section until I had to climb out of the lake valley. Quite possibly back to around 9000′. All in all this was a pretty tough segue but getting out and seeing some of the stuff off route is a rare and wonderful use of an unexpected development. The Sinks Canyon was absolutely worth spending time.

Sunset from Daignus Well

The final bit off the off route loop was a fast descent to the hwy, which itself went down and then climbed up by that big mine and then all downhill to Atlantic City, the road turning to gravel about halfway. After all that it was still just mid afternoon, so I set right off into the Great Divide Basin. A stiff dirt climb out of Atlantic City but then descents and flats with a monster tail wind for many miles. I rode just a for a couple hours and made my way to the first certain water source, the Diagnus Well. Ended up camping there with two Swiss Tourons who chatted away like long lost brothers.

a sliver of moon
in the ragged sky
orange glow
in the dessert dark
through you
until it is all
just wind
where under
relentless sky
is there room
for anything

Leave a Reply