Thursday, August 13, 2015

End of the Trail - Guest blog by Travis Barnes

End of ol' Trav’s Trail….

I told Erin, if she is going to make a video or documentary out of this whole experience, it really needs to revolve around the perspective of the SAG team. For Joe and I, the story is mostly the same every day of the trip. We wake up, pack up camp, and start riding. We ride until we are nearly devastated all to be redeemed by some spectacular views or thrilling pristine downhill segment, then we find another camp spot and do it again the next day. 

One campsite along the way

We did come away with a few stories. Joe hiking his bike to the top of Ten Mile Range in his socks has to be one of the best. Everyone has great strengths that surface from time to time, I discovered Joe’s great strength is having the determination of samurai warrior. We both crashed once, Joe came away with some bruises, I came away with a good laugh. We met some interesting people on the trail, but their story was typically very similar to ours. So, overall, we will have some stories and experiences to share when we get home, but for the biggest portion what happened on the trail will stay on the trail. This isn’t like a Vegas situation; it’s not choice by either of us, there is simply no way to bring the experience, the views, or the emotions down from the mountain. I’ve tried everything. From digging deep into my inexcusably shallow vocabulary, to pictures, to videos… simply can’t bring anything down. You can bring a likeness or a vague resemblance, but really the experience stays on the mountain.

1/10 of the real view, there really is no comparison.  

 What I can say is that I’m both tremendously excited and equally as sad that it is over. I’m excited because it was very obviously time to be finished. My body had had enough, and the SAG team was increasingly becoming exhausted from the transiency of the weeks. I doubt I’m alone in the fact that my happiness is completely and directly fused with the happiness of my wife and kids. 

Within the last few days of the trip, I could feel the stress they were feeling, and I knew it was time to wrap this thing up. Also, the next to the last day was the most mentally and physically difficult day of the trip. Mentally I was at Steamworks eating a Maui Waui pizza pie - physically I was pushing my bike over one of four peaks at the end of the day as the temperature dropped and storm clouds rolled in. I was physically exhausted to the point of mental instability and the arch of my left foot felt like is was about to burst. I was pretty concerned about safely descending in this condition. On this same day while descending one of the peaks Joe was negotiating a tight switchback when he lost balance and was unable to unclip while falling high side. At the last moment is was able to unclip and fell probably 2 feet from the edge of the mountainside covered to the bottom in razor sharp rocks - it would have been a helicopter ride out of there and we wont speculate on the extent of injuries, only the certainty of them. 

So after this day, I think everyone on the adventure was ready to call it, luckily we were so close to the end that we were able to finish out the next day with metaphorically four flat tires, a busted radiator and tail pipe dragging. Even knowing how ready we all are to be finished, I can’t help but feel some deep sadness when I see my Osprey pack, still full of provisions that will not be used for who knows how long. Or my Big Agnes tent, all covered in dirt, grime and pine needles that needs aired out to be stored away for an undetermined amount of time. So at this point, I’m going to have a blast on my last day in Colorado with my family and friends, and of course, the only way to cure post-adventure depression is to begin plans for the next one! Giddy-up!

Celebratory meal at our favorite Steamworks

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