Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Eklutna rain ride

It's not so tough riding in the rain if you know you're heading someplace warm and dry. So I ventured out with my friends on the Eklutna Lakeside trail, towing my BOB (Beast of Burden) trailer, something I'll admit I haven't done since touring New Zealand a few years ago.

Jo-Ann had rented the cabin a few months ago, hoping enough people would fill the bunks. Five of us pedaled out to stay the night and three day-trippers endured the rain all the way to the cabin, had lunch and a hot drink, then turned around and faced the rain for the 12-mile ride back! I don't know that I would have done that.

Things to pack on such an overnighter: warm, dry clothes, lots of socks, cabin shoes, dry shorts for the next day! Also, no matter how many times you hear that you don't need to bring something, such as a stove or cook pots, or cups - bring them! Besides one very large soup-making sized pot, there was nothing to cook in, so I was happy that I'd thrown in my cook kit. We didn't need the stove, but we may have, so it was good we had it just in case.

We did have a newspaper to use for fire starter, but there was only a small amount of dry wood, so we conserved what we had while hauling in what little we could find, even damp wood we could dry inside for morning or for the next visitors. Next time, I'll tell each person to bring at least one log (if we have a dozen people, that should get us through the night).

The colors were changing almost as we rode, the rain blew at us in the headwind coming from the glacier, upvalley. Arriving at the cabin was a pretty happy moment, knowing we could peel off the wet socks and pants, hang our rain jackets and just hang out and relax.

I did pull out the nalgene filled with wine a little early, but the sun's going down a little earlier these days also. And I certainly wasn't going anywhere - except the outhouse - in the storm. We dined on halibut burritos by candlelight before climbing into our sleeping bags in the cubbie-like bunks.

Listened to the rain and wind much of the night, but in the morning were able to pack and get on the trail with no wind or rain... the rain did start falling again as sprinkles a few miles from the parking lot, then became a full shower as we packed our bikes & gear to return to Anchorage.

I've biked in the rain plenty of times, but to set out in the rain to a cabin a dozen miles in is somewhat of a leap - hoping you have everything you'll need to get through the night. This trip with my friends proved that we can put together an adventure and have fun despite the challenges of the weather. Sign me up for next year!

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