Bicycle touring is loads like backpacking… besides that on a motorcycle journey the load of your gear is positioned in your bicycle as a substitute of your physique.
After a latest brief two-day backpacking journey close to my dwelling in Park Metropolis, Utah, I’ve been reminded of simply how good it may be to journey with a motorcycle.
Right here’s the deal: I moved to Park Metropolis, Utah in early 2006 and since that point have wished to hike the Wasatch Crest Path from one finish to the opposite. Over time I’ve simply by no means made the time to hike the path, however a number of days in the past I made a decision simply to go for it. No coaching. No planning. Nothing. I simply wakened one morning and threw my tenting gear and a few meals and water right into a backpack and took off for the path on the northern finish of city. The objective was to stroll for two-days straight – masking a distance of roughly 30 miles on a path that runs from one aspect of Park Metropolis to the opposite.
Earlier than I even hit the path I knew that it was going to be an extended and sweaty hike. It was greater than 90 levels outdoors, I used to be carrying about 5 liters of water (as a result of I knew it might be a minimum of two days earlier than I’d have an opportunity to refill my water bottles) and I used to be carrying numerous pointless gear (i.e. SLR digicam, two studying books, approach an excessive amount of meals, and so forth.). However, I pushed on.
The primary a part of the hike was the worst. It was all uphill for hours on finish.
I began mountain climbing within the a part of city often known as Pinebrook, which sits at an elevation of roughly 7,000 ft. A number of hours later, I used to be at an elevation close to 10,000 ft… and I used to be standing on high of The Canyons Ski Resort – the identical ski resort that I skied in any respect winter lengthy.
In the course of the first a part of the hike, I didn’t see a soul. However as quickly as I reached the path that lead by way of The Canyons, I used to be immediately bombarded with a stream of mountain bikers. In contrast to myself (I had walked as much as the highest of the mountain), the mountain bikers had been driving up the mountain on the ski resort’s gondola. After mountain climbing for thus many hours, I hated seeing these mountain bikers zipping round with such ease. They made me want I has touring by bike and never on foot. They had been so extremely quick… and I used to be so extremely gradual.
By the point I reached the highest of The Canyons my hips had been getting actually sore. The load of my pack was taking a toll on my physique and my ft had been getting actually sore. However I pressed on and simply stored strolling.
As soon as I reached the highest of The Canyons Ski Resort, the path turned left and ran for a number of miles alongside the ridge-line, thus it’s identify – the Wasatch CREST path. Mountain climbing on the high of the mountain was so a lot better than mountain climbing to its peak… and the views had been a complete lot higher as properly. To my left I may see all of Park Metropolis – my dwelling! And to the correct I may see Salt Lake Metropolis and the quite a few ski resorts that run down the opposite aspect of the mountain.
I hiked for one more couple hours alongside the Crest path earlier than it began to get darkish. At round 8PM, I made a decision it was time to discover a place to spend the evening, and knew that I wanted to discover a place that was flat so I may lay out my tent and get a very good evening’s sleep.
Fortunately, I used to be in a position to hike up only a brief distance from the path and immediately discover a flat spot on the very high of the mountain. On one aspect of the tent was Park Metropolis and on the opposite aspect was Salt Lake Metropolis. I couldn’t have requested for a greater place to camp.
After establishing my tent, I modified my garments, ate some meals after which rolled inside my sleeping bag and immediately fell asleep.
Then, at round 11 PM, I wakened. My legs had been cramping they usually had woken me from my slumber. I attempted stretching them out, massaging them, and doing every little thing I may to get them out of my thoughts, however the ache was actually bothering me and I couldn’t get again to sleep for a number of hours. So I simply laid there in my tent, listening to the wind blow up the mountain and doing every little thing in my energy to return to sleep.
I did finally get again to sleep (thank goodness) and woke the subsequent morning round 8 AM.
I rapidly packed up my tent, threw on my backpack and strolled again down the mountain to the path.
For a number of extra hours I hiked alongside the ridge-line, however rapidly realized that I wasn’t going to make all of it the way in which to the southern finish of the path. It was simply too scorching outdoors and I didn’t have sufficient water. By the point I reached Park Metropolis Mountain Resort, I knew that my hike was almost over. I had half a water bottle left and knew that that will solely final me one other hour or two. So, I needed to decide. I may proceed mountain climbing alongside the Wasatch Crest Path for a number of extra miles and end the hike as meant, however danger working out water and getting myself into severe bother… or I may stop now and hike down by way of Park Metropolis Mountain Resort and be again on the town in about two hours time.
Effectively, I made a decision that with the warmth the way in which it was and my water being so low, it might be finest if I merely hiked down the mountain instantly. In order that’s precisely what I did.
I hiked down one of many trails that runs by way of Park Metropolis Mountain Resort, previous a bunch of the outdated silver mining buildings that stay there, and finally returned to downtown Park Metropolis.
As soon as on the town, I jumped on town bus and rode all of it the way in which again to my condominium. As soon as there, I immediately took off my footwear (boy had been they sore) and took an extended, chilly bathe. I then collapsed on the sofa and spent all the night watching films.
Ultimately, the hike as a complete was a very good one. It was one thing I had wished to do for a really very long time and I used to be glad that I lastly had an opportunity to do it. Plus, I obtained to expertise an unbelievable evening of tenting, perched on a mountain high at almost 10,000 ft elevation with views of Utah you wouldn’t imagine.
My solely mistake was that I packed an excessive amount of gear and too little water. If I had been to hike path once more, I’d do it in a single day, put on higher footwear, and pack nothing however my digicam and a complete lot of water.
Extra pictures from my 2-day mountain climbing journey on the Wasatch Crest Path have been posted beneath: