Friday, July 26, 2013

bike camping

Last Friday Jon and I celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary. After talking about a few options, we decided to drive toward Seward with the bikes and camping gear in the car, then bike up to Lost Lake. We've biked the entire length of the trail several times and I've long wanted to spend the night camping there. I figured seven miles to the lake would be very manageable as a first camping trip of the year. In fact, it was to be my first camping trip since 2011! I was ready.

We hit the trail just before 7 p.m. with Jon pulling the BOB trailer while I went light with rear panniers and my Camelbak. Parts of the trail were steep and sloughing away. In a couple places it was verging on being overgrown. Several times I got off to walk a rocky or otherwise sketchy section, pushing the bike or lifting the back end over something. After a few miles, the trail emerged from the trees and became a winding path, mostly rideable - even the elevated boardwalk, which I cleaned without thinking (best leave the thinking out when getting ready to ride the narrow planks).

Jon bikes toward the lake; Resurrection Bay in the background.
Approaching Lost Lake at 9 p.m.
Near the high point, the wind was kicking up but I rode in short sleeves toward the south end of the lake. After a little wandering we found a level campsite high above the lake and slightly sheltered from the wind. Despite mosquitoes buzzing on the outside of the tent, we eventually got to sleep.

11:15 p.m., shortly before turning in for the night.

Home for two nights.
The next morning, we woke to sprinkles on the tent, but soon the rain moved away (apparently headed for Anchorage, we later heard) and I climbed from the tent to make coffee. There is something perfect about sitting with a cup of coffee in the great outdoors, watching the morning light play on the lake. After breakfast and a few chores - like pumping water through our filter to fill our packs - we started out on a hike.

The bridge we didn't need to cross with bikes and gear.

Our goal was to circumnavigate the lake. We didn't know if it was possible; rather, we didn't know how far upstream to the headwaters of the lake we would need to go to make a safe stream crossing! Eventually we crossed just above a melting snow slide and where the creek braided. Jon went barefoot and I just kept my boots on - only a little water crept over the tops and I was mighty happy that I had better footing as we crossed.


We found a cave!

Was it a mine? I wonder.

Little white flowers.

So many wildflowers!

Headwaters of Lost Lake. We'll cross on those gravel bars.
Heading back to camp
A few hours later we were back at camp, devouring dinner and wine (after briefly soaking our feet in one of the ponds) before turning in early. Exhausted.

On Sunday morning, we had a leisurely morning of coffee and breakfast. We watched from our perch as several hikers walked by. We would pass them later on our descent after our before-the-crack-of-noon start. We would also run into several cyclists we knew, most from Anchorage, who were riding the trail the way we usually do: as a day trip, maybe with a lunch stop in view of the lake. I took my time on the descent, stopping a few times just to rest my hands from the almost constant braking. Jon pulled away from me and I watched the BOB trailer bounce down the rougher sections of trail. We finally arrived in the parking lot, brimming with cars on a hot, sunny day.

I was pretty happy with how the Fargo - not to mention my shoulder - handled on the trip. I think I'm ready to tackle the Continental Divide!

Until next time.

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