We departed from Lincoln into 15-20 mph winds uphill toward our first U.S. Continental Divide Crossing, a task we will repeat 28 more times over the next few months. Fortunately, the sun was out after a night of rain, although some ominous clouds lingered. After a short bit of pavement, we turned onto a section of nice packed dirt through the woods, perfect mountain biking trails. Well, except for a few sections of surprisingly deep mud. Attempting to ride through these is not recommended, as we discovered. After a good laugh at Brett, now soaking wet and carrying an additional 5 lbs of mud, we noticed the darkening clouds approaching quickly and continued up. Just as we began to think that the trail notes about today’s ride had exaggerated the “extremely steep climb,” the path turned upward, more than living up to its description. The cold strong winds made the summit a bit anticlimactic, especially with Brett still soaking wet. We decided to quickly descend and quickly arrived a camp early in the afternoon.
The campsite was a beautiful spot nestled in the trees, out of the wind, along a creek, and completely filled with cow dung. On a side note, in these parts, the cows do not live in wide open pastures, but instead hang out in the woods and along many of the roads we travel. Loud mooing, snorting, and stamping are common sounds as we ride.
With too much time on our hands, we decided to make up for an earlier failed attempt at fire-building. Upon arrival, there was a small ring of rocks serving as a firepit. Our afternoon project became the construction of an elaborate and large structure to house the night’s massive bonfire. And yes, cow dung does produce an excellent fire.